4 Tools You Must Have to Connect Wires in a Boat

November 22, 2022 4 min read

There’s nothing quite like being able to get on a boat and just enjoy sailing through the open seas. Many of us who love boating can attest to how much fun it is, especially when the weather is right and you can even do a little bit of fishing.

However, like every other vehicle, boats can be finicky at times. And more often than not, they require a great deal of work to get right. Because boats work on water, it’s quite easy for their wiring to get all messed up. Even with waterproof wire terminals and connectors, there is always the potential for the boat’s entire wiring to lose its efficiency from time to time.

Whenever this happens, wiring the boat becomes the next step to take. To be fair, there are several tools you will need to get this done - waterproof wire connectors, terminals, etc. However, we will look into the four tools that you absolutely need to have to handle a proper boat wiring task.

Wire Strippers

A wire stripper is a small, portable, handheld tool that most electricians use to remove the protective coating of an electric wire. Thus, they are able to repair the wiring - or replace it outrightly.

Most wire strippers can also strip the end portions of electric wires in order to connect them to terminals or other wires. For most electricians, these tools are critical parts of their entire toolset. And if you’d like to connect wires in a boat, it definitely helps to have a wire stripper with you.

Wire strippers are classed into two types; manual and automatic. A manual stripper is usually the preferred option for most tasks; to use it, you’d need to rotate it manually while applying pressure around the insulation in order to adjust wires. As for automatic wire strippers, you have one side held tight and the other side cut and removed. While automatic strippers help with speed, they only work for certain wire ranges.

Wire strippers come in different sizes and shapes, and they’re usually made of steel. They come with serrated teeth, which definitely help with stripping wires. You can have strippers with curved or straight handles, which are mostly covered in a rubber coating to ensure a tight grip.

Ratcheting Wire Crimpers

A ratcheting wire crimper allows you to easily get a solid and secure crimp. These crimpers are critical for your wiring task, ensuring that you can work with greater accuracy in general.

When working with a ratcheting wire crimper, you want to consider one that can provide a double crimp - which is much more secure than a single crip. The ratcheting function should also allow you to easily palace the connector in the crimper - then tighten down so the connector itself doesn’t fall out. From there, put the wire into the connector, hold it, and squeeze the handles to make the crimp.

You should also note that ratcheting wire crimpers are designed to keep crimping until the process is complete. So, you won’t be able to take out your wire or connector midway through the crimping process.

In the event that something gets messed up and you need to take out the connector or wire, most crimpers come with release levers, which make it possible for you to make any adjustments that are necessary.

Side Cutters

Also known as diagonal pliers, side cutters are tools that help to cut wires. They do this by indenting and wedging cables - instead of shearing them like a pair of scissors. With jaws and cutting edges that are set at an angle, these cutters are quite accurate.

Side cutters differ from standard pliers primarily due to their compact shape. The presence of compound-lever action (and two pivot points) also multiplies the force of your hand, ensuring a quick and effortless cutting motion.

Just as well, side cutters are induction-hardened. So, they can cut much harder and stronger wires than standard pliers without suffering blunted edges. Still, they work just as well when it comes to cutting soft wires.

Butane Torch

Whether they are t-tap connectors or other types, it’s pretty evident that marine electrical connections will need to be waterproof. To do this, you could use shrink-wrap connectors or just put shrink-wrap over a regular connection set.

Whatever method you choose, you will need to heat the entire set to provide a watertight seal over the connector and the wire. While some people use butane lighters, a butane torch actually does make the job easier. It’s much easier to use, and it improves the efficiency with which you can heat any metal parts.

When getting a butane torch, we would recommend getting an adjustable one. This way, you have more flexibility as you work. You can also look out for a torch that stays lit, in case you need to work in a windy environment.


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