How to Choose the Right Boat Battery


Finding the proper marine battery for your boat can be a daunting task for first-time buyers. Discover right here how to choose the right boat battery.

It’s a weekend ritual. You take the boat out on Saturday morning and cruise around while enjoying the scenery and the fresh air. The boating lifestyle suits you!

It seems like boating is as American as apple pie. Surveys showed that there were about 12 million boats registered in the United States in 2017!

But, what do you do when it’s time to change your boat battery? How do you know which one to choose? How can you even be sure the battery needs a replacement?

Don’t worry! We put together a helpful guide to explain everything you need to know. Keep reading to learn when to change your boat’s battery and what to look for in a replacement battery.


When Is It Time to Replace the Battery in Your Boat?

The first thing you need to determine is whether the battery is dead or if the issue is not battery related at all!

Most marine batteries should last you about 3 years with normal use. That’s why most battery warranties are for 3 years.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to replace the battery:

  • Slow starting or lights dim while starting
  • Needing to jumpstart the battery
  • Battery won’t hold a charge at all
  • If the battery was ever submerged in water
  • After buying a used boat


Make Sure the Battery’s Purpose Is for Use in a Boat

No, you should not take the battery out of your truck and throw it into your boat. Automotive batteries aren’t meant to handle the stress and vibration like marine batteries.

Marine batteries have threaded terminals and a more durable plate because they’re intended to handle vibrations and jolts from a watercraft hitting the surface of the water.


Pick a Boat Battery Strong Enough to Withstand Rough Seas

As we discussed earlier, boating causes tons of vibrations and jolts that affect the life of the battery. Even marine batteries meant for use on a boat may not hold up for very long.

Flooded electrolyte batteries may need to have water added from time to time and the splashing of the internal fluid is not ideal in rough seas. Since you won’t always see glassy calm waters when your boating, you need to make sure your battery can take a beating.

One of the most durable types of batteries is the Absorbed glass mat battery because they lock away all the acid so it’s not able to move around if you hit some rough waves.


What Is an Amp Hour Anyway?

An amp-hour (Ah) is the level of charge in a battery that allows one ampere of current to flow for one hour. The higher the amp-hours, the longer the battery can keep electrical equipment working without the alternator recharging it. For instance, a battery rated for 100 amp-hours can discharge for 20 hours with 5 amps of power load.

So, the battery with the highest amp-hours will keep your onboard electrical equipment working, even when your engine isn’t!


Does the Battery Have a Good Reserve Charge?

Related to the amp-hours is the reserve capacity (RC). Reserve capacity translates to the number of minutes a battery with a full charge, measuring at 80 degrees Ferenheight while undergoing discharge at a rate of 25 amps before, the voltage falls below 10.5. If you want to convert the reserve capacity into amp hours at the 25-amp rate, multiply the reserve capacity by 0.4167.

If you can’t decide between two different batteries, pick the one with the highest reserve charge.


Check the Cranking Amps

Cranking amps translates to the amount of discharge battery with a full charge can deliver in 30 seconds. Your boat’s battery needs the right amount of cranking amps or you won’t be able to start the boat at all!

Check your manual, the dealer, or the manufacturer to find out how many cranking amps your boat model needs before heading to the store. In this case, going overkill on the cranking amps isn’t any better, so don’t try to exceed the recommended cranking amps.


Make Sure the Battery Prevents Acid Splashing

Every battery uses some sort of acid inside the housing. With traditional lead batteries, that acid is liquid and can slosh around as the battery moves. You might imagine that acid sloshing around (and splashing out) isn’t optimal for a marine battery.

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries have a spongey roll of fiberglass which contains the acid. Because the liquid saturates the mat, the electrolyte can’t spill or splash around. Even if the battery gets cracked or turns upside down, the acid stays put!

If AGM still doesn’t seem safe enough, there’s a new option. One of the newest technologies is marine lithium batteries, which boast a dedicated battery management system, making it one of the safest batteries on the market!


We Travel Not to Escape Life, but so Life Doesn’t Escape Us

While we hope you won’t need to buy a new boat battery often, it’s important to know how to find a quality battery when you need it. After all, you can’t travel very far in your boat without a battery to power the motor.

Keeping up on your boat maintenance is one way to ensure your ability to travel and see the world from a whole new perspective.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned a thing or two about choosing your next marine battery. If you are looking for more gadget reviews, movies, entertainment, jokes, photography and much more, check out the rest of our blogs today!

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