It is fall now and most people are cleaning up their boats and preparing them for winter storage. But what most people forget about is their boat’s battery. They usually just leave it on the boat through the winter and let it get weak. Many of the people who take time to bring them inside still don’t do enough to make sure their battery is properly taken care of. But if you want to make your battery last, then you should follow the advice that I’m about to give you.
1. If you don’t already bring your boat battery inside during the winter, you should start to. Cold temperatures are bad for batteries. If a single cell happens to freeze then you will have to buy a new one. Even if it doesn’t freeze, the battery will discharge its power like crazy in the cold. Once it is warmed up again, it will have a weak charge and it won’t be able to hold a very good charge in the future.
2. Keeping your battery inside is a good start, but you shouldn’t stop there. Even in the house an unused battery can lose up to 30% of its charge! Therefore, you should charge it up at least once a month. This will help keep it in tip-top shape so that it will always be able to give you the power you need when you need it.
3. Though charging your battery is important, you must remember that you shouldn’t overcharge it. On the other hand, you shouldn’t undercharge it either. Overcharging will cause the battery to corrode quicker. Undercharging it will cause a buildup of lead sulfate inside. This sort of build up will hinder the chemical reaction that makes the battery work.
4. Using the right kind of charger is very important. Don’t use a car battery charger unless it is specifically designed to also be used on a boat battery. Instead, get yourself a battery charger made just for boat batteries. On top of this, you should make sure that the charger has a three stage charging process. The three stages are usually called bulk, absorption, and float, respectively. These stages will help optimize the charging process. The last stage especially will keep your battery completely charged without overcharging it.
5. Another thing you should look for in a boat battery charger is the proper amperage rating. Though many chargers have a three stage process, not all of them are designed just for your boat’s battery. You need to find the charger that will fill your batteries amperage needs. A good rule of thumb is to find a charger that is rated at about 15% of your batteries amp-hour rating. Any more or any less will result in a damaged battery.
Your boat just wouldn’t be the same without the battery and there is no need for you to replace it every year. So keep your battery in good shape by keeping it charged properly. It will last for years to come and will save you money in the long run.