Hey , no kidding on the handheld spotlight thing... I have found spotlights that will plug into my accessory outlet, and I have found spotlights that will recharge while plugged into my accessory outlet, but where is the one that I can actually turn on and use while it is recharging in my accessory outlet??
I've had the same problem. Bought a few now and only lasted a season or two. And I don't really use them that often!!! I thought I was doing something wrong to them. One for $1500 better last for awhile!!
I have two SureFire lights. They are priced at the higher end but they are dependable and rugged. I'm not sure what they have for a marine environment but their products target law enforcement and outdoor recreation so they should work.
The smaller Stanley's that can be found at Lowes for under $50 are nice to have on the boat also. The new waterproof models float and are good to a depth of 6 feet if you ever need to check your running gear at night in an emergency situation. Not the best for finding buoys but a great backup or addition to your ditch bag.
For about $70 check out the stanley HID. It puts out an amazing amount of light (way more than the non HID version) and requires no warm up time which many HIDs do. There are two big draw backs with the stanley 1) its very top heavy which make it uncomfortable to hold for any lenght of time. 2) and the bigest drawback, the battery stinks. Think they claim 30min of run time but unless you are a lucky one that finds one that hasnt been sitting on the shelf for a while you wont get anywhere near that amount of time. I think i get 10-15 minutes at most out of mine.
After much research, and not wanting to spend $1500 for the Polarion, i ended up with an Olight sr90. They go for a little more than $300. Its puts out more light than the stanley, has a run time on hight of about 80 minutes. Its also balanced much better and comes with a shoulder strap so its easier to carry/use. Its an led so there is no warm up time either.
Google sr90 beamshots as there are some great comparisons people have done that give you an idea about just how much light the different spotlights throw.