Obviously those of you in Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Arizona and California aren’t terribly worried about having to winterize your personal watercraft for several months out of the year; but to our friends in colder climates, the process of shutting down your PWC for a long hibernation is pretty heartwrenching. Part of that process of course, is tending to your watercraft’s battery – and there’s some pretty easy tips for keeping your battery both well-charged as well as preserving its longevity.
Keep It Dry Most all new PWC come with a AGM-style battery. An AGM or Absorbent Glass Mat battery is still a lead acid-type battery, but doesn’t require refilling with water (ie. “sealed”). And while it is a sealed battery, it is still susceptible to corrosion and other damage from moisture. First, make sure that the battery itself is clean. That you don’t see any mold or moisture beading on the sides or pooling beneath it. Next, check the battery terminals themselves for corrosion. Scrape with a wire brush and coat in dielectric grease.
Keep It Cool Batteries are very sensitive to temperature. Never allow your battery in temperatures below freezing (32ºF) or above 120º F. Freezing temperatures can not only sap the charge from your battery but injure its ability to hold a complete charge in the future. Electric battery heaters are available for purchase if you have to keep your PWC outdoors. For those with the room in their heated home garage, either bring your ski indoors or at least the battery itself.
Keep It Charged The most important tip is to keep it charged. Letting your battery drain dead injures the cell’s ability to accept, hold and deliver a charge – rendering it useless. If you’re keeping your PWC in a heated garage, some choose to forego winterization and simply fire the up the engine and let it idle for 30-45 seconds every 2-3 weeks. This allows the engine to heat cycle a little as well as supply the battery a bit of a recharge. If the ski is winterized, an automatic trickle charger will supply the battery with a charge without overloading it.
You’ll find greater detail on these tips and several more in the video below, beginning at the 9:10 mark: