Install a Dock Light in 7 Steps

a dock with a light fixture built-in
  • 2-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Dock lights
Electrical wire
Junction box
Spade shovel
Plastic conduit

One of the few accessories needed on a dock is a dock light. Bringing in a boat during the evening hours, through a thick fog, or even through a storm, is made a lot easier when you can see the dock. These dock lights can be either solar powered or electrical powered. Either way, the process of installing them is very similar.

Step 1 - Get Power To Dock

If your dock does not already have a power supply running to it, you will need to do so. This should be on a dedicated breaker in your panel. Connect a wire to an unused breaker and run it to the dock. Dig a trench in the ground with a spade shovel and bury the conduit at least 8 inches in the ground. Run the wire through until you get to the dock.

Step 2 - Connect To Junction Box

Before setting the junction box up you will need to secure it to a post near the dock. Using a post hole digger, or shovel, dig a 12 to 16 inch deep hole and set in a 4x4 post. Pour in some quick set concrete and keep post level. Once the concrete has set up, usually within a day, you can attach a small junction box to it. Run wires from the house into the box on one end and wires from the box to the lighting areas on the dock on the other.

Step 3 - Locate Dock Lights

Depending on how long your deck is will determine who many lights you should have. General rule of thumb is to place a light every six feet on both sides of the dock. These can be lights that are attached to a post or the deck itself. Run your wire along the side of your dock until you reach the last light position.

Step 4 - Install Mounting Hardware

Place the hardware where the you want it to go. Set the mounting bracket on the dock and mark the placement for the screws. Drill pilot holes into the wood for easier attachment. Place the bracket back onto the wood and drive in the screws.

Step 5 - Connect Light and Secure

Make the connections between the light fixture and the wire from the junction box. Secure the light fixture onto the mounting bracket and screw to it. Repeat this process until all lights are installed.

Step 6 - Place Waterproof Conduit Over Wires

Protecting your wiring with a waterproof conduit is a smart idea. Place over the wiring and secure with screws.

Step 7 - Make Electrical Connections

At the junction box, connect the colored wires to their corresponding wires. Add a light switch in if you want to be able to turn the lights on from the dock. If not, then the house is another option. Connect the wires with wire nuts and push into the junction box. Cover with a weatherproof cover.