Fish lights are similar to many different products, in that they will last much longer if they are simply set up and protected correctly. The best part about high-end, permanently mounted fish lights is that they are maintenance free, but in order to truly “set it and forget it” you must follow a few simple guidelines to ensure a long life-span for your light with as little issues as possible. There are three key components that can be used to protect a fish light; wire shield, outlet dome cover, and a bulb cage.
The single most frequent customer tech issue stems from nicks in the wire that leads out to the bulb. These nicks can be caused my multiple things; fish hooks, boat propellers, or marine life. Every high-end fish light comes equipped with a GFCI plug. This gives the light, and your dock, an extra layer of protection in case anything was to happen (nicks in the wire, broken bulb, power surge, etc.). If the wire leading to your bulb is nicked or cut in any way, the GFCI plug will turn the system off. This is to ensure that no electricity is leaking into the water, which obviously, can have terrible results. The GFCI also shuts off to prevent the ballast (or transformer) inside the box from overheating. If the system did not have a GFCI plug to shut it off, it would continue to run with nicks in the wire causing electricity to leak into the water and the ballast to overheat, which in turn will ruin and melt your entire system. By using Wire Shield to protect the wire, the fish hooks or marine life will scrape the Wire Shield and not injure the wire. Wire Shield is a simple product that is easily installed. Essentially, it is a heavy-duty rubber hose that has been sliced down the middle and comes equipped with zip-ties to attach it to your wire. All you need to do is wrap the shield around your wire and zip-tie it closed. This simple step will ensure your wire is protected for years to come!
Many people become nervous when they see that most high-end fish lights simply have one bulb in the water without any kind of protection. This was actually done deliberately! The bulbs are tough, and are meant to be mounted low enough on the ocean, lake or river floor to ensure it does not get hit by a boat. Many people request a bulb cage to protect the bulbs. While these cages do protect the bulbs from blunt force, we do not suggest mounting them on dock systems because they have two unfortunate complications. The vinyl-coated mesh cages tend to be “hook magnets.” For example, if someone were to be fishing by your light (which happens incredibly often, even if you don’t fish your own light!) and they happened to snag your mesh cage with their hook without realizing it. Once this happens, they are likely to real in the bulb because they think they got a fish! If they happen to pull the bulb out of the water and drop it back in, the bulb will break. This is because the bulb burns so hot, that it must remain in the water at all times. If it is taken out, even if it is in a bulb cage, the bulb will break. Another issue with the bulb cages is that they are not self-cleaning. While the HID bulbs on the system generate enough heat to clean themselves off, they are not powerful enough to clean off the cage, therefore anyone with a bulb cage on their dock system would have to clean the barnacles from the cage every couple of weeks. This unfortunately, defeats the purpose of a maintenance-free HID bulb.
The outlet dome cover is the simplest way to protect your fish light and the power supply to your dock. Most outlets on docks come standard with dome covers, if not, it is imperative that you get one. This dome cover will protect your outlet and plugs from water damage that can be cause by rain, splashing, or some flooding. It is important to keep in mind that these covers cannot protect against full flash-floods cause from storms. They are not water-tight and are meant to protect against minimal water intrusion.