Making The Boat Your Own

Most often when you buy a boat many changes and upgrades are made. Some of these changes are just personal preferences or to make the boat feel more like home. Other modifications and upgrades are to make the boat better suited to your needs based on your planned use and/or cruising grounds.

Here’s a list of some of the major work that’s been done on the Turtle to make her better suited for living aboard full time and cruising.

Lighting

All of the lighting, both internal and external has been converted to LED, including an auto on/off dusk to dawn anchor light. LED draws about 1/10th the power of traditional lighting, so this allows us to stay at anchor for extended periods of time without drawing much from the batteries.

Batteries

The small OEM battery bank was upgraded to 600 Ah, using 3 Mastervolt SlimLine 200 Ah AGM batteries. A SunSaver Duo solar controller was installed as well as 2 additional solar panels, upping the power to 420 watts. This gives us all the power we need to stay at anchor long term. Before we stated chartering the Turtle was at anchor full time for almost 2 years.

Fridge

The original and very small AC/propane fridge was replaced with Isotherm Cruise 187 AC/DC 2 door 5.0/1.6 Cu. Ft fridge. The Isotherm has 2 doors with a separate fridge and freezer, with a much larger capacity, and it’s safer, since it runs off of the batteries when we’re away from the dock. The fridge by far is our biggest power draw, but our large battery bank and solar panels are plenty to keep it going.

Chart Plotter

Coastal Explorer

Installed a RAM mount on top of the fridge cabinet. We use Coastal Explorer PC based software for navigation. The RAM mount allows us to keep the laptop in a position where it’s easily viewable from the helm and secured in place in case of rough weather.

Fish Finder

I replaced the Raymarine ST60 Tridata with a Garmin Fishfinder 300C. A fishfinder is a major upgrade from a simple depth gauge. The Garmin features a full color screen, and rather than just displaying a number for the depth, it has a graph that shows the bottom contour.

You can easily see the depth getting deeper or shallower, by looking at the graph, which is much nicer than a big number just suddenly jumping up or down on you. It’s sort of like a poor man’s sonar!

That’s it for now. In my next post I’ll go over some of the safety upgrades that I made.

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