Marine battery safety tips

Care of the boat battery

The 12 volt deep cycle battery is an important part of boating. In addition to being a source of ignition for larger boat engines, it can also be a convenient power source for the heavily electric trolling motor that allows you to stealthily move around to actively locate fish feeding.

But a boat battery is important. A local fisherman took out his boat for the first time in early spring, lowered his trolling motor into the water, and stepped on the power pedal. He was hit in a nerve-wracking explosion that sounded “like a shotgun” and was luckily contained in the boat’s battery compartment.

Here are just a few boat safety tips for batteries.

Safety goggles. Wear safety glasses when working on a marine battery connector. Period.

Protective cover. Invest in a marine battery box. This sturdy plastic container keeps the contents dry and safe for carrying and transporting.

Hot Connections. Immediately after using a heavy trolling motor, wing nuts or other connectors can be hot. Let it cool down for a few minutes before disconnecting it to return the trailer.

Charge it up. Follow the instructions and carefully connect the charger shortly after use. Slow charging is recommended.

Corrosion awareness. Look for corrosion on the connections. Baking soda, water and a brush clean and make a good connection.

Battery age. Keep track of the months the boat battery has been used. Often there is a date or punch reference at the top. When a battery is nearing the end of its life, simply return it for recycling and get a new one. It can keep you from needing tow back to shore.

As convenient as this power source is, it can be dangerous. Read all of the boat battery instructions carefully and read the rest of your boat safety checklist so you can have many safe journeys with your boat. And of course don’t forget to make sure your boat registration is up to date!

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating from OSU with a degree in zoology, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and Michigan.

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