Taking care of your batteries is worth every minute you spend on them. After all, an upset battery can ruin a great day very quickly. There are a few things that should be considered when you are maintaining and caring for your batteries. These are the main questions I ask when looking after batteries.
Are they secured? As I'm sure we are all aware, batteries are heavy and can be quite large. Making sure they are properly secured is a must. If a battery was to become mobile, it could not only make contact with a metal/conductive object and short out, causing it to possibly explode, but it could hit against other equipment and damage it. Guards around the base and a strap over the top will help prevent this from happening.
Are the connections tight? Making sure all connections on the battery terminals are tight helps reduce voltage drop which is a big problem with all DC circuits if not properly taken care of.
Are the tops of them free from fluids, dust, etc.? Engine rooms are often dirty places and as most batteries are in this area they too can become dirty. Grime can build up over time or form from water left on top of the battery from refilling the cells. Electricity has a funny way of getting to where it wants to go and it can travel through the grime. This won't cause a dead short but it can slowly drain life out of your battery over time if not cleaned properly.
Is there enough water in them? The final inspection that people know of but seldom perform, is checking water levels whether you're using the boat or not. Even when getting a trickle charge (float charge) the battery will lose water. There is a constant chemical reaction going on inside the battery to stay at the right voltage and a result of this is the loss of water in the cells. Heat and large load draws play a role as well, but even when the boat is tucked away and shut down, the water levels in your batteries still need to be checked regularly. So the next time you have a chance, spend some time checking in on the items that make your days on the water possible.