What Every Boater Needs to Know

menandawomenonaboat

When you start your engine or switch on your fish finder, how much thought do you give to your boat batteries? Is it only when the radio won't come on or each time you step aboard?

A boat's electrical needs are different from a car's, and so are the batteries that run them.

 

Read on to learn about boat batteries and the basic steps to keep you and your boat safe.

 

Engine-Starting Battery

These batteries start your boat's marine engine with a rapid and large amount of energy. They charge more quickly compared to deep cycle batteries.

Starter batteries contain numerous thin plates with a high surface area to generate the required energy.

 

Deep Cycle Battery

Your boat's electrics draw power gradually, all the time. Deep cycle batteries accommodate the draw-down and constant charging required.

Their design differs from starting batteries, as they have fewer and thicker lead plates.

 

AGM Battery

The strong starting amps and the consistent draw of running electronics can be supplied by these dual-purpose batteries.

Batteries made of absorbed glass mats have very thin lead plates that are each surrounded by a glass fiber mat that has been saturated with electrolytes. The plates are tightly packed together, which enables more plates to be used within the same space. This makes them more durable than a flooded battery and able to store more power.

 

CCA and MCA

CCA, or Cold Cranking Amps, measures the current flow when starting an engine at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Marine Cranking Amps (MCA) measures the amps delivered when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

In both cases, the higher the number, the more powerful the battery. MCA numbers are typically higher than the CCA.

 

Battery Maintenance

Marine battery problems can result from

  • Incorrect installation

  • Faults with the charging system

  • Worn-out batteries

If your engine doesn't start, check for loose or broken wiring, or low voltage on the battery.

Keep your battery fully charged to maintain its longevity. When not using your boat, plug in a trickle charger. This will even out the charge across the plates and ensure it is ready for use when you return.

If you need to charge your battery, use a smart battery charger. These prevent overcharging and damaging the battery.

The act of charging generates gases and causes the loss of water. Regularly check the levels in each lead-acid battery and top up with clean distilled water as needed.

Install your batteries in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Check the battery mounting to make sure it hasn't corroded and keep the terminals dry and clean.

 

Is Your Battery Ready for the Boating Season?

Now you know the options for your boat batteries, and how to maintain them. You are ready for a safe and fun season on the water.

If you need new batteries, or you're looking for advice, talk to the battery experts at Prairie Battery today.