Winterizing Marine Electronics

As the first chill of autumn hits the air and leaves are swirling off the trees, it’s time to think about heading out to the marina to make sure your boat is ready to weather the winter months. In particular you will want to protect any expensive marine electronics you have onboard. Follow these simple steps to make sure your sensitive marine gadgets spring back to life.

Step One: Make Any Needed Repairs
There’s nothing worse than coming back in the springtime to uncover your boat and look forward to that first trip out on the lake only to remember that your marine electronics are not functioning or that you forgot to make needed repairs at the end of the season. Now is the time to make sure your boat is ready to go when you are. Examine all the cables and wiring for your marine electronics, make backups of waypoints or other data that is at risk of “disappearing” over the winter, walk around the boat and take stock of anything else showing signs of wear and tear or is in need of replacement.

Step Two: Remove and Store Sensitive Marine Electronics mccoy marine 50
Chances are most electronics will do well if you wrap them properly and leave them with your boat, but if you are not sure it never hurts to remove items. Check manufacturer’s guidelines to see if electronic components are sensitive to extremely cold temperatures. If you bring your boat in off the water, it’s also a good idea to remove the battery. You should check the battery level and boost the charge in the spring time before putting it back on board.

Depending on the complexity of your marine electronics, if you decide to remove anything you will want to be confident that you can put it back – this is particularly important if you have several components wired together such as a fish finder, a marine GPS and a chart plotter.

Carry a pad, a stack of envelopes or ziplock bags and a sharpie with you. Use the pad to draw wiring diagrams if you are disassembling anything or removing any of your electronics for storage. Use the envelopes or bags to store screws, bolts and tiny accessories and mark each bag with the sharpie so you know what belongs to what.

It’s a good idea to take with you anything that’s not bolted down to avoid the possibility of anyone walking off with it while you’re not paying attention.

Step Three: Putting Your Marine Electronics into Hibernation
Marine electronic devices are sensitive to static, and any electronic equipment left on your boat is also subject to attack by salt water and winter weather. Items you are removing should be wrapped first in anti-static bags and then wrapped in soft, padded material to protect it. Store these is a dry place away from winter weather. Any electronic devices you leave on board should first be wrapped in an absorbent material, such as a cloth or towel and covered in shrink wrap to protect it from the elements. The absorbent cloth will prevent condensation from building up and ruining the marine electronics.

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