Dock Lighting Ideas


Solar solutions and dock lighting ideas include piling lights, railing lights, underwater lights, and various available styles that are as limitless as your imagination. Solar dock lighting can significantly improve overall safety and appearance, whether you own a private residential dock or use a marina.

Dock lighting ideas can create a functional boat dock or an entertaining showplace. Simply placing a few underwater dock fixtures may fulfill your needs. However, if you desire a dock that is the envy of your friends and neighbors and suitable for late-night social affairs, you can pull out all the tricks.

Dock owners can harness the sun for pole lamps, dock railings, deck edges, and whatever enhancements they desire. Solar dock lighting is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and LED dock light fixtures provide great illumination.

Dock Lighting Ideas

Dock Lighting Ideas – Exploring the Options

When determining what type of lighting to install on your dock, there are many options. If you have an existing electrical light system, converting it to a solar lighting system from a low-voltage system is also possible. Dock lights can be individually powered or connected to a dedicated solar panel with a battery storage system.

Underwater Lights

Solar lighting fixtures can function in all weather conditions. Some, such as marine grade fixtures, can function completely submerged. You’ll find this type of lighting in a swimming pool, floating docks, and boat docks.

Underwater lights require electrical wiring to a solar source above the surface. They have sealed cases and heavy-duty wiring to withstand submersion.

Underwater lights can add a beautiful touch as they reflect off the water. They are available in many colored LED options, including red, green, blue, yellow, and clear. If you are looking for a subdued light effect, underwater dock lights might be just what you need.

Underwater LightsPiling Lights

Pilings are the framework of the dock. Piling light fixtures can be effective both above the water and as underwater lights.

One advantage of using piling lighting is that it allows you to have an incremental spacing of your dock lights to light your outdoor space adequately. Pilings also lend a lot of options for different types of dock lighting fixtures.

Solar cap lights on the top of each piling can create ambient lighting along the entire length of a dock. Ribbon or string solar lights between each piling or even wrapped around the piling can create a unique looping or spiral lighting effect.

Flush-mount discs near the base of pilings are helpful to make the entire dock area safer.

Flush-Mounted Lights

While not completely flush, these low-profile units can provide a safe path along the deck. Most flush-mounted units are free-standing with individual solar cells. However, they can also have a separate solar source and battery storage system.

Disk lights are a low-profile type of solar light that can create a unique look on your dock. Step lights can also be helpful along the dock edge for lighting. These choices are inexpensive, easy to obtain at your local big-box retailer or lumber company, and easy installation.

Garden lighting can gently light paths to your dock from your cottage also!

Railing Lights

If your dock has a railing, there are many options for lighting solutions. String lights use wires to connect to a central collection and battery storage system or to a smaller unit that charges each string individually.

You can really use your imagination when it comes to railing lighting. Strings and ribbons can brighten a railing along the entire length.

Even without a railing, using these lighting choices between pilings can create a safe border along the edge of the dock.

Railing LightsPole Lights

When using pole lights at the tops of poles, they can be stand-alone, with self-contained charging collectors or connected to a dedicated solar collection system.

Pole lights provide light to a wider area at night. They are useful when bringing boats in or just relaxing on the dock or boat for a quiet evening of socializing.

Wharf Lights

Wharf lights are normally pole-mounted higher and create illumination for a larger area than smaller options. Because of their design, these normally receive power from a dedicated solar panel.

This type of lighting is widely in use on commercial docks and fishing piers with nighttime use.

Some wharf lights create a lantern look, which offers a rustic appearance. Others might look like ordinary street lamps or garden lamps.

Motion-Activated Options

Motion-Activated OptionsMotion-activated lights remain off until the sensors detect motion in the vicinity of their sensor. Much like the floodlights you have on your home or garage, these activate when needed to illuminate the area.

With a solar lighting system, motion-activated lights can preserve battery power. If you only have a few units on the system or individual batteries in each unit, that won’t matter much, but it could make a huge difference if you have many lights along with your dock.

Stand-Alone Dock Light Options

This option offers many benefits, especially on a residential dock. This low-cost solution provides adequate dock lighting, and they are easy to install.

Unfortunately, they have a lower output rating, meaning they are not as bright as a low voltage dock light system. Each light contains a separate solar collector, so the placement must be in a location that will receive adequate sunlight to charge. If they use an internal battery, those small cell batteries will require periodic replacement.

Dedicated Solar Dock Lighting Options

Installing a dedicated system for solar can provide an efficient and effective power source for all your solar lighting. With a more reliable charging system, all your LED dock lights will have plenty of energy to illuminate your residential dock for safety.

Although it is slightly more expensive, installing a solar lighting system with a dedicated solar panel provides a more stable source for LED lights.

Dedicated Solar Dock Lighting OptionsBattery Systems

Selecting your battery storage is an important part of having a dedicated solar panel system. Most solar voltages ratings are 12, 24, 36, and 48 volts. For a dock lighting system, a 24-volt battery system and inverter are usually ample and are a common recommendation within the industry. A battery with an amp-hour rating of 120 amp-hours is normally sufficient for most situations.

Inverter Choice

Selecting the right inverter is also an integral part of the battery system. We recommend selecting an inverter that has a higher rating than your current expected use to allow for future changes. For most dock lighting systems, a 1,500 watt, 24 volt DC to a 120-volt inverter will work great.


Keeping your dock safe is always a priority. Whether you opt for underwater fixtures, flush-mounted fixtures, bright LED, or subdued colorful lighting, your guests will enjoy the added safety provided by your lamps.

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