How To Wire A Boat

Learning how to wire a boat can be very useful in helping to install electronics, move electronics or give you more options during your boating experience. With a little time and patience, anyone can successfully wire their boats with just a little basic knowledge of electricity. If you think you’re ready to wire your boat, then take a look at a few basic items you’ll need to complete your task and get back on the water.

Here are the items you’ll need to wire how boat:

  • Working marine battery
  • Marine wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Sharp knife
  • Electric drill
  • Breaker
  1. Drill your holes. If you have an idea as to where you want your wires to go, you can begin drilling the holes for the wires to go through. If you’re not quite sure where to put your wires at, here are a few useful tips. First, try and place your wires in a location where they will be the least exposed to the elements, such as storage areas and rod holders. Secondly, if you can, re-use the holes where the previous wiring was and expand your options this way. There's no need to have all kinds of different wires in your boat running to the same general locations. Once you know where you need your holes at, drill some small holes that are just big enough to accommodate your wires. Make sure you use special marine wiring, which is specifically designed for the harsh environment of boating and exposure to the elements.
  2. Run your wire. After drilling your holes, you can begin to run your wire to the necessary locations. If you’re connecting your wires to your battery, make sure your battery is turned off while installing or changing any wires. Also, make sure you match-up the wires to where they’re supposed to go on your battery; the wires are different colors for a reason! You can use your knife to split open the covering on your wire to connect it to the metal knobs on your battery. Make sure you have some electrical tape handy if you make a bad cut.
  3. Troubleshooting. If, after having wired your boat, your wire connections and installed electronics don't work, then don’t blame your faulty wiring. Most problems originate with your marine battery, not the wiring. First, check to make sure your battery is in working order with an electrical tool known as a breaker. If you feel you have inadequate charge, then charge your battery overnight. Some marine batteries also require the use of water, so make sure you check this out also. If your battery is okay, double-check your wiring on the battery itself. You may need to replace and re-strip the wire multiple times around your battery due to wear and tear, so make sure you know how to do this successfully. A word of caution, though. You can get shocked doing this so be extremely careful and turn off your battery before attempting any maintenance!


If you’re still having troubles with your battery, take a look at your new wires. It’s easy to knick one of your wires while running them through your holes, so keep your electrical tape handy!

Another tip would be to carry these basic electrical tools with you while you’re on the water: electrical tape, electrician’s pliers and WD-40 to loosen up any tight bolts covering faulty wiring around your battery. With practice and tinkering, you’ll become a pro at no time and can help others with their faulty wiring on the water!

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