Marine Electronics to Improve Style and Function

Owning a boat is truly living the dream. As a proud owner, she’s your pride and joy, your baby. Naturally, you want to hook her up with all the bells and whistles and we are not just talking about an eye catching flag flying from the mast. Nothing gets a boat captain’s heart beating faster than the lure of marine electronics. From practical safety features to purely stylistic enhancements designed to up the wow factor, the possibilities are endless as are the headaches if the electronics are improperly installed. Choosing the best marine electronics is the first step. Determining if you are equipped to handle the installation or if you should outsource to a professional is the crucial second step.

What’s Available and How to Choose?

When it comes to marine electronics, there is no shortage of options. Virtual distress signals, monitoring systems, joystick docking and more fall under the safety category. Navigational electronic aids are another common upgrade for boat owners that include sonar, radar, autopilot, MFD’s and chart plotters. Wi-Fi and VHF are key for clear communication. Electronics that enhance on-board entertainment are sought-after add-ons and their popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Speakers, subwoofers and even drones have all become highly desirable. Deciding which marine electronics to install depends on what is important to you. Some may add value while others just make for a good time. When choosing your electronic options, you also need to do proper research to ensure you are purchasing quality products.

DIY or Trust the Experts?

Knowing what marine electronics you want on your vessel is a starting point. The all-important follow up question is … do I attempt the installation myself or leave it to a professional?  Marine electronic DIY requires precision, patience, the ability to meticulously follow directions and some bravado (drilling into the fiberglass of your pride and joy is not for the faint of heart). If you are hesitant to go it alone, the on-site independent contractors at Pensacola Shipyard are available to take the reins on your project. They can help you avoid common installation fails.

Common Installation Errors

While there are a variety of things that can go wrong when you are installing marine electronics, there are a handful of issues that seem to pop up on a regular basis.


Many of your electronic devices require batteries. Installing them seems like a no-brainer, however, it is quite easy to place the battery upside down. If all the batteries are incorrectly placed, the polarity can be reversed. Even worse, they could explode. Leaking batteries can corrode and damage your electronic system. Inspecting them regularly, especially before long periods of dormancy is important.

Crossed Signals/Antennas:

Antennas on multiple electronic devices can experience interference. Antennas that are placed too close together are likely to have this issue. While this won’t damage them, it can make them dysfunctional. Mount the antennas as far apart as recommended and run any cable in opposite directions.

Failure to unplug:

Always unplug devices when making fixes/changes. Failure to do so can cause them to short out and possibly ruin the equipment.


Waterproof devices do not always live up to their name. Even if a small amount of water infiltrates your equipment, it can cause damage. Waterproofing is not a claim you should take at face value and the drier you keep your marine electronic equipment, the better. Failing to install a device properly can allow water to seep in. Additionally, if water intrusion has occurred, leave it off until it is completely dry, to ensure it doesn’t short.


A repeat offender (although easily avoided) is wiring too high of a voltage into your vessel’s electrical power. Simply reading the device’s power requirements can save you the heartache of possibly ruining your equipment.


Wires and cables and connectors … oh my. Marine electronics come with a variety of wires and accidentally cutting one is an easy mistake to make. Wrong connections can also cause varying degrees of damage, but left in the right hands, this situation is avoidable.

Don’t Neglect Your Marine Electronics

Some electronic devices are just for fun, but many provide important safety features and cannot afford the luxury of malfunctioning. Choosing and properly installing the best marine electronics for your boat can be overwhelming, however it is not something you have to figure out alone. Just as the latest GPS technology helps boat captains maneuver the seas, the industry experts at Pensacola Shipyard are on hand to help you navigate the world of marine electronics. Our independent contractors possess the knowledge to handle all your electrical needs safely and effectively so you don’t have to worry with mistakes or worse, injury. 

Call Pensacola Shipyard today and leave your marine electronics in capable hands.