Do I Need to Ground My Boat if I Have an Outboard Engine?


My 27’ Ericson is only equipped with an outboard motor.  I want to redo my 12 volt and eventually my 120 ac system but my question is, what grounds my boat?  I gather in a perfect world all the negatives from the loads attach at one point (negative bus) but does that need to connect to anything else other than the negative side of the battery?  I know I’m probably over thinking it but wanted to check first.  - Mike


Good question! With an outboard, your engine doesn’t stay in the water and isn’t a good path to ground. We are entering a gray area (i.e. no obvious solution), most boats with outboards don’t have an onboard ground, especially when hte outboard is out of the water. Heard of some boaters installing a grounding plate, but never seen this in person. If you do find an interesting solution to this problem, please share.