Florida trip Feb 2015

Some of the impressive new gear at the Miami International Boat Show

The Merritt Boat Yard covered on water pens - incredible!

The latest Merritt just launched - 80 feet of perfection!

Visiting the Interntional Game Fishing Association Museum and Hall of Fame

Our fishing machine out the front of our Habour Island home.

Yellowfin caught live baiting off Harbour Island, Bahamas

Our lovely Harbour Island house - only a 30 minute run to the fishing grounds

View from our Harbour Island home. The home is owned by one of Bo's Merritt owners - he stays there when they are fishing this area!

Swordfishing the Gulf Stream between Florida and the Bahamas - incredible fishery!

This is the way to catch em - 'commercial style' all the way!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the Miami International Boat Show in Florida with my wife, and it also coincided with my 50th birthday – perfect! This is the second time I have been to this show and it never ceases to impress with its massive halls and incredible ‘on water’ display, featuring all the latest releases from the best boat and accessory manufacturers in the world. Give me a call if you’d like to learn more!

Having my younger half brother Bo and his lovely wife Lisa living in Boca Raton with their little boys also offered many advantages! Many of you already know Bo is a high profile sportfishing identity in the States, but between trips with Marlin University and guiding he also maintains some pretty special Merritt sportfishing boats. This gave me access to some of the best boat yard facilities in Florida, not normally available to the public – I was in heaven! Got to talk shop with many of the businesses like Professional Boat Care.  If there is one thing the yanks do well, it’s build and maintain magnificent sportfishing machines!

In addition to all the ‘work’ side of the trip, we also managed to fit in 5 days on Harbour Island in the Bahamas – I highly recommend this place! Bo, his brother-in-law John and I took the family’s 37 foot Invincible centre console ‘Off The Wall’ across the Gulf Stream to Harbour Island so we could do some fishing while the girls flew across. This boat is big, fast and first class, powered by 3 x 300hp Mercs with a wide open speed of 58 knots – fastest I’ve ever been!! This was an epic run in itself - the distance is almost as far as Brisbane to 1770 and we averaged 38 knots. It was cold and rough but fantastic, and when those Mercs got air, the sound was just too good!

The fishing was incredible also - apart from some great Yellowfin caught live baiting with kites, the highlight, and a first for me, was the Swordfishing – electric reels and harpoons, does it get any better!! Again, if you want to hear about the methods used give me a call.

Click on pics to enlarge. Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cairns delivery & bonus marlin!

Owner Jim displaying his Tag flag after releasing his 400lb black marlin

Catching bait off Townsville on our way to Cairns

Jim fighting his 400lb Black Marlin

Jim's beautiful estimated 400lb black marlin hooked neatly in the lower jaw and about to be released in excellent condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Cairns is recognized as the best giant black marlin fishery in the world and that is why any serious fisherman has this venue at the top of their wish list! Long time Professional Boat Care customer Jim and his boat Tsukiji (named after the Tokyo fish markets) have made their second annual pilgrimage and I’m lucky enough to be guiding for these trips! I joined Jim in the Whitsundays last weekend and we moved the boat to Cairns and managed to squeeze in a quick shakedown fish before flying home.

Within a few hours trolling the famous Linden Bank area on the southern end of the fishery we managed to catch and release an estimated 400lb fish – made all the more exciting given there was just the two of us onboard – some serious multi-tasking!

We plan to head back up there as soon as this southerly eases a little so I’ll be sure to send another report at the end of the season. However, if you’d like to follow the marlin season reports you could check out www.blackmarlinblog.com which gives daily updates from most boats fishing up there. Also ’like’ Professional Boat Care on Facebook as this is my preferred way to send reports. I also post interesting boat jobs we do almost on a daily basis and other marine related news. You can see samples of this on my website now. All the top boats also post daily reports on their Facebook pages which is by far the easiest way these days to follow news – it comes to you instead of having to go looking!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LIBERTY is for sale!

