How To Install A Cigarette Lighter On A Boat

You’re leisurely sitting in your boat during some well-deserved off-time, gazing out at the sparkling water, contemplating what activity could make your boating experience even more enjoyable. Suddenly, it hits you – a cigarette lighter would be the perfect addition to your vessel.

Installing a cigarette lighter on a boat is easy and can greatly improve your onboard convenience. To get started, acquire a marine-grade 12-volt socket and suitable wiring.

Then, carefully choose a secure location to mount the lighter. Connect the positive and negative wires to ensure a steady power supply. Don’t forget to insert a fuse for safety precautions.

While these initial steps will set you on the right path, there’s more to learn to ensure a successful installation. The following guide delves deeper into each step, provides essential tips, and addresses common challenges to make your boat’s cigarette lighter installation a seamless and rewarding experience.

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How to Choose the Right Cigarette Lighter for Your Boat

Before you embark on your installation process, selecting the perfect cigarette lighter is essential. Understanding how to choose the right one ensures convenience and safety. Here’s a concise guide to aid you in this process.

Power Requirements:

First things first, know what you need to power. The equipment you’ll be utilizing on your boat, such as phones, GPS gadgets, or 12-volt air pumps for inflatables, should be taken into account. To avoid purchasing a weak lighter that can’t take the load, check the power ratings of these devices.

Marine-Grade Quality:

Now, boats aren’t exactly cozy environments. You’ll face splashes, sprays, and sometimes, full-on waves smacking your boat. That’s why you need a marine-grade cigarette lighter. Look for options specifically designed to withstand harsh marine conditions, with weatherproof and corrosion-resistant features.

Mounting Location:

Think about where you want to install this bad boy. You want it to be easily accessible but also protected from direct exposure to water, maybe near the helm or in a cabin area, where it’s convenient yet safe from the elements.

Types of Cigarette Lighters:

It’s true that there are various types. You got single socket lighters, which are great if you only need one power outlet.

But if you’re like me and got tons of devices to charge, consider going for the ones with multiple sockets. And hey, if you’re tech-savvy, there are even cigarette lighters with USB adapters for modern-day gadgets.

Fixed or Portable:

You must decide if you want a fixed cigarette lighter mounted permanently on your boat or if you prefer a portable one, you can move around. Portable ones come in handy if you’re an adventurer and want the flexibility to carry them on different boats or even ashore.

What Are the Different Types of Cigarette Lighters for Boats?

Let’s talk about the various lighters you may get for your boat now. Buckle up, and we’ll look at the possibilities since there’s more to it than what the eye can see.

Single Socket Cigarette Lighter:

Now, if you’re keeping it simple and just need one power outlet, the Marine Raider Single Socket Cigarette Lighter is a solid choice. It’s designed for marine use, built tough to handle the elements, and offers you a reliable power source for your essential devices.

Dual Socket Cigarette Lighter:

Now we’re talking! If you got more devices to charge, consider the SeaSense Dual Socket Cigarette Lighter. Two power outlets mean you can keep your phone charged while pumping up those inflatables. It’s like having double the convenience!

USB Cigarette Lighter Adapter:

Alright, tech lovers, listen up. The Blue Sea Systems Dual USB Cigarette Lighter Adapter is where it’s at. This bad boy not only offers two 12-volt power sockets but also comes with two USB ports. Charge your phone, tablet, or USB-powered device without sweat!

Portable Cigarette Lighter:

Now, if you’re an adventurer, always on the move, check out the Bestek Portable Cigarette Lighter. It’s not fixed on your boat, so you can take it anywhere you want. Perfect for those who love to explore different vessels or even take them ashore for some outdoor fun.

Accessory Socket Panel:

Here’s something for the folks who want to power up multiple devices in style. The Blue Sea Systems 12V Accessory Socket Panel comes with multiple sockets and switches, all neatly organized on a sleek panel. It’s like a control center for all your power needs!

How Do You Install a Cigarette Lighter on a Boat?

At last, we are here to guide you through the simple steps of installing a cigarette lighter on your boat. Adding this convenient accessory will enhance your boating experience and provide a reliable power source.

Gather Your Tools and Materials:

A 1-inch hole saw, stainless steel screws, a switch plate, a switch, PL glue, female spades, couplers, rings, and heat-shrink tubing are all required. Don’t worry; it may appear to be a lot, but believe me when I say it will be worthwhile.

