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Shore up your battery for winter storage. When prepping your boat for winter storage don’t neglect your marine battery. Battery care in the off season will increase the useful life of your battery and get you out on the water faster come next season. You will want to protect your battery from freezing, corrosion, and storage discharge.
Weather you remove your battery or store it onboard you need to keep it from freezing. A charged battery is less likely to freeze that a discharged one so connecting a maintenance or trickle charger helps prevent a frozen battery but in extreme cold weather a heated storage area is needed.
It is best to disconnect and swab down your battery even if you store it on your boat. A disconnected battery is safe from any slow power draws that may exist on your boat. A good wipe down with baking soda water followed by a good wipe dry cleans things up and neutralizes any acid build-up.
Along with disconnecting your battery, putting it on a maintenance charger prevents storage discharge. Also known as, float, slow, or trickle chargers, these units will keep your battery topped off without over charging your boat battery.
Follow these tips and as long as you have a good battery this fall you should be able to reconnect and turn your engine over for a roaring start to the next boating season.
An added benefit to maintenance chargers is their ability to prevent sulfation, the buildup of sulfate crystals on the negative plates of lead acid batteries, that will shorten the useful life of the battery. Lead acid batteries benefit from regular full capacity charges that reduce and slow the inevitable sulfation and the resulting loss in performance.