Big, fast and first class!!

Maintained with an open cheque book by Professional Boat Care Pty Ltd, this incredible Hatteras 54 presents as new. Considered one of Australia’s best sportfishing boats, she is powered by twin C18′s CATS at 1135hp each – top speed an impressive 34 knots!! She’s a 2013 model with only 670 hours and still under warranty. 3 stateroom/2 bathroom layout, 130lb Release game chair, Ultra anchor, FLIR night vision, GPS compass, you name it, all fittings and electronics are top shelf! This is a rare opportunity to purchase a professionally maintained, Australian delivered (240v/50hz) renowned Hatteras in show room condition for a significant saving – listed at $1.9m.

She is ready to fish this seasons giant black marlin season!!

Call me for more details and broker contacts – 0409930888

 

 

 

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Customer’s new 36 Grady White is a fish raiser!

Peter Jenyns skippering customer's new Grady White 36

Professional Boat Care customer’s new Grady White 36 is a real head turner. With 700hp (twin Yamaha 350′s) on the transom she happily cruises at 30 knots all day! She is also proving to be a fish raiser with her first trip to Lady Musgrave recently producing plenty of fish. She also produced some quality fish last Monday out on Shallow Tempest where we experienced a hectic bite early morning of Jew and Yellowtail Kingfish. Unfortunately the sharks were also taking advantage of the situation, forcing us to abandon these grounds and head wider where managed to put some Pearlies and Squire in the box. Near drop out conditions and a sexy boat like this makes for a great day! Check out the photos below from both trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hamilton Is to Brisbane delivery with fish!

 

 

Brodes with a PB Mahi Mahi caught east of Lady Elliot Is.

 

A couple of lovely eating size Spanish Mackerel.

Slipping into the entrance to Fitzroy Lagoon on dusk. It’s narrow and best navigated with full day light to spot the coral bombies.

Jim’s Black marlin caught off Breaksea Spit.

It was time to bring Professional Boat Care customer Jim’s ‘Tsukiji’ home after her Cairns marlin fishing expedition late last year. I flew into Hamilton Is to meet Jim who was already onboard for an immediate departure for Middle Percy Is for our first night. ‘Tsukiji’ had already weathered the first cyclone of the year in Able Point Marina at Airlie Beach and neither of us wanted to risk another. We had picked a perfect weather window for the 4 day passage, and we were all keen to do some heavy tackle marlin fishing along the Continental Shelf on the way south.

Day 2 saw us slip into Roslyn Bay Marina late morning to refuel and pick up a mutual old friend ’Brodes’ who was ‘chomping at the bit’ to pull on a few fish. We left the marina around 1pm giving us about an hour spare for a quick troll on a secret spot I have in the Bunker Group from my old commercial mackerel fishing mate Peter Stevens. I kid you not, the lures were in the water only a couple of minutes and we had a double hook up on Spaniards! With fish meals now taken care of for the trip, we got our lines in and steamed for Fitzroy lagoon, our anchorage for the evening.

Day 3 saw us leave at first light to fish our Red Emperor marks east of Lady Musgrave but they didn’t produce this time and being a delivery we needed to keep the miles south ticking over. However, east of Lady Elliot Is I had to pull the throttles back and get the heavy tackle lures in the water. Sometimes all the indicators of fish show at once  – we had inky blue warm water, birds, dolphins and bait on the sounder! Within 30 minutes we had a couple of nice by-catch fish onboard – a Wahoo and a big Mahi Mahi, so things were looking good! However as is the way of deliveries we had to keep steaming south and soon left this lovely patch of water for cooler, dirtier water and everything seemed to shut down. I wasted little time trolling this stuff and we decided to get the gear in and run to Breaksea Spit off the top of Fraser Island. This area is so remote and un-fished, it rarely disappoints. As was the case this time when I found good clean water again, bait and birds. We raised two small black marlin and released one on light tackle. From here we ran to the magnificent Rooney Point on the NW tip of Fraser Is for the evening. Rooney Point is an amazing place where small marlin are regularly caught within metres of the beach, and massive sharks, humpbacks and anything else big lurks! – Not a great place to swim!

