The Right Way to Winterize Your Boat
Every winter we think about everything we have to do to get ready for the onslaught of snow and ice that head our way. We check the window insulation and change the filter in the furnace. We gas up the snowplow and make sure each car has a sturdy ice scraper. For boat owners, this time of year also means we need to winterize your boat.
Storing your boat’s batteries for the winter is crucial to their lifespan. Boat batteries can get extremely expensive, so getting the most out of them is really important for your wallet!
Correct battery winter storage can be the difference come springtime! Follow this simple checklist to winterize your boat batteries – and be sure they’re ready for a great spring startup:
Reading this will teach you how to properly disconnect and store your Lithium Boat Batteries for the winter to ensure that you get the most life out of them!
Winter Battery Storage Checklist
Just like with any battery, you must perform regular maintenance. This including watering and removing corrosion. For maintenance tips and instructions, check out our Safety First Guide.
Charge the batteries one final time. Charging ensures they’ll completely recharge next season, and it greatly reduces the risk of a frozen battery over the winter season.
Disconnect the negative cable and wait a few hours before checking specific gravity or voltage. With your hydrometer, check each cell; specific gravity should be 1.265 – 1.285. (Alternately, you can check batteries with a voltmeter – 12.6V is the reading for charged batteries.)
Clean It Up: It’s a good rule of thumb to clean anything before storing it. For many batteries, this will include cleaning off contact points and checking for corrosion or leakage. BSLBATT Battery’s Lithium marine batteries are fully sealed and maintenance-free. All the same, it’s best to check over the battery for signs of distress and wipe it off before storing it for winter.
Disconnect terminals to remove all electrical loads from your batteries. Electronics have parasitic (“vampire”) loads – small power draws – even if they’re “off.” This slow drain, combined with battery self-discharge, is enough to damage batteries in the off-season.
Keep it DRY: Wherever you choose to store your boat’s battery, make sure that there’s no risk of it gathering condensation. If you’re someone who likes to store the battery in a refrigerator, make sure that there are no surrounding elements that could leak and hurt the battery. Even a plastic bag can cause trouble if it gathers condensation. (On wood surfaces, in garages or storage facilities, is recommended.)
Ideally, trickle charge batteries or charge them monthly. This prevents self-discharge and extends lifespan. Batteries with a full charge are also less prone to freezing.
To make charging easier, store batteries where they’re easy to access. Confirm that your charger is designed for your battery type. Lithium and AGM batteries frequently demand different chargers and algorithms. (Note: Smart chargers can help ensure batteries don’t overcharge.)
Check the charge each month: Every battery will lose a certain amount of charge each month, even when it’s not being used. Depending on what kind of battery you use, this loss of charge could be significant. In order to keep your battery from losing too much, check the voltage each month. Some people choose to attach a trickle charger in order to maintain the voltage over winter.
BSLBATT Battery’s Lithium Boat Batteries lose less than 1% of their charge per month. All the same, if your battery is stored in potentially volatile conditions, it’s best to double-check the charge in order to ensure that your battery will still be in good working condition come spring.
Maintaining Lithium Boat Batteries Over the Winter
A deep-cycle Lithium Boat Batteries is designed to undergo extreme discharge levels throughout regular use. Keeping it fully charged all of the time using a trickle charger is a bad idea, and can actually decrease its lifespan.
If you have a deep cycle battery, let it sit inside your house until it has an extremely low charge level. Keep checking the levels every week, but do not do anything until it discharges completely.
Once the battery is almost out of any charge, plug it into the charger. Charge it up to the maximum level, then let it sit again. Repeat this cycle to ensure the longevity of your battery.
Modern marine vessels are more dependent than ever on functioning battery power. The battery’s reliable charge powers communications, navigation, sonar, and more. Take care of your battery so that you can trust it next time you’re out on the water. You can also learn more here about BSLBATT Lithium Boat Batteries’ premium product offerings that will keep your boat fully charged year after year.
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