where do you mount a kayak light [Answered]

Where Do You Mount a Kayak Light?

Kayaking is a fun and exciting activity that’s enjoyed by many outdoors enthusiasts. Whether you’re heading out for a day trip or a multi-day adventure on the water, safety should always be a top priority. A kayak light is an essential accessory that can help you stay safe on the water, whether you’re kayaking early in the morning or late at night.

In this post, we’ll discuss where to mount your kayak light and provide tips for choosing the best placement for your needs. We’ll also cover different types of kayak lights, including white lights, red/green lights, and solar-powered lights. Additionally, we’ll explore alternative options for illuminating your kayak. Read on to learn more about how to keep yourself safe while kayaking!

Types of Kayak Lights

There are several different types of kayak lights to choose from, each designed to serve a specific purpose. Here are some of the most common types of kayak lights:

  • White Light: This type of kayak light provides a bright, clear light that illuminates your path ahead. It’s ideal for navigating in low-light conditions, whether you’re kayaking early in the morning or after sunset.
  • Red/Green Lights: These lights are typically used to help other boats identify your position on the water. A red light is placed on the port side of the kayak (left side), while a green light is placed on the starboard side (right side).
  • Combination of White and Color Lights: If you want the best of both worlds, you can opt for a kayak light that combines both white and colored lights. This type of light can help you navigate and be seen by other boats at the same time.
  • Solar-Powered Lights: If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, you might consider a solar-powered kayak light. These lights use solar panels to recharge during the day, so you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries or charging the light manually.

Each type of kayak light has its own advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to choose the one that best fits your needs and kayaking style.

Placement of Kayak Light

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when installing a kayak light is where to place it. Here are some common placements for kayak lights:

Front of the kayak

  • Mounting a light at the front of your kayak is an excellent way to illuminate your path ahead. It can help you navigate through dark or foggy conditions.
  • Front-mounted lights should be white in color, and they should be mounted as high as possible to provide the widest possible range of illumination.
  • You can mount the light on the bow of your kayak or on the deck, using a clamp or a suction cup mount.

Back of the kayak

  • A light mounted at the back of your kayak can help other boats see you from behind, making it easier to avoid collisions.
  • Back-mounted lights should be red or green, depending on the side of the kayak they’re mounted on.
  • You can mount the light on the stern of your kayak or on the back of your seat, using a clamp or a suction cup mount.

Top of the kayak

  • A light mounted on top of your kayak can help other boats see you from a distance, providing an extra layer of safety.
  • Top-mounted lights should be white in color, and they should be mounted as high as possible to maximize their visibility.
  • You can mount the light on a pole or a mast, which can be strapped to the rear of the kayak.

When choosing the placement of your kayak light, keep in mind the type of kayaking you’ll be doing and the visibility conditions you’re likely to encounter. Also, make sure to check your local regulations to ensure you’re positioning your lights correctly and legally.

Tips for Mounting Kayak Light

Here are some tips to help you mount your kayak light correctly:

  • Use a waterproof light: Since you’ll be kayaking on the water, it’s important to choose a light that’s waterproof or at least water-resistant. This will help prevent damage to the light and ensure it stays on during inclement weather.
  • Angle the light correctly: To ensure maximum visibility, make sure to angle the light in a way that provides the widest possible range of illumination. This may involve adjusting the mount or positioning of the light until you find the right angle.
  • Check alignment and visibility: Once you’ve mounted the light, step back and check to make sure it’s aligned properly and can be seen from all angles. If necessary, make adjustments to the placement, angle, or height of the light to increase its visibility.
  • Choose the right color of light: Depending on the placement of your light, you may need to choose a specific color (such as red or green) to comply with boating regulations. Make sure to choose a light that’s appropriate for your needs.
  • Select a mount that fits the kayak: When choosing a mount for your kayak light, make sure to select one that’s compatible with your kayak model and size. Also, make sure the mount is secure and won’t come loose during your kayaking trip.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your kayak light is properly mounted and ready to serve its purpose when you hit the water.

