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Choosing the Right Marine Battery

When it comes to choosing the right marine battery that floats your boat, click here to explore important factors to consider.

Boating is popular in the U.S. In fact, Americans own around 25 million boats in all. Of course, many of those boats are muscle-powered vehicles like kayaks and canoes.

Even so, many of those boats are motor-driven, such as speedboats, trawlers, and fishing boats. Maintenance on these vehicles is a lot more complicated than maintenance on their muscle-driven counterparts.

For example, many powered boats require a marine battery to function properly. If you’re thinking about buying a powered boat but want to get ahead of the maintenance curve, keep reading for our guide on choosing the right marine battery.

What Is a Marine Battery?

In essence, a marine battery is simply a battery designed to work around the demands of a boat. For example, car batteries don’t fare all that well if you leave them to sit for weeks or months at a time. Do that, and you’ll probably find a dead battery the next time you go to fire up your car.

Boats, on the other hand, will routinely go for weeks or months between uses. A battery that goes dead every time you leave your boat idle for a month isn’t very useful. So, manufacturers make the batteries with the expectation that they’ll sit for extended periods of time.

Types of Marine Batteries

There are three main boat battery types. Those boat batteries are:

  • Deep cycle
  • Cranking
  • Dual purpose

Your deep cycle battery is there primarily to run onboard electronics, such as small appliances, depth finders, and even audio equipment. Cranking batteries serve the same function as a car battery. They provide a quick shot of energy to help the motor fire up.

Dual-purpose batteries serve both functions, but they may provide lesser performance than single-purpose batteries. Within these types, you see subtypes based on battery composition, such as:

No one batter can work in for all boats.

Choosing a Boat Battery

There are several important considerations when choosing your boat battery. Right at the top of the list is the battery group, which defines the battery’s overall size. You need the right group to ensure it will fit in your boat.

Other considerations include:

  • Total electrical capacity
  • Battery weight
  • Battery output

In some cases, you will also need to decide between maintenance-free sealed batteries and unsealed batteries. Unsealed batteries typically require some ongoing maintenance, such as adding in distilled water.

Many boats do not have an owner’s manual. Make sure you get specific information about what type of battery your boat uses at the time of purchase. You can also consult the manufacturer for additional information.

A Marine Battery and You

There is no one-size-fits-all advice for choosing a marine battery. In many cases, you will find that you default to the type of battery the last owner used because it’s the only information available.

Manufacturers can provide some information but often fail to produce model-specific guidance. A boating supply business can often provide model-specific guidance.

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