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What Floats Your Boat?

Power - by David Neubert - updated on 3/28/2014

Well, they don't necessarily make boats float, but they do make them go. Without a high-performing marine battery effectively powering your boat this spring and summer, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment out on the open water. Here are some tips to keep that from happening:

  1. Get your current battery tested – if you've had your boat in storage for the winter, then you will want to see how much cranking power it is still producing.
  2. Consider a battery box – secure your battery in the boat – an unsecured battery in a moving boat can cause damage to the battery and potential damage to the boat. Utilize a battery box to minimize vibration impact on the battery and prevent battery electrolyte from reaching other points in your boat. Plus, they are often required by law.
  3. Keep connection points clean and electrolyte levels up – scrub terminals to get rid of corrosion or other interfering materials for optimal results, and be sure to frequently check electrolyte levels in flooded battery types before operating or charging.
  4. Boat in water headed away to the right
  5. Look into water-proof chargers – NOCO has options that will allow you take them out on your boat with you, giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will never be stranded in the middle of the water due to a dead battery. Learn more about water-proof chargers.

Next, it's important to determine how much and what type of power you will need to power your boat and its accessories

Starting Power

  • Moderate Needs Motors of 100 horsepower or less
  • Heavy Needs Motors greater than 100 horsepower

Deep Cycle

  • Moderate Needs Radio, sonar, fish locator, running lights, etc.
  • Heavy Needs Trolling motor, refrigerator, portable tvs, inverters, multiple low drain devices, etc.

Which type of battery will be able to adequately handle your specific power needs?

Starting Needs Deep Cycle Needs Starting Battery Deep Cycle Battery Dual Purpose Battery Dual Purpose AGM Battery
Moderate None x x x
Moderate Moderate x x x
Moderate Heavy x
Heavy None x x x
Heavy Moderate x
Heavy Heavy x x

Summary: For smaller boats, with minimal accessories, you may be able to get away with just using one flooded Starting Battery. However, larger motors and boats with accessories should consider using multiple flooded batteries, including both Starting and Deep Cycle types, or upgrading to an AGM Dual Purpose Battery for superior performance.

Power Demands; Trolling Motor, Trim Pump, Anti-theft Systems, Audio Systems, Electronic Charging Station, On-Board Lighting, On-Board Computer, System Display, Power Steering, Throttle Control, Starting Systems, Cooler, Engine Systems

You should also consider the advantages of going with an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) replacement option, regardless of your power needs. These features will insure that you will get the highest performance and longest life out of your marine SLI battery:

White boat interior view looking out to the water
  • Sealed Design – keeps your battery maintenance free by eliminating leaks
  • Vibration resistance and extreme temperature tolerance – AGM batteries protect against these two damaging factors that can otherwise wreak havoc on a battery
  • Plate design and material – thin plates create a high reserve capacity to run more accessories, while pure calcium lead plates also offer increased cranking power and a longer life for your battery
  • Ease of installation – these batteries allow you to top or front mount them
  • Ease of charging – make sure to find a battery that's compatible with any maintenance SLI charger, as well as one that will sustain its change in storage (pure calcium lead plates self-discharge at a slower rate, too)
  • Faster recharge rate – get back out on the water first thing in the morning and stay out all day, worry-free!

It's time to prepare for hours of fun on the water. Make sure your boat's as ready for it as you are.