Marine Batteries: The Basics

With so many months of warmth and sunshine it is only natural that you should want to get away and enjoy a day on the water. There is nothing quite as relaxing as being out on the water in your pleasure boat with the wind blowing through your hair. However, too often boaters have found themselves stranded when their marine batteries fail. You can avoid such a situation by following a few simple tips for caring for your marine battery.
One of the most common mistakes people make with their marine batteries is not disconnecting their batteries when the boat is not in use. Just because your boat is docked doesn’t mean that everything on your boat has stopped using power. Often little things such as clocks and other small electrical appliances keep running even when the boat is not, and will continue to drain your battery even when you are on shore. By disconnecting your battery you are putting a stop to the draining of the battery, giving it added life by preventing it from becoming too discharged.
Charge Your Battery Immediately After Use
A fully charged battery that is left sitting lasts longer than one that is partly discharged, so in order to get the most out of your marine battery you should charge it immediately after use. Making immediate charging of your battery a habit also prevents the possibility of forgetting to charge the battery before you take to the water again. There are few things worse than forgetting to charge your battery and getting stranded far away from shore.
Don’t Overcharge Your Battery
Gel batteries and AGM batteries are especially sensitive to overcharging. Overcharging your batteries may in some circumstances ruin the battery completely and immediately, and in other cases will shorten its life span considerably, leaving you with the expense of a new battery long before it should be necessary.
Don’t Over Discharge Your Battery
Over discharging your marine battery will also shorten its life span again forcing you to purchase a new battery long before it should be necessary.
Don’t let Your Battery Sit Too Long
Allowing a battery to sit too long without being used, or charged if needed, shortens its life considerably. Making sure that your battery is used occasionally will help keep it in good shape for a longer period of time. Never use a battery that has been sitting unless you have checked it first.
By following these few basic marine battery care rules you can prolong its life and hit the water with confidence, knowing that you won’t get stranded because your battery has let you down.

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