Safety is the most important part of marine battery use. While using a marine battery, you must follow many precautions for safety, as well as to maintain the battery. However, the modern marine batteries come with many advanced and user-safe features.
All batteries contain various chemicals in them that can be dangerous if the marine battery is not used properly. Users should keep in mind that they are messing with something that has explosive gases, corrosive acid, and high electric power. The user must follow certain precautions and rules and keep in mind all the warnings that come in the battery manual. Here are some safety tips and guidelines that will help you use the marine battery safely.
Personal Safety Tips
Marine batteries emit various gases and even leak some liquids, which can be very dangerous. These gases and liquids can cause diseases or act as a slow poison. The most important thing is to maintain the personal safety precautions to keep yourself safe.
- While handling a marine battery, especially a flooded battery or a broken product, it is recommended to wear chemical splash goggles. This is because the chemicals might accidentally come in contact with your eyes, which can cause permanent damage and even blindness.
- The acids in a lead acid battery can also harm the skin. To prevent this, wear acid-resistant gloves while handling the battery.
- You should never come in direct contact with the terminals of the battery in order to prevent shocks.
- Always keep some clean and fresh water ready in case of emergency. Use this clean water to rinse the skin or eyes if accidents occur.
- An apron must be worn if there is any risk of acid spill. Also put on face shield, if necessary.
- In case the battery needs to be lifted, wear foot guards or steel-toe boots to protect your feet.
- Always wash hands before eating and drinking, preferably right after handling the battery.
- Follow the warnings on the labels strictly and read the manual carefully, to avoid mishandling the battery and prevent careless accidents.
- Keep battery away from the reach of children, as children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of the battery.
- The sulfuric acid in the lead-acid battery can totally destroy cotton materials, but it cannot affect cloth made from polyester. While dealing with any lead-acid marine battery, it is best to wear a polyester outfit.
- If there is any spilled acid, it can be neutralized using soda ash, lime, or baking soda.
- Don’t try to puncture or open the case of the battery, as it can be very dangerous.
- The marine battery must not be subjected to flame or fire. This can make the battery explode.
- Maintain all the charging tips carefully to prevent explosion due to overheating.
Servicing Safety Tips
Many lead-acid marine batteries require occasional servicing. There are certain precautions that should be maintained when servicing the battery yourself:
- Any jewelry, metal tools, or metallic substances should be kept away from the battery.
- Service only when the battery is not being used, and the engine or appliances are switched off.
- Carefully check if the battery has any defects, loose connections, leakage, or case cracks. If there is any worn out parts, they must be replaced as soon as possible.
- A cable puller should be used to pull off the clamp on the terminal. Corrosion on the terminal posts and on other necessary parts should be cleaned carefully.
- Do not place anything flammable near the battery. This could be extremely dangerous if the caps of the battery are open, if the battery is non-sealed.
- While checking the electrolyte level, a safe plastic or non-metal flashlight must be used.
- In case you need to tighten the terminal nuts, the proper sized wrench should be used. You must be careful not to twist the terminals too much as this can affect the function and battery life.
- While refilling the distilled water, fill carefully using an automatic indicator and don’t cross the mark. Do it slowly and make sure that the acid doesn’t splash out due to unnecessary force.
- If you need to lift and transport the battery, you should conduct some lifting practices as batteries can be very heavy. Incorrect lifting can cause back problems.
Storage Safety Tips
Most of the marine batteries are not used during off-season and the batteries will need to be stored for a long time. AGM or gelled marine batteries can be stored for a long time without much maintenance or recharge, due to the low self-discharge rate. Flooded batteries need more maintenance as these lose charge at a much higher rate. There are some safety guidelines that you must follow while storing any type of marine battery, in order to ensure the life of the battery:
- The battery must be disconnected in order to minimize the self-discharge rate.
- Store the marine battery in cool and dry place between 32° F and 80° F.
- Make sure that the storage area is well ventilated, as the gas emitted from batteries can be very harmful.
- The state of charge must be checked every 90 days, and the battery should be kept at least 75% charged.
First Aid Tips
Knowing some first aid tricks can be very helpful in case any accidents occurs due to the marine battery:
- If acid vapor is released due to overcharging or abuse of the marine battery, the exposed person must be moved to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, oxygen may be administered. If the person has stopped breathing, artificial respiration should be started immediately. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- If your skin accidentally comes into contact with the acid, it should be flushed with water and a mild soap. If irritation develops, seek medical attention immediately.
- If any acid from the broken battery case has entered the eyes, flush with water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical help as soon as possible.
- If a child has ingested any internal components of the battery by mistake (such as lead, lead compounds, or electrolytes), consult a physician immediately without inducing vomit.
By carefully following the various safety precautions, you can enjoy more trouble-free time on work and recreational trips. Many accidents and hazards can be prevented by maintaining the simple safety guidelines, and many lives can be saved.