Motorboat batteries require proper care and maintenance in order to provide optimal performance. The first step is to ensure that your boat is equipped with marine batteries. Automotive batteries are not designed to withstand the vibrations and jarring that occurs on the water.
If you have a dual battery system, verify that you have a deep cycle battery and a regular battery. The deep cycle battery is designed to run your onboard electronics and motor. The regular or cranking amp battery provides the short-term power that is required to start your engines. It does not have the capacity to provide continuous power. If you have a single battery system, ensure that your deep cycle battery is properly charged so that it can provide the energy required to start your main engines. Selecting the wrong battery for an application will cause the device to fail prematurely.
How to Maintain Motorboat Batteries
It is better to store your batteries in a warm dry location during cold weather. You should inspect your batteries on a regular basis, especially during long-term storage. Wear protective gloves and safety glasses when working on or near the batteries. Inspect the batteries for cracks or swelling. If you find any defects, replace the battery immediately.
Check the battery cable for wear, and ensure that the clamps are firmly attached to the correct terminals. For a battery to function properly the polarity must be correct. Use baking soda and water or a commercial cleaner along with a wire bristle brush to remove any corrosion from the terminals. You can prevent corrosion in the future by installing anticorrosion washers and applying a layer of insulating grease. Always remember to connect the red (positive) terminal last.
If you have an open cell battery, remove the covers and check the electrolyte level. If it is beneath the top of the plates, refill the cells with distilled water. A sealed battery has color-coded dots that indicate the condition of the internal components.
Charging and Recharging the Batteries
A motorboat battery should be recharged after every use. A battery that has a partial charge accumulates deposits on the internal plates. This reduces its ability to generate power. If you use an external charger, ensure that it is powerful enough for the task. You should fully charge your battery before you take it back out on the water.
If your boat has a two-battery system, start the motor on the cranking amp battery and switch to your deep-cycle battery to support your onboard electronics. When it is time to head back to shore, set the switch to both batteries and start the engine. The engine will charge both batteries as you return to the dock. Ensure that both batteries are fully charged before your turn off the motor.
Following a regular maintenance plan and proper recharging procedures will ensure that you get the most out of your motorboat batteries. Contact your battery retailer for more information on how to care for your marine batteries.