Coastal areas, including seaside towns and marinas, rely on external lighting and lanterns to enhance both functionality and aesthetics.  However, these unique environments present distinct challenges and can be harsh on outdoor fixtures.

Here we explore marine grade finishes for coastal lighting, explaining what they are and how they can be used to create functional and durable lighting solutions in challenging environments.   

Understanding marine grade lighting

Marine grade finishes for lighting are specifically designed to withstand the harsh conditions of coastal and marine environments.  These finishes possess unique characteristics that offer exceptional protection against corrosion, saltwater exposure, and other environmental factors.  They are the ideal choice for outdoor lighting installations in these demanding settings. 

Common types of marine grade finishes we use for coastal lighting include stainless steel, powder coating, and marine-grade paint.


Coastal and marine environments pose significant challenges due to their corrosive nature.  Saltwater, humidity, and constant exposure to the elements can cause rapid corrosion and deterioration of marine lighting.

Types of corrosion

There are several types of corrosion that occur in seaside locations including:

  • Electrochemical corrosion: This occurs when metal and saltwater combine. Metal ions dissolve in conductive saltwater, attracting ions from other compounds. Electrons from those compounds are drawn to the metallic ions, leading to metal attack and corrosion.
  • Anaerobic corrosion: This occurs when metal is exposed to saltwater for an extended period. It causes sulfate deposits around the metal, and hydrogen sulfide and bacteria accelerate metal corrosion. The combined action of ions, sulfates, and bacteria leads to extensive metal attack in saltwater.

(If you want to know more, this article by Sciencing goes into more technical detail.)

Protection against corrosion

Marine grade finishes act as a protective barrier for coastal lighting, shielding the lanterns and light fittings from these corrosive effects.  Through advanced coatings and materials, they provide exceptional corrosion resistance, ensuring the longevity and performance of marine lighting fixtures. 

Brighton marine grade outdoor lighting

How a marine grade finish works

Marine grade finishes (such as marine grade paints) are equipped with a high-performance coating that offers protection against UV rays, maintains colour quality and provides flexibility.  These types of finishes are recognised at ensuring durability over time.  How?  They provide resistance to cracking, chipping, and peeling.

Benefits of a marine grade finish

Durability and longevity

Durability is of utmost importance when it comes to outdoor lighting in coastal areas.  Marine grade finishes excel in this aspect by significantly extending the lifespan of lanterns and light fittings. These finishes are engineered to withstand the harshest weather conditions, UV exposure, and the wear and tear of high-salinity environments. Factors such as high-quality materials, superior adhesion, and robust coatings contribute to the enhanced durability and longevity of marine grade finishes.

Maintenance and care

Proper maintenance and care are essential for preserving the appearance and performance of coastal lighting fixtures with marine grade finishes. 

If looked after properly, lanterns in these challenging settings can be preserved for years and years.  Your manufacturer will be able to provide guidance on an appropriate and realistic maintenance schedule.

Design versatility and aesthetics

Marine grade finishes not only provide outstanding protection, but they also offer a diverse selection of design possibilities and visual appeal.  These finishes seamlessly blend with various architectural styles and outdoor settings, enhancing the overall look. Elegant marine grade powder coating and paint finishes offer versatility and endless possibilities for creating stunning outdoor marine lighting designs. 

Marine grade finished lanterns


High quality marine grade finishes are a sensible choice for outdoor lighting schemes in coastal and marine environments. Their excellent resistance to corrosion and long-lasting durability make them a perfect option for outdoor lighting solutions that are both visually appealing and built to last.

Contact one of our experts to discuss the marine grade lighting options available for your external lighting, or why not visit our gallery?