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:
Publish date:
Updated on

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

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more