Care and Feeding of your Electric Deck Boat


Care and Feeding of your Electric Deck Boat

Pre-Trip

Unplug the battery charger that was plugged in after the last voyage. It has been replacing used energy from the last outing and maintaining the battery’s at full charge once topped off. Indicators on the charger will tell you battery status and the dash mounted charge meter will let you know how much available energy or run time the boat has.

It’s common practice in boat ownership to periodically turn the bilge pumps (switch front right on dash) on for a few seconds and listen or look for any water being expelled, if water has accumulated and is being pumped, look/listen for when the stream stops then turn the bilge off, you’re good to go. You can look in the hatch covers located on the stern deck to inspect the bilge area.

Heading Out

Start by lowering the motor into the run position from the stowed position. Lift the motor with the collapsible handle at the top of the motor tube and turn a counter clockwise just enough (~1/8 turn) to disengage it from the hanger hook then lower until it bottoms out in the run position. It will help if you align the two half circle cut outs in the stainless motor tube with the 2 tabs in the motor steer arm. Dropping (letting it free fall) the motor into the run position isn’t recommended since over time it could cause damage. If you find aligning the motor into the run/steer position when lowering difficult, by racking the Tiller Handle back and forth a little the motor and steer arm will align as the motor settles to gravity into the run position.

The speed switch located ahead of the tiller handle is in neutral when the indicator is at 12:00. Turning the knob 3 clicks counterclockwise will give you your reverse speeds and 5 clicks clockwise your forward speeds.

Post Trip

Won’t hurt to pump the bilge, make sure the lights and bilge are turned off, reverse the process of putting the motor into service by lifting until it stops and turn clockwise until the motor hanger arm engages the motor hanger hook. By storing the motor out of the water in this position while the boat is at rest will give the maximum motor life. Plug the charger in. Install mooring cover if extended periods between uses.

Maintenance

Washing; mild soap and water is usually is all that’s needed. For heavier stains like shoe scuffs using nothing more aggressive than paint thinner or mineral spirits will not damage the boat. For organic build up below the water line muriatic acid works well. Any wax designed for use on cars or boats will work great and vinyl cleaning products designed for cleaning and protecting car or boat vinyl will keep the cushions in tip top shape. The battery’s will need to be topped off with distilled water periodically. Follow the battery guide supplied with the boat or go to Interstate Battery’s web site to learn about battery care. West Marine has a full line of in house brand boat cleaning and maintenance products that work great for keeping these boats looking good.

Storage

Protected inside a structure is obviously best. Outside;  using the storage or mooring covers or a tarp is recommended to keep ice, snow, debris and sun damage to a minimum. By removing the battery’s and putting them on a trickle charger over winter or very long periods of non use you will realize the maximum life out of them. Letting these battery’s discharge, which they can do from unmaintained general atmospheric exposure, and freeze will shorten their life greatly. Conversely storing them in high heat like that in the desert can shorten life by evaporation. Battery’s in hot climates will need to be topped off more frequently with distilled water. Do this as per manufacturer’s instructions only after a complete charge cycle.