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Lights and the headliner

Ernest Ashley

New Member
We are getting our new-to-us 383 ready for the season and we just notice how little lighting there is in the salon. There are the two little lamps toward the bow and one strip of LEDs over the galley. On our previous boat I installed six LED fixtures when I replaced the headliner. What have others done for more lights and what do I need to know about working with the headliner on the Morgan 383?


Richard Kilroy
I would strongly suggest looking at alpenglow lights. You can find them on the Internet. They were originally created for people in the Northwoods who had nothing but battery power. They have both bright white lights and red lights with two powers on each. The red obviously for night sailing. On vixen I have two of them installed one directly to port of the mast and one over the galley. Working on the headliner is moderately easy you simply have to take out the screws of the teak supporting pieces and then the piece or pieces that you are trying to access are accessible and can be further dropped.
I agree, our boat was totally lacking in lighting. Everywhere.
I have replaced the two strip lights in the overhead wiith some LED (flourescent tube style lamps) that have helped a lot. These were from MarineBeam. https://store.marinebeam.com/economy-15-t5-led-fluorescent-style-fixture/ The only regret is I didn't go with the "warm white" light tempurature. Not as high quality as the Alpenglow, but plenty of light for now. I am adding lights to the V berth as well. We had the original cheesy RV lights all thru the boat when we bought her. I tried retro fitting LED bulbs but the fixtures were all shoot anyway.
I am in a constant state of adding more lighting. Another area you might want to look at is the engine bay.


Ken Ferrari
I pulled the guts out of the original flourscent fixtures in the head and galley and replaced with LED strip lights. The strip lights have adhesive already installed, and I just stuck them directly to the metal fixture (the components are sealed, so shorting wasn't a concern). From the outside, they look original - same fixture, same switch, etc. I used two different light temperatures to cast bright, yet warm, light. It was an easy, cheap and efficient upgrade! The light looks very natural - way better, in fact, than the original flourescent bulbs. Previously I used a blend of flourescent temps to get the light color I wanted. I replicated those temps with the LED strips.

The fixture in the head is now very bright! I plan to install a high/low switch soon - sort of a night light feature.

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That looks great Ken!
I did something similar in Sonata's head as well. When I bought her, the previous owner had already gutted the fixture and switch. And install 2 over head dim dome lites on a cheesy peice of plexiglass. Really horrible looking and not enough to see anything. Fortunately this was only screwed into the old setup and the frame of the fixture was still there.

I used a metre long strip of white LED, and a 1/2 metre of red for night. Fiting a new switch was tight but doable. I made a lense from from diamond difuser panel for recessed ceiling lighting. Flexi enough to just snap into the original fixture. All for less than $40. What a difference some real light makes!

Warren Holybee

Active Member
I will have to look into the marine beam. My LED lights that I used to replace the Fluorescent are too dim. I also have sticky notes all over the cabin for where I want lights. Notable are in the galley just above the stove in front of to light the spice cabinet, and one to match that in front of to light the shelf also on the port side. The hanging locker across from the head, and under the galley sink. The hanging locker in the v-berth, and also the shelf above that locker. The lights that cover the chainplates in the saloon, I would like a second pair (probably would need to by 4 so they match) in the aft part of the saloon. And a light in the engine room would be really helpful as well.

I have been making due by wearing a headlamp and/or keeping 3 or 4 flashlights handy. It'll be a big project and surprisingly expensive to relight the whole cabin.
Warren, your wish list is parallel to mine too. And I utilise the head lamps a lot.
I bought some USB charged small LED stip lights form Amazon that work great for lockers and Night Lites. Motion detectors turn them on, and they shut off in a few minutes. Or they switch from on or off as well. I have one on the Fridge counter next to the companionway, it lights up as soon as I open the hatch at night. Another in the head too. They are maganatised to hold to a stick on metal strip (not Stinless Steel) so velcro is your friend. I plug them into the normal power port to charge. They hold a charge for a long time.
There are a bunch of similar lights available.

Here is a link...

Stick-on Anywhere Portable Little Light Wireless LED Under Cabinet Lights 10-LED Motion Sensor Activated Night Light Build in Rechargeable Battery Magnetic Tap Lights for Closet, Cabinet (Silver2) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XQ39PMF/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_glc_fabc_PW30GF83EZ9EAV6B7NWX



New Member
Hey, a thread I can contribute to! I just recently replaced all my headliner and added some overhead lights to the salon. The lights I got ended up being more than I wanted to spend, but I had some specific requirements for them and ultimately I am really happy with them. My requirements for the project were:
  1. LEDs with Red and White toggle
  2. Dimmable
  3. Recessed or Low Profile
  4. Ability to turn on/off each light
  5. Somewhat uncomplicated wiring (This would be my first electrical project on the boat)
I ended up with Lumitech Aurora lights, which also met a requirement #4, which was unexpected because I was prepared to wire in switches myself). The lights are not recessed, but are pretty low profile. I did not mount them over the walkway, they are mounted over the benches, because I am 6'1" and would maybe..barely...maybe not cleared them. I mounted 4 in the salon, which I actually think may be overkill, but I am very happy with them.
They were super simple to wire up, the Red/White toggle and dimmer are all built into the bezel of the light, so all you need to do is run 12V. They do not use Lumitech's "Time Toggle Protocol" which I ultimate decided would be a PITA (the first lights I looked at were TTP).

Here are a couple pics I snapped during install (but apparently I never got a pic of all 4 of them).



New Member
That looks really nice. What did you use for the headliner?
I used white Sintra board (PVC Foam board) for the headliner, it was maybe $40-$60 for a 4x8 piece. It was super easy to work with, I basically took down the old headliner, dropped each piece on a 4x8 Sintra board, traced it out and cut it with a utility knife. I didn't so any vinyl liner, so that is what the surface of the board looks like, which is pretty decent. My one complaint is that is scuffs pretty easily, but I am not too picky so it doesn't bother me.

Thanks for sharing that information and those pictures. It gives me a better understanding of what's up there.
I have plenty more pics of things is various states of the project hosted out on the internets if you wanted a better look at what is under there. https://toph3r.smugmug.com/Public/Alpinisto/


New Member
We are getting our new-to-us 383 ready for the season and we just notice how little lighting there is in the salon. There are the two little lamps toward the bow and one strip of LEDs over the galley. On our previous boat I installed six LED fixtures when I replaced the headliner. What have others done for more lights and what do I need to know about working with the headliner on the Morgan 383?
Hi, I’m curious to know how you removed the headliner in the v berth. I’m not able to find any screws in the ceiling there to remove it In our 382. Thank you.

Warren Holybee

Active Member
My headliner is not original, and has screws in the v-berth. However, it is largely held in by the trim around the hatch, and around the edges. If you have no screws, you may only have the trim holding it.
I have to agree on the lack of lighting Morgan supplied on our boats. Woefully inadequate. I am in the process of slowly replacing and adding LED fixtures. Sonata still has all original headliner, which may eventually get changed. As Warren said, ours too, is held in place by the teak trim for the most part. There are some visible screws as well in some spots that don't have teak battens going across. There is about an inch gap +/- between the masonite headliner and underside of the deck...