Whether its your car, boat, bike, or ATV; speakers are a very important component for any vehicle. With the modern designs for these vehicles like open roofs and surfaces that are exposed to the outdoors, extreme weather conditions pose a significant threat to the integrity of internal systems. This is where top of the line, marine certified speakers and sound systems find significant demand. By building these speakers with high-quality and protective components, you can now enjoy crisp, clear music without any compromises. But what exactly does it really mean for a speaker to be marine certified?

What is a Marine Certified Speaker?

For a speaker to be referred to as marine certified, it goes through the American Society for Testing and Materials for thorough marine testing. Here, the speakers are put through a salt fog test as well as a UV exposure test to ensure durability.

A marine certified speaker is very much like a regular car stereo; the only difference is that it can withstand much harsher conditions than the average. Essentially, both regular and marine speakers resemble each other as far as internal circuitry goes. This means that all specifications and power ratings remain the same for both. Marine speakers differ from regular speakers in one important aspect; protective additives.

In addition to toughness and durability, some of the best all-weather marine certified speakers undergo thorough testing to ensure that they outperform the competition, even in the worst weather conditions. Whether it is extreme heat, cold, humidity, salt, UV radiation or even beach environments, unlike regular speakers, only marine certified speakers can thrive without enduring any damage. Just try to spray some water on your non-marine car audio and see what happens; chances are it will never work again.

The bottom line is, moisture and electronics do not mix. These arch enemies must always be kept away. For most electronics that are safely tucked away in safe enclosures, harsh environmental conditions may not be that much of an issue. But when the electronic is a sensitive speaker on an ATV or a speedboat, then extra protection becomes more than a luxury; it is a necessity. What exactly makes up a certified marine speaker?

Components of a Typical Marine Speaker

Since additives and extra components make the difference between a regular speaker and a marine certified speaker, it’s safe to say that it’s all in the components. To begin with, the circuit board in a marine speaker needs to be coated with an approved sealant that weaves into the board without disrupting its functionality. Most manufacturers use weatherproof coating to achieve this. Your average marine certified speakers come well equipped to take on the harshest of elements however, some people prefer to install their own additional protective measures. Whatever the case, you can never go wrong with a little more security.

For maximum weather protection, marine certified speakers are built with rubber surrounds and plastic cones that also help with corrosion resistance. This also allows the speakers adequate power handling to blast out tunes over water, wind, sand and even the engine’s noise.

An example of an incredibly balanced marine certified speaker is Sonic Electronix’s-

One of the mistakes that most boat owners do is to install the speakers too close to the compass. If your boat is set up this way, make sure you get the speakers magnetically shielded to avoid disorienting the compass needle.

Does Marine Certified mean the Speakers Can be Submerged Under Water?

Not really. Marine certified does not mean it’s safe to completely dunk your speakers under water. Each brand comes with it’s own level of water resistance based on the components used. Your average marine speaker will be what is referred to as water resistant. This means that they can handle light rain and small splashes and drops of water, nothing more. However, other marine speakers more waterproof and can withstand more water exposure without any damage or compromise to the integrity. A good indicator of water resistance is the IP rating which is explained in depth here.

Watch The Difference Between Car Audio and Marine Audio

One of Sonic Electronix’s top of the range marine speaker is:

These bad boys boast of a power handling squaring at 225 watts max on each speaker with awesome looking grille and tweeter mount. Incorporated is a waterproof soft dome tweeter coupled with a water and UV-resistant construction that makes the Infinity 622M perfect for boats, bikes, and ATVs. Other features include:

Do I need Any Other Accessories?

No audio system is fully complete without a great Amp, marine certified wires, subwoofers, receivers and a few other accessories. For marine use, you’ll want an amplifier with coated circuit boards, plated, installed with non-corrosive connectors and a very hefty power output. Sonic Electronix has the perfect deal just for you.

This Sonic exclusive PA D Series 4-Channel Class-D Amplifier comes with two pairs of special edition mobile Monitor MM Series 6.5 Inch 2-Way Coaxial Speakers. With an entirely new efficient digital system, the PA D4 amplifier is extremely well suited for both land and marine vessels by providing the correct amount of power for up to 4 speakers. It also offers a wider array of options for amplifying other accessories such as high-end speakers and entry level subwoofers. Some general features include;

Important Note: It is imperative to use stranded wires for any kind of electrical application in marine environments. According to the American Boat and Yacht Council, the only acceptable marine wiring is stranded copper. This is because metals like steel and aluminum will not withstand the constant vibrations of a motor boat and erode a much higher rate.