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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Maintenance » Battery Maintenance on Canal Boats & Narrowboats


Maintenance of your batteries on your canal boat or narrowboat is essential to ensure they do not let you down, whilst ensuring you get maximum life from them.

Your batteries on board your canal boat are essential and they need looking after if they are to continue to be effective and not let you down! Replacing batteries is expensive so you want to ensure your current ones last as long as possible.  The more care you take with your batteries the longer its life will be. 

The reason why batteries reach a point when they can no longer hold as much electricity as they once did is due to sulphation. Lead acid batteries gradually change the chemicals inside them and can no longer hold as much electricity.

The longer a battery is left discharged the faster it will sulphate. This needs to be considered if you leave your canal boat moored up for long periods of time. 
  • Regularly inspect the battery for cleanliness, electrolyte levels and state of charge
  • Always wear protective clothing. Batteries contain acid and any spillages will damage clothes and burn your skin
  • Wipe battery top dry with a cloth or kitchen paper
  • Clean any white deposits from the terminals with warm water
  • Coat terminals with petroleum jelly
  • Unless the battery is a maintenance free type, occasionally top up the electrolyte with distilled water
  • Check the state of charge using a direct current voltmeter – 12.7 volts indicates a fully charged battery; 12.3 is 50% discharged and less than 11.7 volts the battery is fully discharged. 
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