Day 4 saw us run pre-dawn down to Urangan Marina in Hervey Bay to refuel. We then steamed down the Great Sandy Straits  and out over the Wide Bay Bar on the top of the tide. On our way east to fish the Noosa Canyons we stumbled across some big Yellowfin Tuna feeding on the surface, but no joy hooking one. Sadly, the further wide we ran the greener and cooler the water turned as we were obviously entering a big back eddy in the currents. This basically cancelled our plans and high hopes for these grounds so we decided to run south and try our luck off Cape Moreton’s blue marlin grounds before running into Moreton Bay and back home. The only fish we raised this day was a 250lb Whaler shark which ate a lure!

Who said delivery trips can be boring!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Raft Up!!

Christmas Raft Up – Myora

With all the Christmas parties this time of year, finding time to use the boat can be challenging. However, when word spread that a few of us might be able to squeeze in a midweek Christmas Raft Up, our flotilla quickly grew from a couple of boats to 7 – and I’m sure all who attended would agree, it was the party of the festive season!

I’d like to thank all our Professional Boat Care customers for another great year!

Merry Christmas, lots of boating and a happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nordhavn 57 polished by Professional Boat Care

The sensational 57 Nordhavn 'Senjero' gets the full treatment by Professional Boat Care.

 

 

I try not to have favorites, but this boat is certainly one of them! Professional Boat Care has looked after ‘Senjero’ for almost 4 years now and we pride ourselves on her presentation. She also features in the Creek to Coast episode on Professional Boat Care you can watch on our website www.professionalboatcare.com.au . The Nordhavn range are a production recreational trawler style boat built in Asia for Pacific Asian Enterprises based in Dana Point, California. They are specifically designed for long range passage-making and with their single engine and ‘get home’ wing motor they have the range to cross oceans – not to mention there fantastic sea-keeping ability! Professional Boat Care has just completed the hull polish out of the water and are currently polishing the superstructure.

More shots below – click to enlarge.

Senjero getting her hull polished by Professional Boat Care.

Reflections from her beautifully polished hull offset by her intriguing bulbous bow.

Senjero's main prop with her folding wing motor prop alongside.

 

 

 

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Cairns Marlin Fishing Report – Nov 2013

Sadly this estimated 600lb marlin was eaten near the boat by a pack of at least eight 600lb+ whalers. It was all over in a matter of 15 seconds. This is thankfully a pretty rare thing to happen and almost all the fish caught these days are released in good condition.

We returned to fish heavy tackle out of Cairns last week and although it was very quiet we did manage to hook up and fight an estimated 600lb black marlin which sadly got eaten by sharks. We counted some 20 boats  most days, all fishing the Opal Ridge and the Linden Bank area and from all reports only half a dozen marlin were caught and released during our 3 days. Being one of these boats zig-zagging along the continental shelf drop-off, towing two big baits is such a buzz. Knowing that at any minute you could easily encounter that 1000lb+ fish of a lifetime is what makes this fishery world class. Although we missed the hot bite two weeks ago, this season has been considered probably the best ‘big fish’ bite since the 1980′s which is exciting to see the Cairns fishery in such good condition! However, as I have said before, its not all about the marlin – even the bait fishing is fun, and then you squeeze in a quick spear before heading out and you have the ultimate day!  Click on the shots below to enlarge.

This one was a little too big for bait so we were forced to eat Mackerel everyday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the hottest crews around at the moment. Captain Ross Finlayson and our old deckie Andy Dow have just won the prestigous Lizard Island Tournament two years straight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom fishing off Cairns can't be compared to anything down this way. Quality fish are on-tap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick spear before heading out to the marlin grounds is a must!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching the bait occupies the mornings and is great fun. We even hooked a baby black marlin this morning. These mackerel and tuna are head rigged with a single hook and skipped along behind the boat. Big baits for big fish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always fun to catch but when you are looking for marlin bait they are time wasters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opal Reef was a parking lot every night with so much fishing being concentrated down the southern end of the reef as the season tails off. A great gathering of like-minded people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cairns delivery & fishing report Sept 2013!

