How To Take Care Of Your Boat’s Battery

Like cars, many boats rely heavily on their batteries. And that’s not just for starting, either! Boat batteries run everything from your starter motor, to your GPS, sounder, and your electric motor if you have one. They’re vital accessories, and buying a quality boat battery is important.

But what’s even more important is taking care of it. Boat batteries are expensive, and you don’t want to have replace them more often than necessary. You also don’t want to be stuck at sea with an unreliable battery. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to keep your boat battery in good condition. Here are a few basic rules to get you started.

Make sure your boat’s battery is kept somewhere dry – saltwater and batteries don’t mix!

It goes without saying that batteries and saltwater don’t mix. In fact, batteries don’t mix with freshwater either. Boat batteries generate electricity, and water is conductive. Submerging a battery can create a dangerous situation, which will damage your batter irreparably, and possibly create an electric hazard.

But in a boat, there’s always a risk of getting wet. So how can you ensure your boat battery remains dry? Our advice is to invest in a quality battery box. These are splash proof – and sometimes waterproof – which adds another layer of protection.

Keep your boat battery out of direct sunlight, and in a cool dark place if possible

Just as important as a battery box is a secure storage space. And that’s not just because of water hazards. Direct sunlight isn’t great for boat batteries. It can bring an excessive amount of heat into the battery unit, which can cause it to swell in some cases. Batteries should remain as cool as possible at all times, and that includes boat batteries.

As a result, it’s important to keep your battery in a cool dark place. We recommend setting aside a hatch somewhere in your boat that will have enough shade to keep your battery cool. We also recommend making sure there’s enough ventilation, and no fuel fumes!

If you have a 12V boat battery make sure it doesn’t run below 10V of charge – here’s why

Boat batteries are usually deep cycle batteries. That means they’re slightly different to car batteries, for example. But they do have one thing in common. 12V batteries shouldn’t be run below 11V, if possible, and they should never go below 10V. Each time your battery is drained to that extent, it loses a significant proportion of its power storage capacity.

Essentially, if you run your boat battery too low, it could lose its ability to adequately store power. A simple voltage monitor can help you make sure your boat battery isn’t being overdrawn. And if it is, you may want to consider some of the options below.

Running two deep cycle batteries can help reduce the strain placed on your boat battery

If you find your boat battery being consistently pushed to limits, you should consider upsizing. An even better alternative is running two boat batteries and a dual battery isolator. These systems are great for boats with a lot of onboard 12V accessories, like navigation equipment and fridges that operate when the engine is off. Rather than draining a single battery, you can run two and an isolator. That means your starter battery will never be drained – the isolator will ensure that the second battery is isolated once the starter battery falls to a certain level.

Running a lot of 12V accessories? Consider solar power to help charge your boat’s batteries

Finally, a great addition to your boat is a solar panel. If you do long-term trips, and need battery power at all times, a solar panel can really take the strain off your boat battery.

For more information on creative boat battery power solutions, contact the experts at Holt Marine on (07) 3352 1928.

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