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As South Africans prepare for the lifestyle change that is Ke Dezemba, an activity some will be taking on is watersports, which means pulling out the watercraft that’s been stored away for the majority of the year.

With water vehicles leaving storage, what should your to-do list include?

Battery Maintenance

Ensuring your watercraft’s battery lasts is all about maintenance. Just by maintaining and storing it correctly, you should be able to use it on and off for several seasons.

Maintenance begins by checking the voltage periodically while in use or just before storing away. You want to see a voltage of around 12.7 volts with marine craft or deep cycle batteries.

If the battery dips below 9.7 volts, it might be time to charge the battery or have it checked. And when storing older or out-of-the-box batteries, it’s best to ensure they are connected to a trickle charger.

Don’t allow your battery to become fully discharged, as it will hamper how much energy it can store and shorten its lifespan.

And while it may seem overkill, always check whether your trickle charger is working correctly. A faulty trickle charger can cause severe damage to your battery.

If the battery is not in regular use, make sure to connect it to a trickle charger. As with all modes of transportation nowadays, internal electric devices and functions keep running in the background and this will drain the battery.

While ensuring your battery is maintained correctly is essential, it’s also vital to store it properly.


Storing Your Battery Properly

As mentioned, storing your marine battery in a well-ventilated area is in everyone’s best interest.

Also, ensuring that the storage area is clean means the unit will remain unsoiled. This is especially important for the terminal points.

When storing a battery separately from the watercraft, ensure it is connected to trickle charger. And if you remember, you can apply some petroleum jelly to the terminal points to stop corrosion or weathering.

If you have an opportunity, use a wire brush to remove any excess grime and dirt.

It’s also best to select an environment where temperatures remain above freezing and below 25°C. A battery’s charge can be affected by very low or very high temperatures.

Now that we’ve gone through storing the battery, let’s talk about installing it.


Installing Your Battery

If stored correctly, your battery will be clean and fully charged when you next need it. As always, before using your watercraft, do a quick test to ensure that the battery is, in fact, fully charged.

Before installing, make sure that the watercraft’s battery compartment is watertight. The last thing you want is to install the battery in an area that is at risk of flooding. Also, if there is a moisture build-up, allow the area to dry out before installing the battery.

By allowing the compartment to dry, you’ll reduce the risks of the terminals on the battery developing residue and rust.

The last step is to secure the battery into place with brackets. While batteries are heavy, they will still shift around if not bolted down.

If you are concerned, you can place the unit onto a battery tray or rubber mat, which can be purchased at a local automotive spares outlet.

One of the final inspections is conducted on the battery’s connection wires. These should not have exposed wires, and the connections on the terminal should be clean.

Once completed, it’s time to do one last check. While the battery is healthy, it’s in your best interest to check if the watercraft electronics aren’t draining the battery.

Allow the engine to be off with the battery installed for six hours.  When testing the battery, ensure the voltage matches your readings before installing it into the watercraft.

If the reading is lower, you will want to check the watercraft’s systems. But if the readings match, you should be ready to go.

For those who have glanced through this article and thought this sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. It is a lot of work.

That’s why you can always choose to bring the battery to your nearest SABAT battery stockist, where we will test it for you.


Get Your Watercraft’s Battery Tested by a SABAT Professional

If you have questions about your watercraft’s battery, you can visit one of our conveniently located SABAT Xpress outlets or fabulous stockists.


  • Andrew McFarlane

    Andrew Macfarlane has accumulated over a decade of experience in content creation - graduating from the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business with a Diploma in Copywriting. When he is not engrossed in writing at his computer, he can be found tending to his garden or engaging in various DIY projects. His contributions as an author have been acknowledged in reputable publications such as the Sunday Times, Bizcommunity, and HotCars, further solidifying his reputation as a skilled and versatile writer.

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    Name: Heine Coetzer Current Position: OEM and R&D Manager Qualifications: - N.Dip Electrical Engineering (Light Current); - B.Tech Electrical Engineering (Cum Laude) and; - Programme for Management Development (Gibbs) Experience: 17 years of experience in the South African battery industry covering Aftermarket sales and distribution, OEM sales and support, OEM product development, OEM quality systems, Research and Development, battery design, battery testing and benchmarking.

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