A happy Peter Jenyns and customer in Cairns after a great few days of weather and fishing!

Just like the whales, this time of year sees another migration of sorts occur, owners moving their boats north for a reef holiday, and a few of my good customers asked me to join them! The most recent trip was moving the 35 Caribbean Tsukiji to Cairns for the heavy tackle marlin fishing season.  The weather was unbelievable with ‘glass out’ conditions just about all the way, and we managed some fishing also! It is still a little early in the season for the black marlin, so standby for some more reports over the next couple of months when we return to Cairns. Click on the photos below to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

With glass out conditions off the famous light tackle marlin grounds of Cape Bowling Green, we couldn't resist a quick look around. Within minutes of arriving in the area I spotted birds and bait and we were hooked up. We got two small black marlin then pushed on to Townsville for the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass out conditions, marlin on and not another boat in sight - perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before Cairns we fished some shoals I know looking to add some marlin bait to the freezers but had some fun of Trevally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving into Cairns we were impressed with the visiting superyacht VaVa. Google her - she is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the owners son and a mutual mate joining us on the deck we headed out for a few days spearing, fishing and heavy tackle marlin fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Coral Trout I got on the spear on the outer reef.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Mackerel were on tap. What we couldn't eat got rigged as our large marlin baits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of shark fishing in the evenings is always entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ate fish every meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tongue Reef provided some lovely snorkeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wahoo are a welcome by-catch when looking for a big marlin.

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Battery choice and maintenance

Quality battery boxes with easy access for maintenance and safe storage

In this article I will touch on battery choice and some of the basics to maintaining them.

There are basically two tasks for boat batteries (your DC system) -starting your engines and running your electrical components such as lighting, refrigeration, bilge pumps etc. Most boats would ideally have two separate battery banks for these two different tasks. Your engine starting battery bank must deliver high bursts of power to start your engine, while your ‘house’ battery bank is required to provide a smaller amount of power, delivered over a longer period between charging.

Battery types and applications

As mentioned, batteries on your boat handle two very different tasks, starting an engine and running your ‘house’ needs.

Starting batteries crank your boat’s engine. They are measured in CCA’s or Cold Cranking Amps and are recharged quickly by your engine’s alternator. They are constructed with alternating layers of negative and positive plates with insulation between them. Starting batteries have thinner and more numerous plates, providing extra surface area to generate high amp bursts of current. The two drawbacks of this construction are that the plates are relatively fragile in high-impact environments, and that starting batteries do not tolerate deep discharges, which reduce their operating lifespan.

Deep cycle batteries for your boat’s ‘house’ needs deliver a lower amount of amps but can maintain this for a sustained period of time. Compared to starting batteries, deep cycle batteries recover fully after being heavily discharged over longer periods because their design features thicker plates with a high content of antimony. Overnight, their use might deplete 50% (maximum 50% for flooded and 40% for AGM) of the battery capacity, depending on the house loads of the boat. When the batteries are recharged, energy is re-deposited into the bank, and the process, or cycle, starts over again. As a general rule, deep cycle batteries should be sized to store three to four times the expected amount of energy to be used between recharge cycles. However, it should be noted that while you are out at sea, you will not recover your batteries to 100%. This can take a long time on a low current for standard technology batteries (Flooded, AGM & Gel). Somewhere between 75 and 80% is not unreasonable for a quick top up. This means the actual capacity that is usable day after day while at sea is a lot less than the number on the specifications sticker!

There are dual purpose batteries on the market and some of the boats we look after have these installed, but generally these are more suited to smaller boats where you might have limited storage or weight restrictions for two different battery banks.

