Unless artificial light is required, moonlight and starlight should be adequate in waterways restricted to kayaks and canoes. In the United States, red lights or green lights for running are not legally required on a kayak, canoe, or any “vessel under oars.”
However, it is a wise choice to have illumination for identification, no matter where you are fishing. All it takes is to hit a rock and capsize, and if you don’t have any light, you can’t see anything, and no one can see you.
We tested 5 products and found UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof LED Light for Emergency to be the best kayak fishing lights.
It is easy to add a light to your yak, yet to make sure you can be spotted in times of trouble, you need light proven to shine a considerable distance. The UST See-me exceeds the United States Coast Guard requirement of 1 nautical mile by 300%.
If you are neck high in water and want someone to see you, it is much wiser to have a flashlight that is secure on your PFD rather than fastened to the side of your kayak. Here we have the best kayak light kits, so you can make a better choice of what you need. (Find the Best Fish Finder for Kayaks)
- UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof LED Light for Emergency: Unbreakable bulb, and the light lasts for 17 hours using 2 batteries. Surpasses coast guard requirements.
- Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light: A portable navigation light that offers IPX 8 submersion for underwater use while being energy efficient.
- Innovative Lighting – 560-1110 Portable LED Bow Light with Suction Cup: Suction cup lighting system for small watercraft that offers red and green running lights.
- Shoreline Marine Portable LED Clamp on Navigation Light Combo: 2-part bow and stern battery-operated lights with clamp fittings for night paddling.
- Attwood 14193-7 Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit: 2-part, multi-fit, water-resistant navigation light with long battery life and durable LED bulbs.
5 Best Kayak Lights For Night Fishing
1. UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof LED Light for Emergency – Best Overall Kayak Lights For Night Fishing
The UST See-Me 1.0 is a handheld kayak light designed to be attached to your PFD or kayak handle. It’s one of the smallest kayak lights available, measuring less than five inches long and one inch wide.
The complete bulb, including the casing, is only 1.8 ounces in weight. A lanyard string with hook-and-loop fastening easily secures this light to your selected spot.
The UST See-Me 1.0 comes with an “unbreakable” casing and a bulb that lasts up to 17 hours. The light is easily turned on and off with a twist-on cap, and it is bright enough to be seen from 3.4 miles away on a clear night. (Learn How to Tie Fishing Line)
- The kayak light comes with a 20-lumen LED bulb running on 2 x AAA batteries.
- The casing protecting the light’s LED bulb is waterproof rated to IPX 7 for submersion up to 1 meter.
- The light is 4.95 x 1 inch and 1.8 ounces in weight, including batteries.
- Visible to 3.4 miles on a clear night. It surpasses USCG regulations of 1 nautical mile.
- Lanyard cord and hook offer secure carry and can be fixed to your PFD.
The UST See-Me is a must for any kayak angler doing any night fishing on the great lakes or doing any sea fishing. If safety is important, then the guide price of under $10 is a price worth paying when contemplating night paddling.
2. Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light – Best Budget Kayak Navigation Lights For Night Fishing
Kayalu, a Boston-based kayak lighting company, offers a lot of experience in lights. As navigation lights go, the Kayalite kayak light is among the most popular navigation lights in the US.
The Kayalite lasts a very long time from the power supply of three AA batteries. The light casing is impact resistant as it can be fixed by rubber bungee. In addition, the kayak fishing light is highly waterproof, up to 1000 feet.
- An efficient portable navigation light for kayak, SUP, canoe, inflatable, or any small water vessel.
- Dimensions are 21.4 x 1.6 x 0.4 inches: and 11.04 Ounces.
- It runs for 100 hours using 3 x AA alkaline batteries.
- Bright all around white light from 2-LED with white titanium-infused diffusion lens (included).
- Waterproof to 1000 feet with an IPX8 rating.
- Any eyelet or pad eye on deck can secure the lamp to a steel clip and bungee tensioning cable.
The light is ideal for night paddling, and anyone caught in low light conditions. It is a good light to alert other boaters, yet the biggest drawback being you can’t adjust the height. With a guide price of just under $50, it is a good light that offers a long run time, yet if you swap kayaks, then you would a means of fastening the light to the boat deck. (Read Magnet Fishing Laws)
3. Innovative Lighting – 560-1110 Portable LED Bow Light with Suction Cup – Best Fishing Lights with Suction Cup Mount
When using the Innovative Lighting, Portable LED Bow Light. You’ll see how easy it makes navigating and improving visibility on the water. It fastens quickly using suction-cup technology to securely hold the light to the kayak deck and allow you to swap the light between boats.
- The molded, one-piece structure of the kayak lights decreases the number of parts that can wear out or break.
- There are also shock-resistant neoprene accents for further durability.
- This light’s multi-colored LED bulb is rated to last 100,000 hours, and the power comes from four AA batteries.
- It is also designed to consume 90% less energy than conventional incandescent lights of a similar size and type.
- Dimensions of 12 x 7 x 3 inches and weigh 9.9 ounces.
Anyone using a kayak or small boat can use the red and green lights to comply with the rules governing any body of water. With a guide price of a little under $40, you have an effective light, and the suction cups mean you can use it anywhere you need to keep the US coast guard happy.
