Will Wants to Know About Electricity on Boats

David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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8 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    Do you read QST?

    ‘Cause Hams are all about packing power and mobility. I bet there’s a lot of cross-pollination.Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Patrick says:

      I have no idea what QST is, so it follows that I don’t read it (or eat it, or wear it).

      Also, I don’t really like electronic gadgets very much. I know what I know because doing things yourself and taking care of things yourself is that many more dollars in your pocket for things you can’t do yourself, and doubly or quadruply so when dealing with the “marine mark-up” (possibly a subject for another post).

      That said, truly amazing things have happened in electronics with respect to size, ruggedness, capability, and price. How you equip your vessel, for both safety and convenience, is always a package of trade-offs. But where electronics are concerned it’s now very easy to put together a very full-featured and redundant system at a cost that is a good value relative to other things you might spend that same money on.Report

  2. trumwill says:

    This is awesome, David. Thanks.Report

  3. Vikram Bath says:

    Is the battery basically a box-shaped unit that you have to find a place for rather than something integrated into the construction and design of the boat?Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      It depends. Some boats have very cunning battery placement. For example, Chris Morejohn’s HOGFISH MAXIMUS is a daggerboarded cruising sharpie (flat-bottomed, shoal-draft) that uses a very large battery bank as part of her interior ballast. This worked especially well on HOGFISH cause she is a square boat and batteries are also square.

      INTEMPERANCE had six golfcart batteries in her lazerette (aft-most locker). This made them easy to get to to service and meant they weren’t taking up space in the interior. But the placement was high and about as far away from her center of rotation as you could put them. When I moved to a smaller bank, located in a spot that was lower and closer to the center of rotation, INTEMPERANCE’s handling improved noticeably, especially in a following sea.

      Also, factory made boats don’t tend to be well-designed where all the add-on doodads of cruising are concerned, so what you see, both inside and out on boat that are well equipped for cruising, is a lot of stuff that looks sort of tacked on rather than integrated into the design from the get go: antennas, sun and wind protection, dock and anchoring gear, dinghies. Adds for boats rarely show them encumbered by such things.Report

  4. Jack says:

    For what it’s worth, RVers run very similar systems to those on boats and yachts, with a house battery system charged by engine alternator, shore power (plugged in at an RV park, and yes we even call it that), onboard generator, and a growing proliferation of roof mounted solar panels.Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Jack says:

      Indeed! And with regard to the “marine mark-up” it’s no uncommon to find equivalent or sometimes even the exact same item in an RV catalog at a significantly lower price than it’s “marine” sibling.Report