"Y. W.'s Boat Corner"
Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Maintanance On Boats & Motors

Email mack@hook1.com

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries

I recall one Saturday morning I went fishing with a friend; we were on a lake
that was known for big bass. With excitement and eagerness we put the boat in the water and put on our life jackets,
and pushed the boat away from shore.

Then the most gut wrenching, demoralizing sound that fisherman can hear:
a slow, low grunting coming from the engine. The battery is dead, and my friend doesn't understand why it is dead, he said he charged it all night. Many people can probably relate to this story.

The battery is the 'life-line' of the motor and is probably one of the most abused and neglected piecies of equipment on a boat. Now lets see how someone can avoid a dead battery happening out on the lake. If there is a most common abuse to a battery that needs maintenance it is the lack of water.
It is important to maintain the proper level of water in a battery.

Checking the water monthly is best, when water is needed, use distilled water(tap water may be used). When charging make sure to use a quality charging system to give a battery a full and slow charge. Most quality chargers are 10 AMP and can do the job just fine. Be sure not to overcharge, overcharging is literally boiling the water out. A charger that does not monitor the battery
and doesn't shut off when the battery is fully charged can do great harm.

When a battery is overcharged it can cause serious damage. Check the owners' manual to see what the recommended charging time is. Also, when dealing with a battery, wear protective gear or protection especially when cleaning the battery posts. The corrosive powder on a battery can be hazardous to a person, especially to the eyes. The bottom line is maintain proper water levels, keep the battery posts clean, keep the wire connections tight, and charge the battery.

Now what the manufacture recommends , and what a person actually has may differ.
When a person buys a battery, their main focus is price; unfortunately that is a formula for a bad day on the water . A person must do what the owners' manual recommends to do.

To illustrate this, let's use a Mercury 225 Hp Optimax.

Mercury recommends to use a 1000(MCA) Marine Cranking Amps or 750 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) or a 105 Amp hrs. battery. Also for this engine, a minimum of 9.5 volts is required to activate the fuel pump system and the ECU(Main Computer).
This is critical for proper function of these units so remember CCA (Cold Crank Amps)
X 1.25=MCA(Main Cranking Amps).
A few minutes spent selecting the right battery can give many hours of enjoyable fishing.
Also, Mercury and Motorguide suggest that outboard engines and trolling motors be
on separate battery systems. Something to consider . Remember,...
always consult an owners' manual for the manufactures suggestions and recommendations.

Good fishing and put them back!

Mack "YW" Cramer