4. Shoreline Marine Portable LED Clamp on Navigation Light Combo – Best Kayak Fishing Lights for Navigation
Unlike other kayak navigation lights, the Shoreline Marine Navigation Light Combo offers bicolor lights for port and starboard visibility. While US Coast Guard regulations don’t require it, it comes in handy for high-traffic situations. In addition, the combo pack can be an excellent backup light for use on any small watercraft.
The dual clamp mounts are solid and hold up in the wind and rough water; they also hold your yak better than suction cup offerings.
The Shoreline Light is, however, longer than some models at around 36 inches. So it helps anyone spot you, yet it can get in the way on occasions highlighted by lack of flex.
- Dual part lighting system with clamp-style mounting systems.
- Delivers 360 degree all-around white light and red and green stern or bow lights.
- Light dimensions are 3.5 x 1.18 x 1.5 inches;, small light and 24 inches tall for the white light.
- The two-part lighting kit runs on 3 x AAA for each light, so 6 batteries in total.
Anyone wanting to cover all aspects of kayak fishing at night and wants a cost-effective way of making themselves seen, then the Shoreline Marine could be a great option with a guide price a little under $40. Even if you are in a secluded area, you can gain enough ambient light from the red and green lights. The clamps also make the lighting kit better for anyone who has multiple kayaks or small watercraft. (Read Kayak Bass Fishing Tips)
5. attwood 14193-7 Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit – Best Kayak Light with LED Bulb
The Attwood Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Light is a full system that includes a white LED stern light and a red and green bow light for increased visibility to other vessels on the water at night. You can mount both lights to the deck in a couple of ways. First, if the fixture is permanent, you can use screws or adhesive pads to stick them to the deck.
- The white light comes with a telescoping pole to raise the white LED light. If you have lights mounted in the day, they are a camouflage design to blend in with your boat and surroundings.
- The lights attwood lighting systems are water-resistant and have sealed electronic components.
- The system has a 150-hour run time where the power comes from three AAA batteries.
- Dimensions are 11 x 10 x 2 inches, and the weight is 3.36 Ounces.
Anyone who wants a telescopic pole on their light for when they paddle can’t find many other options than the attwood. It may not possess any flex so that it could catch on to something hard, and if it has been screwed to your kayak, then it could be damage to your kayak’s deck.
Best Kayak Light For Night Fishing Buying Guide
If you plan to kayak at night, it’s a good idea to have a light on your kayak for your own safety and the safety of other boaters. Also, if you’re on the water after sunset or before sunrise in many countries, it’s a legal obligation to have a white light on your kayak.
The US Coast Guard enforces laws and regulations on Coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Thus, laws governing kayaking in these waters may differ from those governing kayaking in your home state.
While operating on federally controlled waters between sunset and sunrise, all kayaks need to have a white light on board. It can be a flashlight or an all-around white light to meet regulations.
Kayaks with red and green lights are also common. When used with an all-around white stern light, these lights can meet kayaking regulations. The port is shown by a red light, while a green light shows the starboard.
Red and green lights are for larger vessels and are not required by law on kayaks.
Visual Distress Signals
If kayaking at night in federally regulated waters, you’ll need to carry night-use visible distress signals. On coastal waters and the Great Lakes, visual distress signs are required by law. On state waters, they are not required.
You can carry a US Coast Guard authorized electric distress light to meet with US Coast Guard regulations. These lights flash an SOS signal automatically and are ideal for carrying on a kayak.
Various Kayak Lights
Combo Kits for Flags and Lights
A flag and light combo kit offer additional safety and visibility when you paddle during the day and night. You can use the bright orange flag and light together, or the flag during the day and the light at night.
You manually mount these to your boat’s mounting point, such as a rod holder. What you need is an adjustable pole, which lets you adjust the height of your light and flag-based water conditions.
Deck lights are typically designed to mount on your kayak’s deck, either at the bow or stern. Some deck lights have a suction cup mount to make it easier to attach them to your boat’s deck. If you need a light to easily remove, then deck lights with a suction cup mount make this easier. You can find other lights fit gear rails like other kayak accessories.
A flashlight is an important thing to have on your kayak at night. Even if your boat has additional
light, a flashlight is useful for navigation.
Fish Attracting Lights
If you’re kayak fishing at night, fish luring LED lights can come in handy. These lights come in colors designed to attract bait fish. Some are maid to be submerged and not designed to be used for navigation. The light strips will be under the water level and won’t be seen by other boaters. Most kayak lights of this type won’t meet any of US Coast Guard criteria for night sailing.
Any night light must be waterproof to a certain level. A light that stops working when it gets wet is of little use on the water.
What’s the bottom line?
In testing, all these lights performed as you would expect. However, when things are critical, and you need to be spotted from a distance away for navigation or in trouble, a light that exceeds and coast guards criteria will be an outright winner.
The UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof LED Light for Emergency shines brighter and further than all the other lights, and if you are in the water, then a deck-mounted light won’t do you any good.
As the light fits on your PFD, it goes where you go, and because of this, the very low asking price makes this kayak fishing light something every kayak angler should have, as a matter of course. Besides all this, it is nearly indestructible, and it won’t harm your kayak by screwing in holes to mount the light.
For kayak safety, it has to be the best light for night fishing you can get.