Marine batteries are designed for use on a boat. These types of batteries are extra sturdy with heavier plates to withstand pounding and vibration onboard any powerboat. A common misconception among boat owners is that automobile batteries can be a substitute for boat batteries, which is a big mistake in terms of lifespan and reliability during your boating adventures.
There are 3 basic types of marine batteries. First are marine starting batteries, which are specifically used for starting engines. They supply short, powerful energy bursts within a short period of time and are rapidly charged by the engine's accelerator. Next are the marine deep cycle batteries. These are best used for boat accessories such as audio systems, fish locators, and windlass. Boasting a long lifespan, they have a slow discharge rate and are able to withstand hundreds of charging and discharging cycles. The last type of boat battery is the marine dual-purpose battery. It's a combination of marine starting batteries and marine deep cycle batteries, perfect for smaller boats with limited space. While this may seem like a good space-saving option even for larger boats, going for separate units is still recommended for maximum efficiency.
What Are the Battery Types Suitable For Boats?
Lead-acid batteries: This is the most inexpensive type but it requires a lot of maintenance and is ideal for short term only. Lead-acid batteries need to be charged frequently and can also break easily, risking leaks which can be dangerous and damaging to marine environments.
AGM batteries: Usually, this battery type rarely leaks and needs minimal maintenance only. The downside is that they're known to be expensive and hard to repair so you're most likely to end up buying a new one instead.
Gel batteries: Popular for their long lifespan, gel batteries do not need to be charged often. However, they tend to be on the pricier side and can be difficult to charge once drained. The charging process is slow and you need to disconnect the battery charger as soon as it's complete since failure to do so may cause irreversible damage.
Lithium batteries: Lithium batteries, specifically LiFEPO4, make the best boat battery due to their reliability and overall design. Although they come with a cost, these batteries will last you for a long time with minimal maintenance and are non-toxic. They also come in a lightweight, portable form perfect for outdoor activities.
Marine Battery vs. Car Battery
As mentioned earlier, car batteries are not suitable for use on boats. They are designed for travel on smooth roads, while marine batteries are built to resist constant pounding from waves and trailer transport. You might be able to start your boat with it but your battery life certainly won't last very long. Marine battery packs have elevated lead plates that cause electricity so even while the boat bounces around, they don't short out. They also have a unique bonding process that helps things stay put during boat rides. Repeated vibration and wave impact on non-marine batteries can cause cracks and damage, which will ultimately lead to electrolyte leaks and battery failure. In addition, car batteries deliver bursts of power to crank the engine, while marine batteries are designed to also provide the reserve capacity to power board accessories.
How Long Do Marine Batteries Last?
The estimated lifespan of a marine battery is around 3-4 years but can extend up to 6 years in the right conditions and with proper handling. When not in use, it's highly recommended to keep the batteries on a regulated charger to maintain charge especially in cold temperatures and if you're not using the boat on a regular basis. It’s also ideal to encase the battery in a good battery tray with a rigid bracket or locking strap and frequently check its terminal connections for corrosions.
More from Outbax
Outbax offers marine battery boxes and other portable power sources for your boat, such as marine inverter generators. We have an expert team of outdoor enthusiasts who are happy to help you be at your comfiest whether you’re off-the-grid or sailing out in the sea. We have power stations, solar panels, inverter generators, and even trolling motor batteries to help power every adventure you’re going into so pay our website a visit just before you plan that next trip!