Loading Events

Cruising Boat Electrical Basics Workshop

Cruising Boat Electrical Basics Workshop



April 13 @ 8:30 am
April 14 @ 4:30 pm
Event Categories:


Marine Technology Center
1606 R Avenue
Anacortes, WA 98221 United States
+ Google Map
Learn the practical and inspirational aspects of offshore cruising from master voyager John Neal, technical guru Mike Beemer, and others.

Self-sufficiency at sea is truly the key to successful cruising. The more you can fix on your boat yourself, the longer you’re likely to stay out cruising. If you are a cruiser who wants to gain proficiency in troubleshooting, maintaining, and upgrading your marine electrical systems in accordance with ABYC standards, then this is the workshop for you. Sail and powerboat cruisers alike will gain essential knowledge and skills that will pay dividends for years to come.

Through a blend of lecture and hands-on practice you will learn basic electrical system design, installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance. We’ll cover safety, specialized tool use, industry best practices, and more. You will learn how to identify boat electrical components, practice making seaworthy wire terminations, correctly install DC equipment, and how to use a multimeter to save yourself hours of frustration trying to track down “boat gremlins”. Your learning and skill development will culminate with the design, building, and testing of a basic electrical system of your own at the renowned Marine Technology Center lab.

This is an introductory workshop that will prioritize safety, hands-on, applied learning. We welcome learners of all skill levels, especially if you have never picked up a tool or played with a battery before!

You will learn how to:

  • Apply basic electrical fundamentals including Ohm’s Law and the Power Equations
  • Recognize the differences between series and parallel circuits
  • Draw circuit diagrams using basic electrical symbols
  • Calculate wire size based on ampacity and voltage drop
  • Select appropriate overcurrent protection size, type, and installation location
  • Properly route wiring and install strain relief and chafe protection
  • Apply recommended color coding for DC and AC wiring on boats

You will get to practice:

  • Properly installing the components of a basic DC electrical circuit
  • Drawing and working from basic circuit diagrams
  • Performing basic DC electrical circuit safety checks
  • Applying ABYC standards to evaluate and build circuits
  • Choosing and using a variety of specialized electrical tools
  • Conducting essential electrical troubleshooting with a multimeter
  • Identifying and testing different types of fuses
  • Building battery cables
  • Testing battery voltages and recognizing their importance
  • Building and testing battery banks in parallel and series

Extras: Included in the seminar cost is one copy of our electrical reference workbook per single student or couple, test breaker that we will build in class, and certificate of completion.

Instructor Bios

Gio & Julie Cappelli are graduates of Skagit Valley College’s Marine Maintenance Technology Program and owners of Pelagic Blue Cruising Services. At Pelagic Blue, they offer private offshore sail training and preparation for aspiring self-sufficient sailors. They teach DIY boat maintenance, plan offshore refits, and provide custom consulting services aimed at preparing their clients for successful cruising. They completed a Mahina offshore sail training expedition with John Neal in the Pacific Northwest and recently returned from a 10,000-mile loop sailing from Mexico to Hawaii, and Hawaii to British Columbia aboard their Malö 39. 

Gio is ABYC certified in Marine Diesel Engines and Marine Systems and previously worked as a fishery biologist and motorboat operator instructor. Julie is ABYC certified in Marine Electrical, a NMEA certified marine electronics and NMEA 2000 installer, and has worked as a scuba instructor, marine biologist, and expedition leader. Both are USCG licensed Masters and are actively cruising.They openly share their wealth of knowledge about the ocean, cruising, and boat maintenance. 

Michael Beemer is the department chair for Skagit Valley College’s marine maintenance and repair program. Michael has been presenting and teaching professionally for almost 20 years and holds a master’s degree in education. At the college he teaches all the systems courses, including ABYC certifications. He and his wife have cruised extensively from Anacortes to southeast Alaska for many years on their motor-sailer. In the cruising community, Michael is well known as “The Boat Doctor” who can diagnose and fix almost anything on a vessel. Some of the many topics he has done include: diesel engines, electrical systems, solar, new battery technologies, extended inside passage cruising, and more.