How to maintain your battery: Battery maintenance FAQs

RACV Marine

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Your boat’s battery keeps your boat going and your days on the water enjoyable. If something goes wrong, though, you could find yourself with a boat that doesn’t start, or stranded on the bay.

So how do you keep your battery in good nick? We spoke to our battery expert Alan about how you can keep your battery happy and enjoy more time on your boat.

How can I extend my battery’s life?

The average life of a boat battery is around 3-4 years, although they can last up to 6 years in the right conditions. To ensure your battery lasts its full lifespan, keep your batteries connected to a maintenance charger to keep it fully charged. A multistage charger like SmartCharge can also charge and maintain the battery when it’s not in use.

Regular testing, or a regular replacement program would be a proactive approach to ensuring you never get caught in the middle of the bay with a flat battery.

How do I jump start my battery safely?

Jump starting a boat isn’t any different to jump starting a car, except that you need to make sure there is reasonable ventilation before connecting the battery. Many boat batteries are in confined spaces, so you need to make sure there are not any fuel fumes before jumping.

After this, using a quality jump starter like the IS-1500 is the best insurance policy for your engine computer.

Why has my battery failed?

Lead acid batteries can fail for a number of reasons. Heat accelerates the degradation of a battery.  Deep cycling will reduce a battery’s life as it causes the active material to break away from the lead grid. Allowing the battery to run flat will accelerate sulphation, especially if it is not charged again immediately.

If your battery fails on the water, unfortunately there’s very little that can be done. There is a slim chance that your battery might be cold, in which case warm it up to 25-30 degrees, which will allow it to deliver a little more starting power. However, this is difficult if the boat doesn’t have power.  The best solution would be to keep a jump pack (like the IS-1500) on board.


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