How to install a boat horn

Written by jack hathcoat
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How to install a boat horn
Safe boating is fun boating. (speed boat image by Wimbledon from

Boating safety cannot be overstressed--both on and off the water. Not only should the boat be ready for the water, the trailer should be ready for the road. The same rationale should be used in keeping boating equipment in good order. Make sure the safety equipment on board is in top shape and nothing is lacking. A boat horn--a safety essential--requires a seaworthy installation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Boat horn
  • 5/16 X 1-1/2 in. stainless steel bolts (as required)
  • 5/16 SAE stainless steel nuts (as required)
  • Drill
  • Wire (14-gauge) (black and red)
  • Horn button
  • In line fuse holder
  • 1-15 amp fuse
  • Crimp pliers
  • Zip-ties
  • Silicone sealer

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  1. 1

    Select a suitable location and drill holes to match the mounting plate. Attach the plate with stainless-steel bolts and mount the horn using a set screw. Attach the black and red wires to the horn. Route the two wires through the boat deck, along the side rails and to the instrument cluster. Not all horns will mount in the same manner, so follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

  2. 2

    Mount the horn button on the instrument cluster. Cut the black wire and install each cut end to the horn button. Cut the red wire and install each cut end to the ends of the fuse holder. Do not install the fuse. Route the wires from the horn button to the battery case.

  3. 3

    Open the battery case. Install the red wire to the positive battery post and the black to the negative post. Route the wires neatly out of the case, zip-tie them together and close the battery case.

  4. 4

    Install the 15-amp fuse and test the horn. At the horn connections, place a small amount of silicone sealer to waterproof the wires. Use a small amount--just enough to seal the wires. Too much quickly degrades from weather exposure and is easily removed. Zip-tie the wires along the side rails of the boat until they branch to the instrument panel. Place a small amount of silicone sealer on the horn connections.

Tips and warnings

  • Some boat horn installations recommend a relay in the circuit. This design is simpler and quicker to install. By using a higher gauge wire, the relay is not needed.

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