Protect Exposed Boat Wiring

Each year when we arrive back at the boat, it seems the exterior exposed wiring – especially to our running lights, bow and stern, was corroded and the lights wouldn’t work.  So one day, when David is standing on the dock at Shelter Bay Marina in Panama with his trusty wire brush getting the corrosion off the connections, a cruiser from down the dock walks by and asks “what are you doing?”.    David explains that our running lights never work after leaving the boat for six months because of corrosion, despite the di-electric grease he uses on the connections.

Steve, from s/v Li-Ward, looked at him in utter amazement … “WHAT?  Don’t you cover the exposed wires to protect them from salt air and inhibit corrosion?”.    Huh?  Now, mind you, this is after we’ve been cruising for 8 years and made it all the way to Panama where we’re now in a marina adjacent to the Panama Canal.   We learn something literally every day aboard this boat!

So David walks down the dock and Steve shows him Li-Ward’s bow light and the wiring cover.   He even gives David enough to cover our bow light wiring.   When we arrived back in Florida, we happened to see more of this stuff — apparently it’s called “Wire Loom” in Home Depot and bought some to finish covering all the rest of our exterior wiring – stern light, anchor light (that’s on our arch) and the wiring that comes through the platform from our KISS Wind Generator on its way into the arch.

Be sure to get wire loom with the split for easy installation.   Since we’ve installed the wire loom over our exposed exterior wiring, we have had far less trouble with corrosion and chafe on the wires.  It is NOT foolproof and will not guarantee that you’ll never have corrosion or chafe on those wires in the future.  But it looks nicer and it does cut down on the maintenance we need on the wires.   This year when we returned to the boat, every exterior light worked perfectly!  (I should knock on some teak, I may jinx us…)   🙂

KISS WInd Generator wiring exposed on its way into the arch is covered with wire loom for protection.

Here you can see the wire loom as it’s being installed — if you make sure to get the split variety, then just split it open enough to accommodate the exposed wiring and voila!

Bow Light Wiring Covered with Wire Loom


You can get split wire loom in many diameters to match your exterior wiring protection needs.  You can also buy it in 100 foot spools or 10 foot sections – we didn’t need very much, so we opted for the smallest length we could buy.   Here are two possibilities where you can buy it online if you don’t find it at your Home Depot/Lowe’s or Ace Hardware…

See Wire Loom Varieties Available on Amazon, Click the Photo

Wire Loom varieties from Amazon








Fire Retardant Wire Loom – Click Here to Find It at West Marine

Wire Loom at West Marine








Be sure to get the split wire loom – otherwise you’ll need to thread it on from one end on wires that are probably connected on both ends! And don’t forget the di-electric grease on the connections first.

Does anyone have a better way to more effectively seal those exterior wires?  Ours are doing well, but we can always something new!   🙂  Please leave a comment and share!  CHEERS!  Jan


  1. Candy Ann Williams via Facebook says:

    Thanks for sharing.

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