ADVANTAGES OF A PROFESSIONAL BOAT ELECTRICIAN: LESSONS LEARNT
When fitting out your boat, always get a professional electrician to wire it. When I started this obsession with staying out overnight, all my wiring had previously been done by me over many years, resulting in masses of wires, switches, cables and the like. As I have said before, boating is not always cheap, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing at the right price.
This is a continuation on my guide to boat fishing at night and the lessons I’ve learnt, mostly the hard way. A professional boat electrician can do so much for you, they are just so worth the investment, from basic safety that you shouldn’t (yes, me) be scrimping on to a whole host of extras that I somehow found the money for when I started to realise what was possible.
BASIC SAFETY WHEN YOU REALLY NEED IT
As you can imagine, this lesson was learnt the worst way possible; when getting caught out in a bad storm. Crashing waves dislodged some wiring including the GPS and our navigation lights. My mate had a headlight strapped to his forehead, and was either trying to trace the loose wires or hotwire our electronics, but spent most of his time getting his head bashed about by the swells and the rest of his time cursing me and everyone who owned boats.
It was a scary time because at night, in a storm, it is so easy to get spun around, disorientated and lost without a GPS map to follow. You wouldn’t think that it would take such a dangerous situation for me finally learn the lesson that we all should always get a professional boat electrician to do the wiring. What was I thinking before that, I don’t know.
EXTRAS LIKE SOUND, LIGHTING, USB CHARGING AND ELECTRIC COOKERS
Through one friend of another, I found an electrician who ended up being an absolute champion – a professional electronics and stereo repairman and installer, as well as being qualified for marine electronics too. I’m sure he is not the only out there because they take their work passionately.
You should have seen the steam coming out of his ears when I invited him to quote on repairing my boat wiring. In the end, he completely stripped and replaced every bit of wiring on the boat. When there is a professional electrician and marine electronics specialist around that knows what he is doing, you start getting all kinds of ideas…
I fitted the anchor winch, a 12’ LED spot light bar to the front bow rail, 2 sets of LED lights under the gunnels a string of LEDs along the roof of the bunk area, a small LED reading light in the bunk, 2 overhead LED lights under the canopy, new LED red and green navigation lights, and a dozen small LED lights to the top of an old VHS antenna that sits a half metre above the entire boat and is bright enough to be seen in a storm.
Additionally, we installed the dual battery system, all new switches and fuse panels, several USB charging outlets, several 12v stainless steel power points/cigarette lighter outlets, and a mushroom TV antenna for my new 12v 16” HDTV. Not to mention a portable 12v electric BBQ.
On top of all that, I have gradually upgraded my GPS fishfinder and all my fishing gear to top quality rods and reels. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a cheap exercise, but it is worth it, in the end, I can assure you.
RELAX AND ENJOY IT
Now, it is just too easy to check the weather, hook up the boat, get fuel and ice in with the bait, steaks, drinks and chips, and head out in the evening. Then, anchor up somewhere out of the breeze and enjoy the company of your mates who will be along any minute now and anchor beside you to throw a line out the back, cook a steak, crack open a bevvy, relax and laugh a while.
We can see that Rusty really went big with his setup when a professional was about. And it sounds fantastic. We’re looking forward to more lessons learnt when boat fishing at night. In the meantime, do you have anything to add? Please share through the comments section below.