It’s the perfect boating day, and you’re ready for it.

You head out on the water, and after an hour, you notice your boat isn’t running normally. Suddenly your engine dies, and you have to jumpstart your battery. Before you know it, a day that was supposed to be fun turns into a giant hassle.

Of course, you could’ve prevented the letdown if only you had replaced your boat’s battery sooner.

To help you keep your boat running efficiently, we’ve created this short guide all about choosing boat batteries. What size battery do you need, and what should the capacity be? Read on to find out!

Boat Batteries Vs Car Batteries

Unlike cars, your boat needs two different types of batteries to run smoothly. When choosing boat batteries, you’ll have to determine if you need to replace both batteries, or just one. The first battery will take care of starting your engine, and the second battery will take care of large electrical loads.

Battery Types

Boat batteries can be wet cells, gel cells, absorbed glass mats, or lithium-ion. Each different battery design has a specific rating system that stays the energy output or amps per hour. You’ll also be able to see what each battery offers as far as recharging cycles go.

The amount of the batteries output and how long they last are going to determine their price. As far as picking a battery that meets all of your boating needs, you’ll have to decide how long you’d like to be out on the water.

Deep Cycle Vs Crank Batteries

Earlier, we mentioned that both have two types of batteries. The one that handles large electrical loads is a deep cycle battery, like Enduro Power use.

Whereas, the battery that’s going to handle starting your boat is the crank battery or start battery. The cranking battery will allow your boat to send power to the engine, activating the ignition switch. Starter batteries produce short, powerful bursts of energy.

The more plate surface available inside the battery, the easier it’ll be for the battery to provide its power. Cranking batteries have a ton of thin plates which gives them a lot of surface area. The additional area makes cranking batteries smooth and reliable.

However, cranking batteries are not ideal for continuous discharge. When you need a battery that can handle cyclic use, you’ll have to turn to deep cycle batteries. After the engine is fully started, the boat no longer needs powerful bursts of energy.

Instead, your boat needs a consistent source of reliable power and that sort of deep cycle battery can provide. The deep cycle battery will be responsible for running your boat’s lights, GPS, radios, and sonar.

Trolling Battery Design Tips

Sometimes boaters will refer to a deep cycle battery as a trolling battery. One of the things that makes deep cycles different from cranking batteries is their use of thicker plates. The thick place has less surface area, but they allow for continuous power over extended periods.

You can completely drain a deep cycle battery and recharge it without causing any damage. On the other hand, cranking batteries should never be run down to zero and instead need to maintain a consistent charge.

Thanks to their thicker plate design, you’ll also find that deep cycle marine batteries are less likely to overheat. You can take your boat in heavy currents and extreme weather conditions, and your deep cycle battery will keep things running smoothly.

Dual Purpose Batteries

Some companies offer the promise of a dual-purpose battery. The battery that can handle it all, from cranking the boat to keeping things running. However, it’s very difficult for one battery to handle both activities.

If you get a dual-purpose battery, you’re probably going to have to compromise on performance in some areas. For instance, you may find that your dual-purpose battery has difficulty starting the boat when you’re in cold weather.

Another problem is that it’s likely to overheat when you force a cranking battery to run continuously. You could also wind up depleting the battery’s overall capacity, which means it’ll run down faster.

Another disadvantage of dual batteries is that they require the deep cycle battery to provide short bursts of energy. Since deep cycle batteries aren’t designed to provide short bursts of energy, the activity can wind up deteriorating the battery’s interior.

Of course, there are notable exceptions to the rule. If you go with a high-quality company specializing in making efficient dual-purpose batteries, you could be on the right path.

As long as you have a smaller boat that doesn’t require a lot of electricity, a dual-purpose battery could get the job done. However, in our opinion, it’s always best to get two separate batteries.

Inspecting Boat Battery Features

Have you inspected your boat’s battery bank recently? Take a moment to look at the batteries your boat is using now to determine if your batteries need maintenance or replacement.

Examine the battery cases and see if there’s any bulging or disfiguration. If you notice a lot of debris or moisture around the bank, it’s a sign that you need new batteries. If you’re using wet lead-acid batteries and their bone dry, it doesn’t mean that they’re ruined.

Instead, dry wet lead-acid batteries indicate damage. You can still get a little bit of life out of them, but their capacity will be reduced.

Go ahead and fill up your used wet lead-acid batteries, cap them, give them a charge, and keep a close eye on them. You also want to watch out for any corrosion on the battery terminals that can cause performance problems.

Boat Battery Maintenance

As far as boat battery maintenance, many of the issues are easy to take care of on your own. For instance, corrosion is easy to clean up once you spot it.

Here’s a quick guide on how to clean regular corroded batteries, and it applies to marine batteries as well. The more regularly you inspect your batteries, the longer they’re going to last.

Choosing Boat Batteries That Last

Choosing boat batteries doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you know what you’re doing. Do you know which battery your boat needs? If not, no worries. Simply, take a few moments today to inspect your boat’s battery bank.

Notice how your deep cycle battery looks, and take note of what condition you’re starting battery is in too. Then, decide if you need to replace both batteries or just one.

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