rewire boat

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by jeffw51, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. jeffw51

    jeffw51 New Member

    I am going to rewire all acc,guages,livewell ,lights,depthfinder,bilge,etc what guage wire should i use, can i use same guage for all acc?
  2. Dredge

    Dredge Member

    I'm glad you brought this subject up.I'm in the same boat,so to speak.When I bought my rig,the only wires the place connected were the engine and power trim.Theother wires were a mess in the battery compartment.I have no idea where to start.Hopefully,the B.O.C. brotherhood can help us out.They always do.Again,thanks for this post.

  3. txthumper1691

    txthumper1691 New Member

    Temple, Tx.
    I recently acquired an old bass rig that needed th same thing. bilge pump, fish finder you can run 18 guage, trollin motor go heavier, like 10 guage, lights, livewell you can get by w/14 guage. also dont forget to use th proper fuses. no less than 60 amp for trollin motor, 3 amp for depth finder, 20-30 for th light 15 for th livewell. Most of your wiring you can get by with 14-18 guage wire. hope this helps.
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Hmmmm, I don't know if this was a double post or not. Seems as though I saw the identical thread yesterday answered by some very knowledgeable individuals. In a nut shell, what they stated was there is wire and then there is wire for a marine application. And, of course, the marine application costs more. LOL. If your going to be using the vessel in salt water, it's best to get the marine wire. If freshwater, regular wire from an auto parts store, or a place like Walmarts or bulk wire from Home Depot/Lowe's or similar stores. Ac is different from DC, so you may need a heavier wire to carry the current without loss. When I rewired my boats, i used 14 gauge as the smallest, and ran 10 gauge for a cigarette lighter. Won't say that's right, but its what I did. I also got some plastic wire looms from an auto parts store and enclosed the wires in that. They are still a mess, but it is now an out-of-sight mess. Also, there are standards as to what colored wire is to be used for various implements, ie; the amp meter, Tilt and Trim, Bilge pump... maybe a search on the web is in order. I also purchased a fuse panel from Bass Pro. They have them from around $20.00 to $50.00, depending upon your tase. The main thing is your connections need to be close to perfect, or as close as you can get them. That's where corrosion and moisture will get into the plastic covering. Other than that, have fun.
  5. charliealley

    charliealley New Member

    I have never heard there was different types wire for marine apps. but there are different methods. as mentioned before different accesories need different gauge wire and the longer the run the heavier wire is needed, and put fuses on everything. I'm not one for just an accesory fuse. one for lights, one for bilge pump, live well pumps, ect. I also agree that all terminals should be soldered because of corrosion. It may cost a little more but you will find that color coding your wiring will save many headaches later on. Wiring is one area that you do not want to cut corners. Look at this forum at all the wiring problems. not to mention risk of fires on the water. It seems I have been saying this a lot lately on different forums but there is not much worse than sitting in the middle of the lake trying to trace an electrical problem. Just my two cents. Charlie
  6. catfish_hunter01

    catfish_hunter01 New Member

    regular wire you put in conduit is called thhn, you can get it stranded and the insulation is gasoline and oil resistant.
  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Four Oaks, NC
    The answers can cover a broad range with this question.
    The best way is using tinned copper wire. Expensive, yes.
    It doesn't matter if it's used in saltwater or freshwater, the result is still the same. Water or moisture winds up getting between the insulation and the conductor. That's why tinned wire is used.
    As far as color code, there is a standard already defined by the ABYC. American Boat and Yacht Council. So you can go to any boat and for instance, the horn wire will be the same color. The fuel sending unit wires will be same color.

    As far as size wire you need to google a DC voltage drop table. That will define in feet of run what size wire you need.
    AC and DC wiring are vastly different when it comes to wire size and voltage drop. In other words, being a master AC electrician does not automatically make you even a half assed DC electrician. It's two different animals. Alternating current VS. direct current.

    Then you get into the insulation qualities. Not only is marine tinned but the wire insulation has a fire retardant in it. The absolute last thing you want is a fire below deck. A place you can't likely get to to put out. Fuel lines are also usually below deck. THHN wire insulation burns real good. It's wire made to be installed in conduit from point A to B.

    Same thing with fuel lines. Don't buy fuel line, fuel feed, or fuel tank vent line for a boat at Autozone. Marine application fuel lines also have fire retardant built into them. It's what makes them more costly.

    If you want a trouble free system wire wise, spend the extra money on the correct wire for the application then your only weak link is your connections and switches which can usually be fixed or bypassed while on the water long enough to get you back home.

    There are other safer ways to skimp on a dollar in my opinion. Wiring and fuel systems are not one of them. There is already enough boat fires every year on the water from faulty installs.

    What I do when I rewire a boat...Reuse the factory wire. Wherever I'm short or need more for something I'm adding I buy new. You can get rid of that bird nest the dealership riggers created without buying all new wire.
    If you bought it used you'll want to verify that the wiring is a tinned marine wire. If a previous owner has added something investigate the wire. If it's not marine wire, rip it out.

    House wiring and boat wiring are different.
    Car wiring and boat wiring are different
    Car fuel lines and boat fuel lines are different.
    A 350 Chevy car engine is not the same as a 350 Chevy marine engine.
    A lot of these differences boil down one thing. FIRE safety.

    My honest unpolitically correct opinion. If you value the friends and family that may enjoy your boat along with it right or have a professional do it for you. It's just not worth 100, 200, or even a 1000 bucks in savings. That dinky fire extinguisher found in most boats is just enough to to maybe buy a little time to get everyone overboard. It's not going to put out much of a fire. Especially one you can't get to.

    Look at it like this, a boat is like a plane in that you just can't get out of it and run for your life. the water may be just above freezing and an airplane....well it's obvious. So what would you do if you were rewiring the family plane? Spend the money to do it right or go down the street to the nearest Lowes to find something that could work?