Ask SAIL: Wet Batteries in a “Waterproof” Portable Marine Electronic Device

I recently purchased a handheld battery-operated GPS chartplotter. I was told it could survive 30 minutes in a couple of feet of seawater. But once when landing the dinghy on a beach, I jumped out too soon with the GPS in my pocket.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

P. Finnimore, Raleigh, NC

Q: I recently purchased a handheld battery-operated GPS chartplotter. I was told it could survive 30 minutes in a couple of feet of seawater. But once when landing the dinghy on a beach, I jumped out too soon with the GPS in my pocket. After a thorough drying off, it quit on a fresh set of AA batteries. How can they call it “waterproof?”

Electronics-question-picr_1

Gordon West Replies

A: Any time you dunk a “waterproof” portable marine electronic device, get the batteries out immediately! While the electronics are sealed against seawater intrusion, the battery compartment may not be. Open the battery compartment, remove the batteries and irrigate the battery tray and compartment with fresh water. Then leave it in the sun to dry. If the LCD display is not fogged, your portable handheld device will likely survive. Clean the battery contacts with alcohol before installing new batteries. A “floating submersible” portable electronic device, on the other hand, may feature O-rings to keep water out of the battery compartment.

G-West

Photos courtesy of Standard Horizon 

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

Harken

Harken Changes Hands, Stays in the Family

. In a video posted yesterday, Peter Harken cheerfully announced that his company, the trusted hardware brand bearing his last name, which was formerly owned by founders and their families has changed hands. The owners have sold their shares to employees—"passing the baton.” ...read more

OceanRace

Newport Hosts The Ocean Race Summit on Ocean Health

Hundreds of participants from around the world tuned in yesterday for the latest installment of The Ocean Race's (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) Summit Series, which aims to bring the best of ocean racing—leadership, resilience, tenacity, collaboration—to solving the ocean’s ...read more

sp360_fs5-024crop (1)

Highfield SPORT 360

The new 2021 SPORT 360 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more

sp560_drone-028crop

Highfield SPORT 560

The new 2021 SPORT 560 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more

Three Props 1772x1181

EWOL Propellers

Ewol propellers make maneuvering easier, increase sailing speed and increase cruising speed under power. EWOL adjustable pitch propellers are made of stainless steel alloys that represent the highest technology in terms of marine corrosion and galvanic corrosion resistance, ...read more

leadership-forum-LGBTQ-email-graphic

Tonight: US Sailing’s LGBTQ+ Panel

Tune in to the latest installment in US Sailing’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Series tonight at 7pm EDT. This week Kimball Livingston will moderate a panel of LGBTQ+ sailors who will share their personal and professional experiences as well as strategies for improving ...read more

200910

Find Your People (Virtually)

Social media offers a world of new opportunities for sailors. I regularly see folks meet their next delivery crew in the comments section of Facebook or decide on their next charter based on breathtaking photos posted by a stranger. It’s a great way to connect with other sailors ...read more