A Few Tips for Winterizing Your Marine Electronics

As the sun sets on the 2013 marine season, many boats are currently being retired to slips, garages and storage units for winter hibernation.  Before doing so, there are many things that a mariner can do to prepare the marine electronics on-board for upcoming inactivity.  Here are a few tips for doing so:

1.   Check Cables/Wiring – Checking any exposed cables or wiring for corrosion or worn spots is important to do prior to storing your boat to avoid any potential damage done during your boat's down time.  Dust, rodents and temperature can exploit weak areas in cables, so being proactive and replacing any damaged cables prior to storage is a safe bet.  Also, any electronic contact points should be covered and dielectric grease can be applied to the ends of the plugs if desired.

2.    Cleaning Electronics – Before packing up, it's a great idea to clean your electronics.  This isn't difficult, as we recommend a microfiber cloth to clean the screen and go over any buttons that may have some open exposure.  This can help prevent dust from settling in exposed areas and corrode or damage the units.  If any saltwater has built up on the screen, you can use bottled water to help clean it.  It is NOT recommended to use any cleaning glass-cleaning products on the units as it can significantly damage the screen and cause discoloration.  A soft cloth is all that's needed.  Keep it simple.

3.    Removing Electronics – If possible, remove those electronics.  In some boats, this isn't an option but if it is, bring them inside for those winter months.  Safely storing your GPS in the home is significantly better than leaving it outside.  Although the units are tested to withstand extremely cold temperatures, being in a controlled climate and environment is ideal.  Also, it's a good idea to document the wiring so you feel confident about re-installing.  Our units are intuitive and use color-coding for installation, but it's never a bad idea to write it down, just in case.

If your GPS can't be removed, make sure to put the cover over the screen.  This sounds trivial but it really is important for preserving your device.  This greatly reduces any dust or temperature damage that can be incurred and is easy to do.  Using any type of soft, anti-abrasive and anti-static padding or insulation can also be used.  

These are just a few recommended tips for preparing your marine electronics for the long, winter hibernation.  Taking a few precautionary steps to ensure that your electronics are safe can allow you to start the 2014 marine season on the right foot.