If you’re a do-it-yourself type of boater and new electronics are on the horizon, a short list of some top rigging tips for flush mounting electronics should come in handy. So we came up with five tricks that’ll help you make sure the job goes smoothly—put ‘em to good use!!
1. Front to Back – Before you cut a hole, or before you even decide where it should go, spend a few minutes carefully inspecting the back of the helm station. More often than not you’ll discover wires, control cables, or other items which are all too easy to saw through, if you don’t realize they’re back there. You may find something that forces you to relocate, but in many cases, you can get wires and cables out of the way of your saw blade by tie-wrapping them or holding them away with a strip of duct tape.
2. What’s the Angle? – Many electronics which are designed to mount flush will sit at an angle to the surface they’re mounted on. When choosing the mounting location, be sure to take this angle into account; otherwise, you might cut a hole and then be unable to use it.
3. Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut – Did your unit come with mounting hardware? If there were screws included, throw them away and get some bolts with nylock locking nuts. They’ll remain secure for far longer than the average screw.
4. Full-tilt – When you run your drill to make a pilot hole for the saw blade, and again when you run your saw, make sure they’re going full-tilt before you allow a blade or bit to touch the fiberglass. A slow-moving cutting tool will often grab the gel coat, and cause splintering and chipping. Wen a blade is moving fast, it's more likely to make a good cut.
5. Sticky Fingers – As you secure the unit in place, be extra sure to seal each and every bolt hole and seam with plenty of sticky goop. 3M 5200 Adhesive/sealant is the king of sticky stuff, but some people don’t like using it because it can make removal difficult or impossible. Silicon, on the other hand, is easy to remove but rarely makes a seal that lasts for very long. Pick your poison—but whichever you opt for, make sure to use it liberally. The helm is a particularly bad place for leaks, since the water will not only saturate the electronics you’ve just upgraded to, but also will migrate onto your boat’s wires and gauges.
EXTRA VALUE-ADDED BONUS TIP: Never flush mount any electronics on a horizontal surface. Water is sure to pool on and around the unit (even if you cover it, condensation is likely to form), and eventually, will kill it.