Marine electronics are a great investment and will add value to your Crestliner boat, but given their cost and critical nature, you’ll need to learn to care for them properly and make the process part of your regular boat maintenance routine. It’s best to be vigilant about boat electronics maintenance after each trip and especially when heading for a long layup like the offseason.
Use this checklist to help you ensure the longevity of your chartplotter, fishfinder and engine displays, most of which may be consolidated into a single MFD (multifunction display).
Cleaning boat electronics
Boat electronics get messy with sunscreen, sweat, salt crust and even fish blood, so cleaning them after use is essential.
- Power the unit down.
- Rinse with fresh water to remove salt that can scratch the delicate screen.
- Don’t use pressured water even on waterproof electronics.
- Use a manufacturer’s specified cleaner or mild soap and water. For tough dirt, dilute vinegar with water (at least 50/50) for a wipe down.
- Never use cleaners with ammonia like Windex because that can damage delicate screens and turn them yellow.
- Dry the unit with a soft cloth or microfiber towel. Paper towels are surprisingly abrasive and can scratch the glass or leave streaks.
- Be sure to clean thoroughly around any contours and buttons to catch all dust and particles.
- Don’t rub hard or apply pressure to the screens.
- Cover clean electronics when not in use to protect them from UV damage and dust. Don’t forget to periodically clean the covers before you put them on.
Long-term storage and winterization of boat electronics
Protect your electronics investment during boat winterization with these simple care steps.
- Store electronics clean and covered.
- Clean transducers while the boat is on a trailer.
- If possible, remove your Crestliner’s electronics to protect them from extreme temperatures or theft. This is easier if the displays are bracket- rather than flush-mounted.
- Check cables and wires for chafe, corrosion or rodent damage.
- If you can’t remove the electronics, place a bag of rice near the wiring harness behind the dash to absorb moisture.
- Turn the electronics on for a few minutes periodically throughout the off season to heat them up and dissipate internal moisture.
- Back up the information in your unit (such as fishing waypoints) in case there is a problem with the hardware during spring commissioning.
It’s good to add this list to your boat maintenance checklist to make sure your boat electronics get the care they need. Soon, this will become second nature, and it’ll help your Crestliner boat retain its value.