This article is an excerpt from NauticEd’s Bareboat Charter Course, a comprehensive online course that equips you with all the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully charter a yacht. The Bareboat Charter course is part of the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of online courses, fully preparing you for near-coastal sailing and sailing charters.

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Typical Sailboat Energy Usage

Here we show the devices and how much energy you would typically use on a sailing boat on a sailing vacation each day.




Navigation equipment

10 watts for 10 hours

100 watt.hrs


80 watts for 6 hours

480 watt.hrs

VHF (in standby)

3.6 watts for 8 hours

30 watt.hrs


40 watts for 6 hours per day

240 watt.hrs


5 @ 7 watts for 5 hours

175 watt.hrs

Anchor light

10 watts 12 hours

120 watt.hrs


4@10 hrs

150 watt.hrs

Fridge and freezer

50% duty cycle

720 watt.hrs

Bow thruster

4800 watts for 1 minute/day

  80 watt.hrs

Electric Windlass

1600 watts for 2 minute/day

50 watt.hrs

Electric Winches

1200 watts for 10 minutes per day

200 watt.hrs

USB charging station

5 devices at 5v and 1 amp 12 hours/day

60 watt.hrs


1200 watts for 10 minutes / day

20 watt.hrs

Electric toilets

200 watts 12 flushes 20 seconds each

12 watt.hrs

Fresh water pump 

72 watts for 20 minutes/day

25 watt.hrs

Bilge pumps

hopefully zero


LP Gas Solenoid

7.2 watts for 5 hours

36 watt.hrs

Entertainment systems

100 watts for 8 hours

800 watt.hrs

Water Maker

1100 watts for 1 hour

1100 watt.hrs

Inverter 12v dc to 110v(220v) ac*

110 watts *




4400 watt-hrs
(4.4 kW.hrs)


* The inverter drainage is left out of the total since many boats do not have one. However, note that it is a large drain of power. It is called a parasitic drain because even when the inverter is not being used it is still draining that amount of power. Make sure you switch off the inverter when you are done using it. Left on for 24 hours, the amount of energy for nothing is 110 x 24 = 2.5kW.hrs. Meaning it will run your whole house system almost empty. BIG NOTE: turn off the inverter unless it is powering something essential.

With the typical house battery capacity of about 1500 watt.hrs, the above table means that 2 big batteries could not supply the energy you use in one day. Your fridge would shut down and your very annoying low-voltage alarm would turn on (if there is one).

What all of this really means is that as the manager of the boat, you must monitor very closely your energy usage, be cognizant of its depletion rate, and properly plan to top up your batteries with energy from available sources throughout the day.

You can learn more in the Bareboat Charter Online Course....

The Bareboat Charter online sailing course is your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable sailing vacation. This comprehensive online course equips you with all the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully charter a yacht. Upgrade to the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses to fully prepare for near-coastal sailing and sailing charters.

Source: Bareboat Charter
Topic: Bareboat Chartering
Authors: Ed Mapes, USCG Captain Master Mariner. Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.