Marine Battery Cables and Terminals: A Short Q&A

Is your boat’s electrical system on the fritz? Do you need to make a new connection to your boat’s batteries? Thinking of tackling the project on your own?

If you do, make sure you use the right tools and parts for the job – which includes dedicated marine battery wire for any wiring jobs or connections.

And in case you have any questions about marine battery cable and terminals, these are some of the most common.

What Is the Difference Between Marine Battery Wire and Regular Wire?
Both marine battery wire and regular wire and used to carry a current around an electrical system, in the case of battery cable, as leads for a battery.

However, marine battery wire has two specific attributes that make it more suitable for the application than normal wire.

One is that it is not wire at all, but cable. “Wire” is a bit of a misnomer, actually, since a wire is a single-stranded conductor. Cable, on the other hand, is made of many fine braided conductors. Marine battery cable is made with an exceptionally high conductor strand count to make it more flexible.

The other distinguishing feature of marine battery cable is that it is specially treated to resist corrosion (see below).

Why Does Marine Battery Wire Look Silver?
Marine battery cable, A.K.A. marine-grade cable, is typically made with a high number of tinned copper conductors – and each conductor features individual tin plating. This gives the copper a higher-than-average resistance against corrosion, which is a significant hazard in marine environments where corrosives like salt spray and battery acid could quickly inhibit an electrical circuit.

What Gauge Does Marine Battery Wire Need to Be?
The gauge of your marine battery cables and terminals should match. Therefore, if your battery terminals are 14 gauge terminals, your cables should be 14 gauge battery cables. Some battery terminals are capable of accepting a range of compatible gauge sizes, so consult the battery manufacturer if you have any questions. It is also important to remember that a larger battery cable offers less electrical resistance and higher current carrying capacity.

Can You Use Automotive Battery Wire instead of Marine Battery Wire?
It is inadvisable to use automotive battery cable in situations calling for the use of marine battery cables and terminals. While automotive battery cables are intended to be used as leads for batteries, they will either lack the flexibility or corrosion resistance necessary to make them serviceable in a marine environment.

Where Can I Buy Marine Battery Cables and Terminals?
If you’re looking for the highest quality equipment you can find for your next marine electrical project, look no further than EWCS Wire at

All of their marine battery cables are UL-listed and many of them are USCG and ABYC approved. They are also protected against corrosion and fatigue and also feature oil, gasoline, moisture, acid, alkali, and abrasion resistance.

If you have any questions about marine battery cables and terminals, give their customer service team a call at 800-262-1598 for further assistance.

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