Alternatives to Mounting Kayak Light

While a kayak light is one of the best ways to stay safe while kayaking in low-light conditions, there are also alternative ways to illuminate your kayak. Here are some of the most common alternatives:

  • Handheld lights: If you don’t want to mount a light on your kayak, you can opt for a handheld light instead. This can be useful if you only kayak occasionally or if you regularly change kayaks.
  • Headlamps: A headlamp can be a good alternative if you prefer to keep your hands free while kayaking. You can wear the headlamp on your head or attach it to your kayak’s cockpit or deck.
  • LED strips or ropes: LED strips or ropes can be attached to the underside of your kayak to provide illumination without being visible from the outside. This can be a good option if you want to see the water beneath you or if you prefer a subtle lighting effect.
  • Glow sticks: Glow sticks can be a cheap and easy way to illuminate your kayak. Simply snap a glow stick and attach it to your kayak using zip ties or string. Note that glow sticks don’t provide as much light as other options and don’t last as long.
  • Reflective tape or stickers: Reflective tape or stickers can be attached to your kayak to increase its visibility in low-light conditions. This can be a good option if you don’t want to add extra weight to your kayak, or if you’re looking for a more permanent lighting solution.

Each of these alternatives has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider your needs and kayaking style when choosing the best option for you.

Related: Lifetime vs Pelican Kayak: Which One Should You Choose?


What type of kayak lights are there?

There are three main types of kayak lights: white lights, red/green lights, and lights that combine white and colored lights.

Where should I mount my kayak light?

The best places to mount your kayak light are on the front, back, or top of your kayak.

What attachment options are available for kayak lights?

Some attachment options for kayak lights include suction cups, Velcro straps, and clamps.

How can I ensure optimal visibility with my kayak light?

To ensure optimal visibility, angle your kayak light correctly and check the alignment and brightness level.

What color light should I choose for my kayak?

The appropriate light color depends on various factors such as the type of water you are paddling in, time of day, and local regulations.

Are solar-powered lights a good option for kayak lighting?

Yes, solar-powered lights are a great option for kayak lighting as they are eco-friendly and long-lasting.

What if I don’t want to install a permanent kayak light?

There are several alternative options such as handheld lights, headlamps, and LED strips that can be used temporarily.

Are reflective tape and stickers a good option for night paddling?

Yes, reflective tape and stickers are an excellent option for night paddling as they enhance visibility and reduce collision risks.

Can I use a bike light as a kayak light?

It’s not recommended to use a bike light as a kayak light as they may not be waterproof or have the required brightness level.

What are the boating regulations regarding kayak lighting?

Boating regulations related to kayak lighting may vary from area to area, so it’s essential to check the local rules and regulations before installing a kayak light.

Real experience

Evan had always been an adventurous soul. He loved exploring new places, and kayaking was one of his favorite activities. After a few scary experiences on night paddles, Evan decided to take safety more seriously.

One day, Evan decided to look into adding lighting to his kayak. He spent hours researching the best options, and he finally chose a white light. However, he wasn’t sure where to mount it on his kayak. After all, he didn’t want the light to blind him or be blocked by anything.

Evan asked his friend Sean, an experienced paddler, for advice. Sean suggested mounting it on the front of the kayak, just below the deck. Evan was happy with this suggestion and proceeded to purchase a suction cup mount for the light.

On his next nighttime paddle, Evan was amazed by how much his kayak light improved visibility. He felt safer with the white light illuminating the water and surroundings, and it made him feel more confident about night paddling.

After a few more paddles, Evan realized that the white light wasn’t the best option because it wasn’t visible from the back. He didn’t want to risk getting rear-ended by another boat, so he decided to purchase a red/green light and mount it on the back of the kayak. With both lights, Evan felt more secure and comfortable paddling at night.

Thanks to his friend Sean’s advice and some research, Evan was able to add the right lighting to his kayak and improve his safety while paddling. Now, he could safely explore new places, even if the sun had already set.

Based on: https://www.tempe.gov/government/community-services/classes-leagues/boating/boating-permits-regulations


As a kayaker, it’s important to keep safety in mind whenever you’re on the water. A kayak light can be a valuable accessory to help you stay visible and navigate through low-light conditions. When installing a kayak light, make sure to choose the right type and placement for your needs, and follow the tips outlined above to ensure it’s correctly mounted.

If you prefer not to mount a light on your kayak, there are also alternative options, such as handheld lights, LED strips, and glow sticks, that can help illuminate your path. No matter which option you choose, remember to prioritize safety and always be aware of your surroundings when kayaking in low-light conditions.

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