Nothing beats a sunny day on the lake with your new Chaparral 337 SSX speedboat. Once you finish wake boarding, tubing and water skiing; the family is going to want to relax on the open water. The best way to do so is with sunshine, snacks, and loud music. But we all know stock marine audio systems, although durable are not always of the highest quality. So we have brought you a quick guide to marine audio so you can upgrade your stock sound system and have even more fun at the lake!

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How is Marine Audio Developed?

Marine gear is taken through countless hours of intense testing and proofing in extreme environments. This includes being bombarded with strong UV rays in chambers to accurately simulate years of sun exposure. The marine audio equipment is then run through special salt fog chambers that simulate long-term exposure to the harshest saltwater environments on earth. To fine tune the process, leading manufacturers then blast the equipment with pressurized water test and submersion procedures to ensure every seal, button, port and cable is as moisture proof as a scuba diving suit. The internal components are also coated with a special conformable material to safeguard the integrity.

Key Characteristics of Marine Audio Equipment

Water Resistance

Water Resistance components like marine speakers are able to handle water and rain. However, these components are not able to withstand complete submersion in water or prolonged exposure unless otherwise noted. Marine equipment from various brands come with unique specifications and ratings for water resistance. However, if the products are rated as waterproof, then they offer much higher levels of protection. Waterproof components can be submerged in water, up to certain depths. Typically a marine speaker with plastic cones of polypropylene and rubber supporting are considered top water proof materials.


UV Resistance

All the electronic equipment in a boat or open vehicle is highly susceptible to damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. The best and highest quality marine audio gear features UV ray protection in the form of faceplates, speaker cones, and protected grilles. With such a strict manufacturing process marine subwoofers are capable of withstanding the most extreme UV exposure.

Typically a marine sub is made with specific parts in order to ensure durability. Plastic cones with rubber surroundings allow for optimal weather protection. This part is installed without a box due to the lack of spacing which means this part is exposed to all types of weather. As long as you get a certified marine subwoofer, it will withstand UV rays.

Salt water and residue from the sea air can lead to severe corrosion and rusting of particularly delicate electronic components in your stereo. Sure, you may argue that fresh water contains no salt, so your boat is safe. But fresh water boats also experience direct water exposure that causes rusting of metallic equipment. Some of the best marine audio brands are able to withstand years of salt corrosion and direct exposure to water. Look out for features like coated circuit boards, plated connections and rust-resistant chassis to identify anti-corrosion protection.

Marine amplifiers are especially susceptible to corrosion due to their positioning on the boat. Luckily these amps are masterfully manufactured with non-corrosive materials, coated circuit boards providing plenty of power to the rest of the audio gear.

Bottom Line

The right music will make any boating experience more enjoyable. Fortunately, there are many brands dedicated to fulfilling the needs of water lovers worldwide. It is, however, crucial to ensure your choice meets your desired criteria both in performance as well as safety. Additionally, boats and water vehicles come in an even wider range of shapes, sizes and makes. As such, there is not one ideal position for installing the marine audio equipment. However, it is recommended that you offer as much protection and to avoid too much interaction with the elements so as to extend the lifespan of your components.

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