If you don’t know much about them, marine gauges probably look mystifying. You might look at one and not know how it operates or what it does. They are relatively simple to learn to read and use, though.

Photo aerial view of speed motor boat on open blue sea

We will discuss the tachometer gauge and others in the following article. Even if you’re not an expert in all things nautical, it’s probably best that you know some of the basics if you ever plan to get out on the water.

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The Basics

The first thing you should realize when you’re on a boat is that you will see several gauges on the display when you’re operating the vessel. Those can include but are not limited to the speedometer, the oil pressure gauge, the hour meter gauge, the fuel level gauge, the rudder angle gauge, the ammeter gauge, and the depth sounder.

You might not need to use all of them every moment you’re out on the water. You should have an idea of what each one does, though, so let’s run through all the ones we just mentioned.

The Speedometer and Odometer

Just like the speedometer in your car, the one on your boat tells you how fast you’re going. You can use it in conjunction with the odometer. The odometer tells you how far you have traveled.

If you’re going out on the water, you should watch your speed so you don’t lose control of the boat. You can also monitor how far you’ve gone from shore by utilizing the odometer at the same time.

The Oil Pressure Gauge

This gauge monitors the oil pressure in your transmission and engine. You use this to see how much oil you have in your vessel. It also indicates your engine’s overall health.

The Hour Meter Gauge

This gauge keeps track of the time the boat’s engine has been running. You can use it to judge the approximate time when the boat needs maintenance.

The Fuel Level Gauge

You can probably guess what this one does rather easily. Just like your fuel level gauge in a gas-powered car, this gauge tells you how much fuel you have left in the tank and how much you have used up.

The Rudder Angle Gauge

This shows you the rudder’s position. That matters because the rudder’s position must remain at the correct angle when you’re trying to navigate a crowded waterway.

The Ammeter Gauge

This records the output charge from your boat’s alternator. It measures the alternating electrical current or the direct electrical current. In other words, it shows how much current is passing through your conductor.

The Depth Sounder

This gauge tells you how deep the water is under your boat. It can tell you whether you’re about to run aground or whether the Mariana Trench has opened up under you.

This sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that you won’t use every one of these at every moment. Just like your car, some of these will only come in handy intermittently.

, Marine Gauges: A Beginner’s Guide, Days of a Domestic Dad