After charging, check the battery's voltage to see if it'll hold a charge. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

After charging, check the battery’s voltage to see if it’ll hold a charge. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Dead batteries are no fun, especially on the water, so make sure you’ve covered some simple maintenance before heading out this season.

  1. Clean the terminal posts with a wire brush or post cleaner.

    Clean the terminal posts with a wire brush or post cleaner.

    Clean terminal posts and housing:
    Use some spray cleaner or WD40 to remove dust and dirt from the battery housing. Also apply cleaner to the terminal posts and use a wire brush or terminal post cleaner to remove rust and corrosion from the threads.

  2. Check electrolyte level (lead-acid batteries only):
    Add distilled water to cover the battery’s internal plates if necessary. Replace port covers securely.
  3. Check the electrolyte levels on your batteries and top off with distilled water if necessary.

    Check the electrolyte levels on your batteries and top off with distilled water if necessary.

    Charge battery:
    Charge the battery overnight using a 3-stage charger.

  4. Test battery:
    Use a volt multimeter to check the voltage of the battery at rest (open circuit). When fully charged it should register above 12.4 volts. (You should also test the battery later under load to be sure it is functioning properly). Re-check the battery after 24 hours to see if it holds the charge. If your battery fails to hold a charge of around 12.4 volts, you may need to replace it. In general, marine batteries should be replaced every 4 or 5 years.
  5. Use nylon insert locknuts on your battery posts.

    Use nylon insert locknuts on your battery posts.

    Install properly:
    Install the battery in the boat, making sure it’s secured with straps or bands to limit motion. Attach the leads and use a socket wrench to tighten the terminal post nuts (use nylon-insert locknuts). Coat the posts and leads with dialectric grease and slip protective covers over the posts.

  6. Test battery under load:
    Use only distilled water to top off the electrolyte level.

    Use only distilled water to top off the electrolyte level.

    Use a volt multimeter to test the battery under load. With the engine in the water or hooked up to a water source, turn the ignition key. The meter should register no less than 9.6 volts as the engine turns over then return to resting charge of 12.4 or higher.

Watch a video on proper battery installation:

 

Share this Article On Facebook Twitter More...

Follow NEW ENGLAND BOATING:

Like New England Boating on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Receive our Daily News Update:
.

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Each month our emailed newsletter keeps you up to speed on the top news items, videos, destinations, reviews and fishing articles on New England Boating, so you won’t miss a beat. It’s convenient, it’s free, and you can opt out at any time!