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AVOIDING MARINE ELECTRONICS BLACKOUTS

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Aug 18, 2015

Credit picture boatus.com

Tips for keeping your marine electronics functioning properly.

With the latest spate of recent boat fires and collisions or near collissions, its' always a good idea to review some basics. (thanks to our friends at boat magazine for the excerpts)

Here are some simple benchmarks to verify that your marine electronics are working properly before you leave port, including:

1. Make a radio check to confirm you are transmitting and receiving properly.

2. Confirm your position dockside with your GPS. Make a range and bearing check with a known point of reference. Become familiar with how many satellites you normally receive and their relative strengths. This will let you know if your GPS is operating normally.

3. When leaving port, make sure your autopilot has no difficulty holding a course and responds properly to steering commands.

4. Check your radar by viewing familiar targets on long and short ranges to make sure they appear normal.

These quick reference checks can verify that your electronics are ready for sea duty, as well as serve as an early warning for possible pending failures.

Another way to avoid electronics failures is with a periodic preventive maintenance inspection, which you can do yourself.

Voltage Loss
Guard against a drop in electrical voltage, which can cause equipment to stop working or limit its performance. Inspect all connections from the battery to your electronics. Be alert for any loose connections, which can over time result from a boat’s normal impacts when underway. Be alert to corrosive buildup on terminals and electrical connections.

Batteries
Check batteries routinely. Buy a multimeter and learn how to use it. This is one of the handiest instruments for finding, correcting and preventing electricity-related problems.

Consult the Manual
Be sure you have a manual for each electronic device you have on board. The troubleshooting section can tell you what to do for each instrument’s most common problems. Don’t have a manual? Most manuals can be downloaded for free from the manufacturer’s website.