Step 1: Find the Right Spot for Installation

Now, look around your boat and find the perfect spot for your cigarette lighter. Somewhere accessible but not too exposed to water or rough handling. Once you’ve found it, mark the spot, and let’s get ready to drill.

Step 2: Drill the Hole

Alright, grab that 1-inch hole saw, and start drilling in from the front side. Make sure to take your time and drill carefully to get a clean hole. Safety first, folks!

Step 3: Install the Cigarette Lighter Power Outlet

Now that you’ve got the hole ready, installing the cigarette lighter power outlet is time. Put it in place using those stainless steel screws. This way, you can be sure that it will always remain in place.

Step 4: Create the Switch Plate

The switch will be discussed next. It makes sense that you wouldn’t want your power outlet to be on constantly. So, make a switch plate to hold it. Get a template ready and cut it out. Spray-paint it black for that extra cool factor.

Step 5: Mount the Switch Plate

With the template in hand, drill some pilot holes and attach the switch plate. Use PL adhesive to hold it down so it stays in place. You don’t want that switch flopping around while you’re cruising, do you?

Step 6: Wiring the Cigarette Lighter:

Here comes the fun part – wiring it all up! Strip the wires, slide on some heat-shrink tubing, and install those female spades. Crimp them down, folks, and make sure they’re secure. Safety first, remember?

  • Connect the Positive Terminal: Now we’re getting serious. Connect the positive terminal using a ring terminal. You want that connection to be rock solid. And hey, for extra safety, add a 20-amp inline fuse on the positive side. You don’t want to risk any mishaps.
  • Connect the Negative Terminal: Now, the negative terminal is pretty straightforward. Just connect it straight to the negative terminal on your boat: no fuss, no mess, just a solid connection.

Step 7: Testing

Alright, the moment of truth – it’s time to test it out. Ensure everything’s hooked up right and that switch is doing its job. You want to be able to turn that power on and off like a pro.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing a Cigarette Lighter on a Boat

After learning how to install a cigarette lighter on your yacht, let’s discuss some frequent blunders you should avoid. We don’t want any hiccups in your power play, so be aware and avoid making these mistakes.

Using Incompatible Cigarette Lighters:

One big mistake is choosing a cigarette lighter that’s not designed for marine use. Regular automotive lighters won’t cut it, my friends. It would be best if you had those marine-grade options that can handle the rough waters and all that splashing.

Neglecting Weatherproofing Measures:

Hey, boats are all about the water, right? So, don’t forget to weatherproof your installation. Seal up any gaps and use weather-resistant materials. You don’t want water creeping in and causing damage to your power outlet.

Incorrect Wiring:

Now, this is a serious one, folks. Make sure you wire everything properly and securely. Mistakes in wiring can lead to short circuits or, even worse – fires. So, follow the instructions carefully and double-check your connections.

Overloading the Cigarette Lighter:

Listen, your cigarette lighter has its limits. Don’t go overboard and start plugging in high-power devices that it can’t handle. It’s not going to end well, and you might blow a fuse or damage your lighter.

Ignoring Proper Fuse Protection:

Speaking of fuses, don’t skip them, folks. Adding an inline fuse is crucial for safety. It acts as a failsafe and protects your boat’s electrical system from any overcurrent situations. So, make sure you’ve got that fuse in place.

Rushing the Installation:

Although installing a cigarette lighter can appear simple, take your time. Take your time, carefully follow the instructions, and ensure everything is done correctly. Spending the extra time now is preferable to dealing with issues afterward.

Final Say

Installing a cigarette lighter on your boat opens up a world of convenience and preparedness. By choosing the right marine-grade lighter, installing it securely, and avoiding common pitfalls, you’ll have a reliable 12-volt power outlet on board.

Stay connected, charge your devices, and power up your adventures without a hitch. Take your time and wire everything correctly since safety is crucial. You may sail with assurance, knowing you have the power you need for your nautical antics with a little work. Happy boating, folks!

Jack K. Pride
Jack K. Pride

Jack K. Pride is an accomplished author and a prominent figure in the boating community. With a passion for boats and a deep understanding of the maritime industry, he has been sharing his expertise through his compelling articles on

Known for his insightful and informative writing style, Jack's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and knowledge to boat enthusiasts worldwide. His dedication to the subject matter and commitment to delivering high-quality content makes him a trusted voice in the boating world.

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