Marine Battery Guide: Top Tips for Maintaining Your Boat Batteries

Many Australians are looking for alternatives to travel, resulting in a major boom in boat sales.

Are you planning a day on the water soon? If so, do you know if your marine battery is in good shape?

Regular maintenance, testing, and storage are crucial if you want to keep your marine batteries working as they should. Neglecting to care for your battery and making common mistakes can shorten their life.

Don’t find yourself stranded on the water with a boat that won’t start. Use these tips to keep your marine battery in top shape and extend its life as long as possible.

Perform Regular Testing

Regular testing can help extend the life of your marine battery and ensure that you never get stranded on the water.

Use a maintenance charger to maintain a battery when you’re not using your boat. This can help charge and maintain the battery while it’s not in use, extending your marine battery lifespan or at least ensuring you’re not neglecting it.

How to Safely Jumpstart a Marine Battery

What do you do if you realize your battery is dead? How can you safely jumpstart a battery and start boating again?

Thankfully, jumpstarting boat batteries is a fairly easy task to pull off on your own.

First, make sure you have good ventilation, so you’re not exposed to any fuel fumes. Next, do a little troubleshooting to ensure the connections are all good and that it isn’t an issue with the wires.

To jumpstart a battery, you’ll want to ensure you have a reliable jump starter. If you’re not sure how to use one, read the instructions that came with your jump starter or check on the manufacturer website for tutorial videos.

You can use either another boat or a car battery for a jump start. Remember to connect positive to positive and negative to negative.

The process can take a few minutes. After some time allowing a charge, turn the key and see if the engine starts.

Store Your Battery the Right Way

Proper storage of your boat battery during the off-season keeps your battery working as it should.

Always store batteries in a cool and dry location. Proper care can vary depending on the type of battery you have.

You’ll also want to keep batteries topped off during the off-season. Check manufacturer levels and keep them completely charged.

Extreme temperatures, such as excessive heat, can speed up battery degradation. High temperatures can strain the battery, causing too much discharge and electrolyte loss. Cold temperatures also wreak havoc on the battery, causing it to work harder.

Make sure you check the fluid levels and store your battery in the right location. Store the battery in a dry and moderately temped environment.

Check Recharging Specifications

Many boat owners accidentally damage the battery during the recharging phase. Instructions and specifications for recharging vary by battery, so always follow charging guidelines.

For instance, using too much high voltage can result in sulfation, faster discharges, and corrosion.

Avoid overcharging and think about installing an onboard charger. Having the right gear with you while you’re on the water ensures you’re always prepared and your battery stays in good shape.

Keep Batteries Clean

One of the most important parts of boat maintenance is keeping the marine battery clean.

Clean the terminals and the battery case using baking soda paste. This helps to neutralize any acid.

Fill the cells of conventional (flooded electrolyte) batteries with some distilled water if you notice they’re low or empty. Distilled water is free of minerals that can have an impact on your battery’s internal plates.

Cover the positive terminal with a terminal cover or “boot,” which will stop arcing, shocks, corrosion, and sparks. 

Grease the terminals with dielectric grease, as this type of grease is non-conductive.

You’ll also want to make sure your battery remains tightly secured.

Use the Right Type of Marine Battery Charger

Do you know if you’re using the best marine battery charger? Battery chargers should always meet manufacturer recommendations. By using approved chargers, you’re not risking damage to your battery.

Charging the battery for the correct amount of time is also vital. Undercharging can lead to sulfation, which is when lead sulphate crystals gather on the plates and impact the battery’s ability to charge properly.

On the other hand, overcharging can also shorten the life of your battery.

Use Nyloc Nuts

Excessive vibration can cause internal parts to come loose. To prevent this, replace wing nuts with nyloc nuts as they won’t loosen. This ensures a better connection, as connections that are too loose affect charging.

A properly secured battery is also less likely to undergo any dangerous impacts.

Charge Batteries Before Storing Your Boat

Make sure your battery is fully charged before storing the boat at the end of the season. Marine batteries discharge even when not in use. If you want your boat ready for next season, make sure it’s charged.

In general, you should recharge the battery after each use on the water.

Before storing, disconnect any equipment that might drain the battery faster and turn off all switches.

If you’re keeping the boat in storage for a while, check on its state of charge. It’s a good idea to recharge it roughly every month or two. You might also want to consider a trickle charger.

Choose the Right Marine Battery

Lastly, it’s important you choose the right marine battery for your boat. Using a quality marine battery, as well as following our tips outlined above, ensures you can enjoy your boat for many years to come.

At Bainbridge Technologies, we have a wide variety of power product solutions for all your needs. From batteries to chargers to solar power and more, we have what you need to stay powered.

Check out our selection of marine batteries today.

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