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Knowing when an electrical component on your boat is failing is both handy and important. You can avoid getting stuck in the middle of the ocean or stranded while on vacation. Electrical problems on boats are not hard to spot, but they can cause some dangerous situations if you don’t know what you’re doing or you leave the issue for too long.

Common Electrical Problems on Boats

common electrical problems on boats

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Whether you have a small boat or a large yacht, keeping it maintained is just as important as taking care of the electrics that power it, so look out for these three common electrical problems all boats will experience at one point or another.

Bad Wire Connections

With a bad wire connection, there is likely some corrosion that caused it to erode. Anytime an electrical terminal is open, water and other debris get locked in. Rust forms and starts to eat away at the plastic covering, eventually getting to the connecting wires.

The truth is that no part of any type of boat is resistant to humidity and water. Its very purpose is to run on water. The difference is to watch out for any corrosion and take care of it at the first sign. If you leave it for too long you run the risk of more important electrical components being damaged.

Lights Flicker

If any of the boat’s lights start blinking each time you turn the engine on, you need to get the electronics checked out. Getting your battery checked should be the first step. If the voltage is running below what your chart plotter’s minimum requirements are, the battery becomes undercharged and weakened over time. Your main power source is generally the culprit with the most blinking light problems.

Other causes could be your fuse box or breaker. The internal circuitry may have lost connection or the wires have chafed between one another. On yachts, this is especially important to fix as soon as you spot the problem because the precise issue can be hard to find. You may need to have multiple electrical components evaluated, and for this, you will need an experienced yacht electrician.

System Overload

At any point in which your boat dies completely when you try to switch the engine on or operate another electrical component, it means that your power sources are not strong enough for the system. It could be using AC instead of DC. This often results in a shutdown of the system by triggering the breakers and putting additional stress on the electrical system. Either a converter has been connected poorly or the wrong power source is being utilized.

By having just one lower quality piece of equipment on your boat, you risk all kinds of electrical problems. The smallest drop of water cannot be near most electrical parts, but marine-related parts are different. They are made to withstand more pressure and humidity than other machines, but they are still prone to some damage.

If you buy a boat, whether new or second-hand, you need to have the electrical system evaluated before you take it out for a spin. An insignificant problem should be dealt with immediately to avoid unnecessary concern.