Battery Types

Marine batteries are available in four chemical types: flooded, gel, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) and lithium phosphate. Which type you choose is based on your needs (deep cycle vs. starting), the capacity and lifespan you are looking for and of course your budget.

Flooded batteries
are the most widely used due to their price point. Flooded or lead –acid batteries require maintenance — regular inspection and topping up with distilled water. They handle overcharging better than gel and AGM batteries, because of their hydrogen venting and because they are not sealed like the other types. They self-discharge at a higher rate of 6 to 7 % per month. Wet cells must be installed in an upright position and don’t tolerate high amounts of vibration. Their initial cost is lower than similarly sized AGM or gel batteries, and significantly lower than the new type of lithium batteries. Properly charged and maintained, wet cell deep-cycle batteries are a good choice when being mindful of budget. We provide our customers with battery inspections and top ups as part of our routine maintenance programs however we can install watering systems for customers who like to handle this task.

Gel Batteries
Sealed, valve-regulated (SVR) gelled-electrolyte batteries offer advantages over regular flooded batteries. They self-discharge at only 3 % per month, handle the highest number of lifetime charging cycles, and are maintenance free, spill proof and leak proof.  A pressure release valve keeps their internal pressure at a slightly positive level, but they can release excess pressure if needed. The SVR design nearly eliminates gassing, so they are safer to install around people and sensitive electronics (but gel and AGM batteries still need to be vented). Gel batteries, because they’re sealed, are manufactured to very high quality standards. They need carefully regulated smart charging to prevent damage.

AGM Batteries
Sealed, valve-regulated AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries feature fine, highly porous microfibre glass separators compressed tightly between the battery’s positive and negative plates, which are saturated with just enough acid electrolyte to activate the battery. During charging, precision pressure valves allow oxygen produced on the positive plate to migrate to the negative plate and recombine with the hydrogen, producing water. In addition to providing equal saturation across the entire surface of the battery’s positive and negative plates, the fibres in the dense glass mats embed themselves into the plates’ surface like reinforcing rods in concrete, providing more plate support and better shock and vibration protection than in conventional batteries.

High-density AGM batteries have lower internal resistance, allowing greater starting power and charge acceptance, up to 45 % of the battery’s total capacity, and quicker
recharging than other types of deep cycle batteries and they only discharge a low 3 %. However we have experienced some issues with AGM batteries. They can fail if regularly pulled down below 70% capacity, if their float voltage is not correct, and they say to equalise charge at 15.6v every 12 months. Of course, there is no warranty if these conditions aren’t met.

Lithium Phosphate batteries -One of the emerging “super battery” technologies, lithium batteries have a high energy density and are excellent for deep cycle applications. Compared to flooded batteries, lithium batteries handle very large amounts of current, so they can be recharged faster than any other type. They are 100% efficient so all the power put back into the battery can be reused. The only real downside to these batteries is the high cost.

Battery charging and monitoring

I occasionally get calls from customers to investigate why their batteries appear to have died after only one or two years of service. In most cases it’s either because they have the incorrect sized battery for the task and they are running them down too flat, or they haven’t been charging them properly or maintaining the fluid levels. With the right sized batteries properly charged and maintained, four to five years is the expectant life in most cases.

When you walk around the marina, most boats are using shore supply. In my opinion this is a must, as having a good quality battery charger is crucial for healthy long lasting batteries. There are a wide range of chargers on the market and certainly the technological advances in recent years have seen ‘smart’ chargers become the standard. Some of the better models have remote monitor screens that can be mounted on the dash for easy viewing. Being able to see at a glance the state of your batteries and if your charger is in ‘bulk’ (charging) mode or ‘float’ (maintenance) mode is very helpful. For example, if you haven’t been onboard for a week or two and the monitor is still in ‘bulk’ mode then this indicates an issue.

