Sonar transducers represent one of the most useful items on your boat. With one and a fish-finder display, you can read the depth to stay off shoals, locate wrecks for diving, and find fish. Here’s how to care for your transducer.
If you slip your boat (as opposed to trailering it), the transducer-face surfaces must be coated with anti-fouling paint to minimize marine growth. Use water-based anti-fouling paint only, since ketone-based paints can attack many types of the plastics used to encase the transducer’s elements.
Every few months, use a soft cloth and mild household detergent to wash the transducer face and keep it free of marine growth. In cases of extreme fouling, gently use a Scotch-Brite pad.
Don’t Run It Dry
Multi-element chirp transducers generate substantial heat, and so they need to be immersed in water while operating to keep cool. This is a concern mainly for trailer boaters who might leave the sonar on after putting the boat on the trailer. So turn off the sonar before pulling the boat out of the water.
Check for Leaks
Regularly check for leaks inside the bilge or any other compartment where a through-hull transducer is installed. This is particularly important with a newly installed transducer. Recheck every two to three hours for the first day or two after the install. If there is a leak, haul the boat as soon as possible and have it fixed.
Periodically inspect the transducer connectors for signs of corrosion, and inspect the cable for cuts in the insulation. If the insulation is damaged (and the internal conductors are OK), allow the cable to dry, fill in the damaged area with marine sealant, and then cover the damaged area with electrical tape. If the wires inside are damaged, cut the cable and use Airmar’s splash-proof junction box (part no. 33-035, $49.97, imarineusa.com) to splice the two sections together.