While professional installation is readily available at boat retailers and electronics stores, learning how to install a fish finder in a boat is fairly easy and can save money. Fish finders are valuable to fishermen and women, providing an instant and real-time look at the fish, or lack there of, in any specific area of water. Knowing where the fish are means catching them much easier. Installing a fish finder on a boat takes just a few steps and can be completed in a few hours.
- Fish finder with transducer, mounting hardware and screws
- Pen or marker
- Drill with drill bits
- Silicone caulk
- 12-gauge wire
- Wire connectors
- Determine the best place for the transducer. As the transducer is mounted under the water line on the outside of the boat and the part that scans the water for fish, placing it in a good spot is essential. Some transducers can be mounted by suction, making them portable from boat to boat, while commonly the transducer must be mounted and hard-wired to the fish finder unit. The recommended place to mount the transducer is on the hull, in a space free of ribs and at least fifteen inches from the prop. Similarly, pick a spot to mount the transducer that will not be touched or affected when loading or unloading the boat from a trailer.
- Mount the transducer. Using the mounting bracket or provided template for the transducer and the pen or marker, mark where the screws to mount the transducer to the boat need to be installed as well as a hole for the wiring. Make sure the mounting bracket is level. Use a small drill bit to make a starter hole, then a larger bit to create a hole for the screws. Creating two holes will minimize the chances of the fiberglass hull cracking in the process. Run the wiring from the transducer to the inside of the boat, then seal the hole around the wires using silicone caulk. Attach the transducer to the hull using the screwdriver and screws provided with the fish finder.
- Install the fish finder. Find a good, sturdy spot to mount the main fish finder unit, while keeping in mind how accessible the unit will be for use. Drill starter holes to mount the bracket, then attach the bracket with the screwdriver. Attach the fish finder to the mounting bracket.
- Wire the fish finder. Use the 12-gauge wire and wire connectors to connect the electrical wire from the fish finder to either a battery or the boat's fuse box. Use extreme caution when working with electricity. Connect the red wire to the positive terminal and the black wire to the negative terminal.
- Connect the fish finder to the transducer. Use the wire you ran from the transducer up into the inside of the boat, connect that to the fish finder. Secure the wire or tuck it into hidden areas so it is out of the way.
- Test the installation. Turn on the fish finder to make sure it is receiving power and functioning. If you are in water, test to make sure the transducer is sending information about the surrounding area to the fish finder unit.
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