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Protect Your Boat Battery in Cold Weather

Nov 4th, 2013 by Mike Glassman With the cold weather getting colder, we thought it would be a good idea to go over some cold weather tips for keeping your boat or yacht battery maintained. Whether you have decided to keep your boat on the water all winter, or if you have decided to dry dock it, or to store it in your shed, proper  maintenance can mean the difference between your precious investment lasting for years to come, or the potential need to make repairs much sooner than you ever anticipated. Protecting Your Boat's Battery Protect Your Boat in Winter One of the most important issues people generally don’t think about – in both cars and boats – is storing the battery properly. Contrary to popular belief, the cold does not preserve battery life, but shortens it. In fact, thousands of families store their all purpose AA, AAA, C, and D batteries in cold places, such as in the freezer, and they do so with the mantra that the freezer will “prevent their charge from going stale,” this in fact is not true. Preserving shelf life by storing something in the freezer only works for food stuffs – and though it might seem silly, it really does work – coffee, of all things. In any case, what we mean to say is that if you keep your boat outside; ensure that the battery is protected from the cold, harsh weather because cold weather drains the life of a car or boat batter much faster than the hot weather does. Additionally, the cold can cause the water content in the battery acid to freeze, causing cracking or leaking of the acid all over the battery compartment. This acid is corrosive at best, and at worst can cause the boat materials to burn. More importantly, depending on what that compartment is made from, it could melt, and any of these is cause for concern. Best Kept Secret: Trickle Charge It is important to ensure that your boat starts up properly when the warm weather comes back and you are getting ready to take your boat out of storage by protecting your battery before any damage can happen. if you keep your boat on the water or out in the cold, even if it is in dry dock, try to remember to keep it on a trickle charge. Keeping it trickle charging will help ensure that your battery doesn’t drain, and keeps the battery from freezing, thus preventing costly damage. A battery that froze over the cold months is more likely to need replacing than one left to trickle charge during the winter, even if it doesn’t crack. You can make this easier on your environmentally friendly side of your personality by using a solar trickle charger. For this and other reasons, you must remember to take care of your battery before the cold weather sets in. Otherwise, when you try to cold start your engine, you’ll be in for a surprise, and the surprise might just be that you have to replace that battery instead of just charging it.   Photo via Pixabay

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