One single marine battery charger may not work for every individual situation. Many types of chargers are on the market; each one different from the other in some way. The variety often confuses people and they mistakenly buy the wrong charger for their marine batteries.
No one wants to be the guy sitting in the middle of the lake with the unhappy family onboard wishing they were having fun instead of sitting in the hot sun. Regular maintenance to all electrical components on the boat will help make sure you aren't "that guy" on your next trip to the lake.
Just in case your only power source does go dead while you're on the water, always carry oars in case you need to paddle to shore. Carry rope in case someone comes by and asks if you'd like a tow back to the dock. Make sure you have all emergency supplies you may need in case you aren't able to make it to shore quickly in the case of an emergency.
Marine battery chargers are one of the most important things a boater should own. Any time you aren't on the water, consider using a trickle charger to maintain the charge. Trickle chargers continually feed a small amount of current into the battery to combat the natural self-discharge process.
Things to consider when buying a marine battery charger include the type of battery to be charged, input voltage and amp hour capacity. These variables must be known before making your purchase, or you may end up buying the wrong thing. Any time you're unsure as to which type of charger to buy, ask around.
Input Voltage: Most marine batteries are 6V or 12V; this is the rule, not the exception. Some powerhouse boats may have a bigger battery, where smaller boats may have a smaller one. Know what size battery you have before you begin your search.
Battery Type: Most of the time one charger will work for all types. The exception to this rule is gel cells, which need a different type of charger. Most batteries are wet cell (flooded), absorbed glass mat, or valve regulated lead acid.
Amp Hour Capacity: This refers to how much power can be stored. The charger must match the capacity so it does not deliver too much current. Too little is ok and will maintain a charge, but will rarely charge a low battery to full.
Losing power in the middle of the lake is no fun. Being without power can ruin an otherwise great fishing trip or just a fun day at the lake. Skiing and knee boarding quickly come to a standstill when power is drained from the marine battery.
Be sure to charge your batteries to full before each trip to the lake to ensure you won't be dead on the water. You may also consider buying a shelf charger or a multi-bank unit for your boat so you always have charged batteries and a marine battery charger onboard at all times.
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