Also, you wouldn’t go to sea without knowing how much fuel you have in your tanks, so likewise with your battery banks. Why risk losing lights, refrigeration and possibly starting. The battery meter is a simple device that connects to a shunt (brass bar) in line with your house battery cable and lets you see volts, amps, amp/hours and percentage at a glance. This will enable you to stop the batteries from being over discharged and damaged, saving you money in the long run.

Loss of shore supply alarms

Loss of shore supply is something that needs to be checked on a regular basis. Every now and then a plug might accidently be bumped and pulled from its socket, or the breaker switch might trip during a storm, or something going wrong on-board can also cause it to trip. For whatever reason, if it isn’t checked regularly you may end up running your batteries too flat and destroying them. Also, many owners who use their boats regularly are tending to keep refrigeration running with basic provisions. If the refrigeration is direct to the 240v source then you simply end up with a stinking fridge. However, many fridges run direct from the batteries or through an inverter if they are 240V. In this situation, not only do you get the stinking fridge, but you also run the risk of destroying your house battery bank by running them flat.

This situation can easily be avoided by installing a simple and relatively inexpensive alarm system. The unit we have installed on a few customers’ boats simply plugs into a 240v outlet and if power fails for whatever reason, it sends an SMS alert to your mobile phone. They also have the ability to send a picture when they detect movement. These units in most cases cost less than a single battery with the only downside being the minimal monthly mobile plan for the SIM card – there are minimal cost plans these days.

Battery tips for best performance

  • When choosing new batteries, we always recommend
    customers meet our qualified electrician onboard to inspect and load test your
    batteries, discuss the way you use your boat to help gauge battery size and then
    professionally install them. Understanding the best position for batteries, resistance through cables being too long is all crucial.
  • Stay with one battery chemistry, (flooded, gel or AGM) each battery type requires specific charging voltages. Mixing battery types can result in under or over-charging. This may mean replacing all batteries onboard at the same time.
  • Never mix old batteries with new ones in the same bank. While it seems like this would increase your overall capacity, old batteries tend to pull down the new ones to their deteriorated level.
  • Regulate charge voltages based on battery temperature and acceptance (manually or with sensing) to maximize battery life and reduce charge time. Ensure that your charging system is capable of delivering sufficient amps to charge battery banks efficiently.
  • Keep batteries clean, cool and dry.
  • Always have new batteries marked with date of installation for ease of identifying age
  • Check terminal connectors regularly to avoid loss of conductivity.
  • Add distilled water to flooded lead acid batteries when needed. How often depends on many variables but certainly after installing a new bank I’d be checking weekly until you work out how often they need topping up. For some boats it might be monthly or others 6 monthly. Keep them charged. Leaving them in a discharged state for any length of time will damage them and lower their capacity.
  • Clean corrosion off terminals and keep protected with dedicated anti-corrosion lubricant.
  • Don’t let your shore supply cable hang in the water – this can cause the circuit breaker to trip.
  • Shore supply cable wound up tightly can cause heat, and in some cases a magnet to form causing resistance and greater amperage which may trip the circuit breaker. If your cable is long then figure 8 the cable, or big loose coils, or better still have the electrician make you one to the correct length to fit your berth, and then have, a second longer cable carried onboard for when you are away. Don’t use a 30m cable, when 10m will work.
  • Always use a quality heavy duty shore supply cable. Buy the best you can and not those cheap ones designed for home use.
  • If our customers are planning an extended cruise then we always have their batteries load tested. Having them fail sitting in a coral lagoon somewhere can be a serious inconvenience to say the least, and sourcing new batteries in a small port and installation can take days out of your cruise.

Scoll down for more photos and click on image to enlarge.

An example of an overcharged battery

An example of good battery chargers - important for the ongoing maintenance of your battery banks

An example of a remote sensor that can SMS your mobile as soon as 240V shore supply is lost. They can also detect movement and send pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are fluid top up systems on the market

Monitors mounted on your dash are a great idea.

Having a quality shore supply lead suitable for your boats needs is crucial

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