Switches & Panels

Electrical boat switches allow you to control your boat’s electrical systems and devices from the helm and also to turn the power on and off to your battery and select between batteries in multi-bank systems. » Read More

Learn More About Switches & Panels


Types of Boat Switches

Most marine electrical switches fall into one of several categories: rocker and toggle switches, push button switches, and battery switches. Read More

Rocker Switches

The most widely used switch style on boats is the rocker switch (also sometimes called a toggle switch). Rocker switches are normally found on dashes and helm stations and used to control systems including pumps, lights, windlasses, blowers, wipers, and livewells.

Among the more popular manufacturers of marine-grade rocker switches are Carling, Cole Hersee, Blue Sea Systems, and BEP Marine. These switches consist of the switch base or body — which is normally hidden behind the panel — and a removable switch cover with a label that is used to actuate the switch. Switch covers are made in several different materials, shapes, and covers. With few exceptions, marine rocker switches and switch covers are all interchangeable. In other words, you don’t have to use a Carling cover with a Carling switch.

Toggle switches do the same thing as rocker switches but feature a slim toggle control instead of a larger rocker control.

Push Button Switches

Push button dashboard switches serve the same purpose as rocker switches but are preferred by some boaters for their appearance. They are lower profile than rocker switches, usually made of stainless steel, and usually feature colored LED lighting rings. Stainless push-button switches cost more than rocker switches but give your dash a clean, modern look.

Battery Switches

Boat battery switches (also called battery selector switches and battery disconnect switches) are larger switches that serve to connect or disconnect your battery bank(s) from your boat’s electrical switches. With a single-bank system, a battery disconnect switch can be used to isolate the battery from the electrical system when the boat is not in use, preventing discharge. With a two-bank battery system, a battery selector switch can be used to:

  • Disconnect both banks from the electrical system.
  • Connect both banks to the electrical system simultaneously.
  • Connect either of the banks one at a time.

Boat Switch Functions

Boat dash switches have different functions, which can be confusing. Among the more commonly used switch functions are: Read More

Lighted Boat Switches

One of the main reasons push button dash switches and panels are exploding in popularity is that most are LED lighted. The lighted LED switch ring is not only attractive but also conveniently indicates whether the switch is on. Read More

Boat Rocker Switch Covers

Switch covers for Carling, Cole Hersee, Blue Sea, and other marine rocker switches are largely interchangeable. Most are based on the Contura design. Replacing switch covers is an easy and inexpensive DIY way to upgrade the look of your console. Read More

Marine Switch Panels & Dash Panels

Boat dash switches are typically wired together into a cohesive panel controlling the boat’s electrical systems. This panel can be mounted in a cutout directly into the fiberglass or aluminum of the helm station, or into a panel, usually made from marine acrylic or plexiglass. A separate panel is great for covering old cutouts when upgrading your switch panel. Read More

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Commonly Asked Questions About Switches & Panels 

What does a boat rocker switch do? (show/hide)

What is the nav switch on a boat? (show/hide)

What is a rocker switch panel? (show/hide)

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