A reliable battery is essential to enjoying your day out on the boat – not only do they keep the essentials going, but they power the comforts of the boat too. Looking after your boat battery means it could last for several years, but you’ll only get a few short seasons from a neglected one.
Other than spending money you don’t need to, the last thing you’d want is to get stranded with a failed battery.
Here’s how you can keep your boat battery in the best shape:
Extending your battery life.
Boat batteries have a very good lifespan and can last for several years if treated correctly. You can ensure your battery lasts by keeping it connected to a maintenance charger to keep it fully charged. Using a maintenance charger can also help maintain and charge the battery while it is not in use. When left disconnected, batteries lose 1 – 3% of charge every month. Even when disconnected, batteries will lose charge over time.
Failing to keep batteries in a fully charged state batteries will shorten their lifespan.
Monitoring your battery.
The easiest way to monitor the state of charge of a lead acid battery is to make use of a multimeter. The voltage should be above 12.65 volts for a fully charged battery.
Be sure to test your battery regularly so that you are never left stranded!
Jump starting your battery.
Jump starting a boat is no different to jumping a car, but please ensure that you are in a well-ventilated space before connecting the battery. As many boat batteries are in confined spaces, it is essential to check that there are no fuel fumes prior to jumping.
Why has my boat battery failed?
Lead acid batteries fail for various reasons. Heat speeds up the degradation of a battery, as does deep cycling, as it causes the active material to break away from the lead grid. Sulphation is accelerated when the battery is allowed to run flat, particularly if it is not immediately charged again.
If batteries are not properly maintained, there is a risk that your battery might fail while on the water. It is advisable to not boat alone and to ensure that your phone is fully charged. Take some snacks, water, and a warm item of clothing with you when boating in case you do get stuck for a few hours. The safest option is to keep jumper cables on board with you.