How To Make Marine Electrical Connections On Your Boat | BoatUS
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How To Make Marine Electrical Connections On Your Boat | BoatUS

September 1, 2019

Hi, I’m Mark Call from Boat US Magazine
and welcome to the workshop today i’m going to show you how to make perfect
electrical connections we don’t need a lot of tools i’ve got a pair of
combination strippers crimpers here these are the cheap kind if you’re going
to do much more than a few joints here and there it’s a good idea to invest in
a pair of ratcheting crimpers makes it better join and actually it’s easier to
use a pair of wire cutters in case I need to cut some wire I’ve got a little
blowtorch here and I’ll show you how that we use that in a second and then
obviously we’ve got the cable itself so I’ve got the cable here this is a 16
gauge cable it’s worth mentioning that cable as the number gets larger the
cable gets smaller so 0 gauge cable is so big and it’s typically for the big
fat connectors that you see to your battery this is 16 gauge obviously it’s
law smaller and then when you go up to 24 gauge that would be the sort of cable
that you would see attached to an LED light or something that’s not drawing
much current anyway so as I said we’re using 16 gauge also here you’ll notice
that I’ve got a selection of connectors you’ll see here they’ve got yellow blue
and red and that refers to the size of crimp that you’ll need yellow is the
largest blue and then red so let’s go right ahead and show you how to make the
joint now I’ve already stripped back the
cables on the end there just to save a little bit of time this is the connector
that we’re going to be using as I said this is a 16 gauge connector connector
actually goes inside inside the plastic and there’s a little dimple there and
that’s where the conductor or the metal part of the cable comes up to so ideally
you want to strip back enough so that when that goes in it comes up halfway
through the connector and then this shoulder of the insulation here comes up
on the outside so there’s no metal part showing so first thing I’m going to do
is to take the crimper and you’ll see there’s blue there so I put that in the
center one there and just go half way first of all when you put that in and we
squeeze until it will go no further and then it will release and your
see that has already formed a nice joint on that end so we just turn it around
and put in the other cable now you’ll notice that I’m using the red and black
normally we’d never join these two cables together the only reason I’m
doing it is just to show you how we would do this so this just for
illustrative purposes only we crimped that together so it won’t go anymore
comes apart and they’ve got a nice joint there next thing we do is take the
little blow torch that we mentioned earlier now this is a heat shrink
connector some of the connectors that you’ll see or you’ll get will not have
heat shrink built in they’ll just have a regular kind of straight connector and
you’ll need to cover it with a piece of heat shrink this you cut two lengths
with pair of pliers you slip it over the cable obviously you slip it over the
cable before you make the connection slide it over and then you heat it with
this little blowtorch and it will shrink and it will give you a nice watertight
perfectly good connection so I’m just going to go ahead now and just heat this
up gently you don’t want to overheat this and actually set something on fire
so I’m keeping it moving and little by little that will shrink around the cable
and you’ll see the color of the cable comes through the insulation and that’s
it then you just let that cool down for a minute and there we are we’ve got a
perfect joint now so I hope you’ve learned something here today for more
you can go to or check out our Youtube
channel thanks for watching


  • Reply Robert Randhare October 13, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Should have read the script before shooting video. Didn't mention that there is marine cable that resists corrosion better than automotive type. Things out of sequence, bad examples especially crimping red to black. After warning not to burn with blow torch, then proceeds to burn the red insulation. Pretty lame video all around.

  • Reply Ken Kloeber October 13, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    He used a double-crimp type full-cycle crimper (made for the hard nylon stake-on type terminals) on the adhesive-heat-shrink butts. Totally wrong. He should have discussed and showed examples of those two types (single vs double crimp) and cautioned about using the correct crimper on each type terminal.

  • Reply Thomas Moran October 14, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Agree with comments below. I have found a heat gun to work better/more safely than a torch with the shrink tubing, and the red-to-black connection is generally a no-no.

    Probably worth redoing this.

  • Reply AAFOdotCOM AirRacing October 17, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I would not let this guy work on my baby carriage!

  • Reply Timmy Lewis October 26, 2016 at 4:35 am

    There are connections that might be wet? The torch should be soldering a proper Western Union splice and covering with "glue lined", heat shrink. I think the use of crimp connectors might be overstated as a "good way" to make marine connections. "Marine", should always mean, it might get wet, It might have vibration and it could get pulled on. Therefore, All of your connections must be water proof, restrained with wire ties, hold downs or tape and be a little extra long to prevent "pulling" on anything.

  • Reply Jf Mc June 2, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    The most important thing to keep in mind is to always use the correct wire gauge this video completely skips over that and is frankly quite irresponsible!

  • Reply SL August 27, 2018 at 4:57 am

    I smell burning insulation!

  • Reply John White July 28, 2019 at 3:55 am

    Shame on Boat US – People who are watching this video rely on videos from reputable sources and this video is garbage.
    1. Why would you join a red & black wire together? New boaters are watching.
    2. Why would you use a torch? You could on over heat the heat shrink.
    3. Why wouldn't you recite advice from ABYC electrical standards.
    This video should be taken down or edited.
    This advice could cause the following:
    1. Corroded connections where the crimp was done incorrectly.
    2. Corrosion where a torch was used and the water tight jacket is burned through from being over heated.
    3. Exposed metal from where the water tight jacket is burned through from being over heated. This could make contact to ground and cause a spark.
    4. A crucial wire like the bilge pump wire could be done improperly and sink the boat.


    Your welcome 😁

  • Reply Kelvin Meeks August 4, 2019 at 2:52 am

    I agree with the other comments on this post:

    1) The video should be redone – and should NOT be showing a red and black wire being connected. English is NOT the first language for many BoatUS members.

    2) The video does not discuss single vs. double crimpers. This should be covered.

    3) The video does not discuss Heat Shrink vs Nylon connectors.

    4) The pros/cons of a butane torch vs. a heat gun should be discussed. In the video – it appears that he actually burns the insulation (blackened) the wire.

  • Reply Kelvin Meeks August 4, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    See the table in this Wikipedia article for connector color coding / wire sizes.

  • Reply Kelvin Meeks August 4, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    My notes on Crimping resources

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