How to Add 12-Volt Outlets to the Boat

Optimize your fishing accessories.
12-volt addition to boat
Integrated Power: Well-designed built-in 12V outlets offer ­trouble-free downrigger deployment. Cannon

How many times have you tried to plug in a gadget at the house but couldn’t find a convenient electrical outlet? If you are like me, plenty. That same dilemma applies to our boats, especially with the growing number of fishing accessories that require 12-volt power. The simple solution? Add some more.

Most of the 12-volt electric outlets are installed in the stern of the boat, near the transom. Start the process by measuring the distance from the batteries, then doubles that figure to come up with required wire lengths for both positive and negative leads. Before selecting the gauge of the wire, check the product specifications of the accessory to determine the amperage. Deep-drop rigs, for example, draw more amps because they must have the strength to pull heavy swordfish weights off the bottom. Kite reels draw less. The wire gauge needs to be heavy enough to handle the load.

12-Volt Installation Tips

12-volt installation
Multiple outlets installed under the covering boards should all be wired independently through their own circuit breaker to the battery-management system. Breaker and wiring specifications will vary with equipment. Check electrical demands of the equipment you plan to use, and select components according to those specifications. Tim Barker
Downriggers draw up to 30 amps File Photo
deep-draw reels
Deep-drop reels draw 30 amps plus. File Photo
kite reels
Kite reels typical draw 15 to 22 amps. File Photo