As with all areas onboard a vessel, the open deck has special requirements for installed equipment, regardless of whether the area is for work, embarkment, rescue or winching. In addition, the visibility of the vessel itself and its surroundings also have to be considered. The required lighting solution must operate in all weather conditions. A good lighting solution will also provide a safe working environment for the crew.
Different areas on the ship require special demands for lighting
As well as achieving a reliable and evenly distributed light output, it is also important for open deck areas to provide the correct light colours, light intensity and robust, stable light fixtures for long term reliability. Using the appropriate fixture material for the application is critical in order to ensure high robustness and a long operating life of the light fitting, resulting in minimal or zero downtime.
Important factors when working with lighting solutions for open decks:
- IP rating.
- Mechanical strength/impact resistance.
- Low maintenance and reduced power consumption (high energy efficiency).
- Light quality.
The highest priority is the IP rating of the light fitting. The challenge here is not only in protecting the fixtures from rain and water spray, but also from the continuous impact forces from waves in heavy seas, which means an IP66/67 rating is required. In addition, the light fixtures must also survive intensive cleaning, using brushes, tools and sometimes high-pressure cleaners.
Using the correct combination of materials in the luminaire is important in order to ensure robustness and a long operating life. Materials are specially selected to withstand high shocks and vibrations, particularly on the upper deck (forecastle), and the foremast at the bow of the vessel. Especially for areas where heavy vibrations occur, the use of LED light fittings is recommended. LED lighting withstands shock and vibration due to the design of the diodes. No additional vibration suspension is required. The ability to operate across a wide range of ambient temperatures is also an important requirement on the lighting. Vessels have to be able to navigate all around the world, which means from Arctic areas down to -40°C or lower, to tropical areas with +50°C, and ideally the light output and light quality should be the same in all temperatures.
No maintenance and reduced power consumption
Easy installation and various mounting options ensures flexibility, time saving and increases safety for crewmembers, mainly because some of the lights are placed in areas with difficult access. The luminaires should consume as little energy as possible to be able to reduce the size of power generators and to save energy and reduce pollution. The efficiency and life span of LEDs continue to improve, and LED luminaires are virtually maintenance-free. This means that vessels with LED lighting will have lower operating costs than vessels with conventional luminaires. The initial investment of the LED installation may be higher than that of a traditional lighting installation, but the LED’s lower energy consumption and maintenance cost means that the difference in price is quickly paid off.
In the open deck areas, the light output quality is important for visual perception and to enable the crew to see details and colours. The colour-rendering index (CRI) should be above 80 to enable colours to be differentiated and to allow real colours to be recognised. The lighting illumination should have an average level of 50 lux.
According to the different marine standards, the lux level required on an open deck will vary depending on the particular application. To avoid shadowing and to reduce glare (UGR), a proper light calculation will need to be carried out and luminaires with homogeneous light distribution should be used.
We always recommend the use of marine-approved lighting products in open deck areas.