Boat Horns

The ability to audibly signal the presence of your craft on the water is a legal requirement. The most common way this is done is with a horn. Most boat horns run off of 12 VDC. The sounding mechanisms they employ are an electrical diaphragm (like a car horn), a piezo (like an emergency buzzer) or an air diaphragm with a compressor (like a truck or ship horn). AFI is the leading supplier of boat horns in marine electrical. A horn is a crucial safety feature when a sudden warning needs to be given, to signal trouble, or when underway with low visibility such as in fog. Boat horns are available from several well known suppliers, the most famous in marine being the AFI division of Marinco. As the say on their website, they are
...the leading supplier of horns to the marine industry, with over fifty years of experience in designing and manufacturing sound devices specifically for use in harsh marine environments. Stainless steel is used for all critical components such as trumpets, motor cover, diaphragms, and assembly and mounting hardware. In the case of the XLP trumpet horns, the horn is given extra protection through the complete over-molding of the internal motor cover housing. It is this extra process that provides the added protection needed to back up the five-year warranty. AFI offers a complete line of marine horn products designed to meet almost any need, including electric and air trumpet horns, compact horns, electric and air below deck horns, and a comprehensive line of drop-in horns with a wide assortment of grill options.

Bilge Pumps

An critical component on most boats, the bilge pump is a commonly used mechanical method for pumping out the water that invariably gathers in the bilge of most watercraft.

These inexpensive but often powerful pumps are expected to perform in often varying (and occasionally severe) conditions. Not only are they required to function while a boat is cutting through heavy waves, but also in the middle of the night after a rain storm when the boat is docked and the owner is gone.Attwood 1200 GPH bilge pump

The pumps come in a variety of pumping capacities, stated in gallon per hour (GPH), and are usually powered by 12V DC. The methods of wiring them for switching on can be for manual or automatic operation, and most often is for both. Manual switching typically uses a switch on the dashboard. Automatic operation involves the use of a float switch that senses the water level in the bilge. Once a level is reached that can be pumped out, the switch turns the pump on.

Bilge pumps are manufactured by several well know companies, including Attwood Marine. The Attwood Tsunami Series features innovative engineering and compact design, that delivers high output from a small package. Attwood bilge pumps are famous for using the most advanced material available, including the best quality bearings and state-of-the-art brushes, alloys and magnets.

They offer three high-efficiency pumps that move water at output capacities of 500 gph, 800 gph and 1200 gph.

Battery Management

Battery management is the efficient monitor and control the outflow of power from your boat’s batteries.

The “prime directive” of marine electrical battery management to to avoid the overuse of this finite power supply, which may eventually compromise an important function, like starting your engine. BEP is one of marine electrical's leading suppliers of battery switches for your boat wiring project

Marine electrical battery management can be as simple as monitoring a voltmeter to determine battery voltage; to the use of switches to turn on certain batteries, while isolating others from use ; to having sophisticated voltage sensitive relays that will do the job of monitoring levels and switching batteries on and off automatically – often called a Smart Battery Switch.

Any boater that will be spending time at anchor running electrical accessories, like stereos, will need to maintain some awareness of the condition and level of their battery supply and life. The inability to restart an engine (which is a key source of recharge for the batteries), or to lose the use of a boat’s navigation lighting, boat horns or bilge pumps because of dead batteries is a situation to be avoided. Thus the importance of battery management.

Battery Cables

Battery cables are one of the most crucial parts of any boat wiring system.

The foundation of the entire 12 volt marine electrical system is the batteries – both for energy and grounding, which are equally important. For each, the battery cable is a pivotal link.Custom built battery cables give you the correct length, color, gauge and end-fittings for your boat wiring project

Because of the nature of DC power and the easy potential for current loss over distance, battery cables are constructed of thick heavy duty copper and highly insulated. This makes them not only bulky, but expensive.

Good marine electrical design will use the optimal thickness (gauge) of the cables to provide the most current, while attempting to limit the distance they run, as longer runs necessitate increasing the gauge. Typically the cables will be terminated with either battery lugs (for the battery connection) or ring terminals, or most commonly a combination of the two.

Battery cables are available from many sources, although several websites now offer completely custom battery cables. The flexibility of these configurations allows boaters to get precisely the length, color, gauge and end-fittings that their boat wiring project requires.