Boat Maintenance Tips April '12

Let's talk batteries. April is a great month to blow the dust off the boat and get her ready to go.

Before we put the boat in storage at the end of last season, we washed it, fogged and flushed the engine, sprayed everything we should with Corrosion-X Red and Green, turned the battery switch off and raised the bow up. Now let's turn the key and see if she'll crank.

Click-click-click-click! Should we put the charger on it or just go ahead and get new batteries? We need more information before we can make that decision.

We recommend changing out traditional, non-gel cell marine batteries every 24 months. If your boat is equipped with two batteries we recommend changing both at the same time. Wipe the battery case real clean and check for the date of manufacture - this will be etched or stamped into the case or sometimes a small sticker is used. This is not to be confused with the date of installation which is usually a year/month punch-out tag. Some manufacturers use month/year coding (08/09) and others use an alphanumeric system (A=January, 2=2012, etc.)

As a general rule, most outboard engine manufacturers suggest using batteries rated 1000 MCA (Marine Cranking Amps) for starting their larger fuel-injected outboards. Don't forget your boat's batteries are used for multiple other functions such as navigation lights, live wells, stereos, Power Poles and Talon shallow water anchor systems, and many other accessories.

You can learn more at

There is a lot of valuable information on this page with definitions as well.

The main thing is to choose the right battery for the intended purpose or application. Deep-cycle batteries have a slow release of energy and slow recharge rate, (smooth and steady out and back in). Starting requires quick release of energy and a rapid recharge rate, (quick out and quick in). Two batteries are always better than one and if your boat is not equipped with a battery selector switch to turn off the power when stored, it would be a great idea to put one on. Always use locknuts on terminal connections and keep them clean and tight. A dab of grease or protective spray is a must on all battery terminals.

Have a great and safe season,

Chris Mapp

Coastal Bend Marine - Port O'Connor, TX - 361-983-4841