Pre-Cruise Mini Check List

Maintenance check points are covered only briefly here


  • top surfaces clean and dry
  • acid (electrolyte) level up to plastic liner inside holes
  • fully charged specific gravity is 1.245 to 1.300 in each cell
  • In a partially discharged battery, specific gravity of each cell does not vary by more than 0.050 from the other cells
  • 'at rest' battery voltage is 12.1 to 12.8 Volts
  • engine cranks properly for 5 seconds with each battery alone -- battery voltage is above 9.5 Volts and steady, while cranking
  • cables are in good condition
  • connections clean and sealed from moisture

Wiring & Connections

  • contact surfaces of mechanical connections are cleaned and coated with moisture resisting sealant before being put together
  • no frayed or cracked insulation (check bilge and engine compartment)
  • battery switch connections clean and sealed
  • fuses have clean, tight, sealed contacts
  • every electrical system is documented in diagrams or schematics and these are in one location on board Alternator, Starter & Winch Motor
  • with engine running, batteries fully charged, and a 1 or 2 Amp load on system (a light turned on), voltage to batteries is 13.9 to 14.4 Volts -- voltage remains constant as more loads are turned on, up to the rated output of the alternator
  • external connections clean, sealed from moisture, and positive terminals are covered
  • alternator drive belt(s) tight and in good shape
  • starter solenoid plunger clean and lubricated
  • starter and winch motors get 9.0 Volts or more while operating


  • 120 Volt AC outlet faces clean and terminals coated with a moisture resistant sealant such as petroleum jelly
  • underwater stainless steel fittings and fasteners not pitted
  • if engine or its cooling system uses internal zinc protection, zincs are not corroded away
  • corrosion protection zincs bright, unpainted and not corroded away
  • in corrosion protection system, appropriate protection current is flowing (10 to 25 mA, or more, per square foot of bare metal to be protected, depending on many factors)
  • compasses not affected by operation of any of ship's equipment -- check on two perpendicular headings (e.g., N and W)
  • LORAN, autopilot, VHF, RADAR, etc. continue to operate properly when other electrical systems are turned on -- Do not perform this test with engine starting circuit or winch motor!
  • depth sounder transducer is free of marine growth and has thin or no paint layer on bottom surface
  • if propane or gasoline are used on board, appropriate sensing devices are installed to warn of leaks
  • autopilot, VHF, RADAR, SSB and other critical, high-power devices have input voltage different from battery voltage by less than 0.5 Volts while operating