9 Marine Tips To Make Sure You Don't Get Stuck On Land

9 Marine Tips To Make Sure You Don't Get Stuck On Land

Today is the day. All week you have been planning for a weekend on the water. Between the BOM and Windy, the forecast points in one direction – ‘Perfect day on the water’.

The car is packed. The kids are excited. The esky is full of bangers and ice cold beers. You’ve made a call to your best mate the night before and his family are ready to roll first thing in the morning. Even the dog seems to know about the sandy destinations.

Sunscreen – check. Hats – check. Extra water – check. Fuel – check. Let’s go boating!

After a drive from the burbs, you arrive at the boat ramp. It’s a little crowded but you expected that on such a magic day. Everyone shares the same summertime vibe as they gear up to get on the water. You unload the car – kids, dog, eskies, bags of towels, camp chairs, umbrella, fishing rods, tackle boxes. Everything short of the kitchen sink gets loaded into the boat. The hard part’s almost over and then it’s all-day boating.

Finally it’s your turn to use the boat ramp. You back the trailer in effortlessly. Phew! On busy days like this you don’t want to waste time. Your mate has the boat secured by the jetty and both families are piling onboard, the kids scrambling for a spot on the bow. With everyone onboard, you jump on the boat, and turn the ignition – nothing. It’s been a while since her last run, maybe she just needs a second try – silence. Third times a charm – not in this case it isn’t.

After 30 minutes checking and rechecking wiring and connections the warm morning sun is starting to feel hot on the back of your neck. ‘Check the fuel line again’, your mate says at the same time the kids start to ask why you are still on the dock. You have tried everything, even hitting the side of the starter motor with the shifter – still nothing! You know it can only be one thing – the battery is dead.

Maybe this has happened to you, or if you are lucky, you will have read this article and made a mental note of the following tips to ensure you don’t have a day like the bloke in the story.

  1. It’s a good idea to run the motor before you leave for the boat ramp.
  2. Take the battery off the charger a day or two before you plan to go out on the water to make sure the battery is holding charge.
  3. Check the condition of your battery, especially if you haven’t looked it over in a while. Is it cracked? Does it appear to be bulging? Is it leaking? If there are any signs of damage or a change in the battery’s appearance, it’s best to replace it and be safe than sorry.
  4. Have a backup battery in case the other one dies. Battery World have several emergency jump starter packs to get you out of trouble. Speak to your local store to get the right one for you.
  5. For best battery health, don’t store batteries in high temperature environments.
  6. If you’ve had the battery for a while and it hasn’t been used for a long period of time, it is best to get the battery load tested. If there’s a shred of doubt bring the battery into your local store and they can test it! It takes less than 5 minutes if it’s the starter battery. Just remember that you can’t test a flat battery! Charge it up first and Battery World can confirm what you may already suspect.
  7. Check battery terminals to make sure the leads haven’t come loose. If so, tighten them. While you are there, notice any corrosion. This can be carefully cleaned up. Even though the battery terminals may look clean, it doesn’t mean that they are clean. It’s best to remove the clamps and clean them and the posts thoroughly. This can be done with some sandpaper or steel brush. If there is significant corrosion this can be removed with a mixture of bicarb soda and hot water. Tighten the clamps and retest.
  8. Never allow your battery to become submerged in water.
  9. Last but certainly not least, only use marine rated batteries on your boat. They are designed for it. A car battery is never acceptable.

Some of the tips mentioned may seem like a no brainer but they are sometimes overlooked or considered unimportant. Boats don’t share the same luxury as cars where something goes wrong with your battery, you can call for roadside assistance. We can find ourselves in remote locations, bad weather or drifting into danger, or, at the very least, caught out at the boat ramp. Take the time to make the checks to ensure you have a fabulous day on the water, just as you planned it to be.