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ABYC Cable & Wire Color Codes for Yacht, Boat & Marine Wiring

Marine & Boat Cable and Wire Color Codes

What is a Marine Wire & Boat Cable?

An insulated electrical wire and cable used in marine (boat, ship, yacht & vessels etc) for electrical wiring connection between different equipment and devices (such as switchboard and general circuits) is known as a marine wire or boat cable.

Marine and boat cables & wires are specially designed which withstand the saver effects and corrosive  environment of sea, humidity, oil and heat related to the cable insulation and materials used in it.

Marine wire and Boat cable is manufactured and produced according to IEC 60092 (60092-350 – Low  voltage & 60092-353 single and multi-core insulated wire rated for 1/3kV installation in ship)  and UL1426 respectively. These wires should be undamaged and operate normally in 75°C (wet environment) and 105°C (dry environment).

Keep in mind that you can use a regular cable and wire but it is most recommended to use tinned wire and cable in the boat and ship. Read more about Submarine Cables – Construction, Characteristics, Cables Laying & Joints.

Marine wires and cables are available in different types i.e. Marine primary wire, SAE primary wire, round boat cables, marine battery cable & flat board cables etc. In addition, there are multiple IEC rules applicable to these wires such as UL1007 / UL1569 , UL94V, UL VW-1, 60228, 60332-1 etc. All these different wires and cables have different sizes and ampacity ratings and we will discuss them in a separate post as we have to stick to the topic related to the boat and marine cables wiring color codes.

Primary Wire and Cables Color Codes For Marine & Boats – ABYC 

The proper wiring color codes used in the boat wiring is a best strategy for different wires tracing, time-saving, easy maintenance & troubleshooting.

The DIY wiring in the boat instead of a licensed technician makes a lot of trouble as it is a painful task to figure out the desired wire in the confined space and concealed areas where a bunch of wires are laid with other bundled wire.

The American Boat and Yacht CouncilABYC” recommends the following standard primary wire and cable color codes for boat and small craft wiring installation. The insulation color of the cable shows the purpose of that wire used in the boat wiring , marine engine and related accessories, device/ equipment and switchboard connections. These are applicable to the DC voltage system. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between AC and DC currents and voltages.

ABYC Cable & Wire Color Codes for Yacht, Boat & Marine Wiring

Explanation of the boat and marine wire and cable color codes with applications

  • RED: Positive Mains “+” i.e. Positive Conductor in the DC supply “L+”
  • BLACK or YELLOW: Negative Mains “-” i.e. Negative Conductor in the DC supply “L-“
  • YELLOW with Red Stripe: It is used for starting switch to solenoid or/ used for  generator to the regulator field terminal.
  • BROWN: It is used for three different boat accessories i.e. 1) wire generator armature to the regulator, 2) fuse or switch to pumps or lights,  3) generator terminal to the alternator or light to regulator.
  • BROWN with Yellow Stripe: It is used to wire the switch or fuse to the blower.
  • DARK BLUE: It is used to connect the fuses and Switches to the light.
  • LIGHT BLUE: It is used to wire oil pressure lenders to the gauge.
  • TAN: It is used to wire the water temperature to the sender gauge.
  • ORANGE: Its is used for there types of boat wiring i.e  it is used to 1) wire distribution panels to accessory switches, 2) Ammeter to alternator and generator output, 3) boat accessory fuses or switches.
  • PURPLE: It is used for two purposes i.e. 1) wire an ignition switch to the coil and electrical instruments, 2) wire the distribution panel to electrical instruments in a marine.
  • PINK: It is used to wire the boat  fuel gauge senders to the gauge.
  • GRAY: It is also used to connect three marine accessories i.e. 1) tachometer sender to gauge, 2) Fuses of switches to lights, 3) or used as a bonding wire (if insulated).
  • GREEN or GREEN with Yellow Stripe: These are bonding wires i.e. these colors coded cables are used for bonding in a boat (if insulated).

Standard Boat Wiring Colors Codes – Low Voltage

The following table shows the different color codes used for marine wires (2 wires primary and secondary) in low voltage wiring installation.

Click image to enlarge

Standard Boat Wiring Colors Codes - Low Voltage

Boat Wiring Colors Codes – High Voltage

The following table shows the different color codes used for marine cable in high voltage wiring installation.

Boat Wiring Colors Codes - High Voltage

Boat Wiring Color Codes for Speakers

The following table shows the different color codes used for boat cables in speakers wiring installation.

Boat Wiring Color Codes for Speakers

Outboard & Boat Engine Wiring Color Codes (Different Boatbuilders)

The following table shows the wiring color codes for outboard and boat engines for different manufacturers like Yamaha, Johnson, Evinrude, Mercury, Honda, Suzuki.

FunctionYamahaJohnsonEvinrudeMercuryHondaSuzuki
Battery +VeRedRedBlackRedBlackRedWhiteBlackWhite
Battery -VeBlackBlackBlackBlackBlackBlack
Temp Light/ Gauge SenderPinkTanOrangeTanOrangeTanYellowGreenPink
Low Oil Light/ Gauge SenderGreenRedTanBlackTanBlackTanBlackYellowx
No OilxTanYellowTanYellowxxBlack
Warning BuzzerGrayGreenTanTanTanBlueRedBlue
TachometerGreenRedGreyGreyGrayGrayYellow
ChokeBluePurpleWhitePurpleWhiteYellowBlackBrownx
StartBrownYellowRedYellowRedYellowRedBlackWhiteBrown
Kill SwitchWhiteBlackYellowBlackYellowBlackYellowBlackRedGreen
Safety SwitchxYellowRedYellowRedYellowRedxBrown
Trim SenderPinkBlackWhiteTanWhiteTanBrownWhiteYellowBlueWhiteYellow
Key “On” PowerYellowPurplePurplePurpleBlackYellowGray
Trim UpLt BlueBlueWhiteBlueWhiteLt.BlueWhiteGreenLt Blue
Trim DownLt GreenGreenWhiteGreenWhiteLt.GreenWhiteBluePink
Check Engine LightxxxxxGray

The above table is here in image format to download as a reference.

Click image to enlarge

Outboard & Boat Engine Wiring Color Codes (Different Manufacturers & Boatbuilders )

Yamaha Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

Yamaha Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

Evinrude & Johnson Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

Evinrude & Johnson Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

Mercury & Mariner Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

Mercury & Mariner Common Wiring Color Codes for Outboard Motors

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2 Comments

  1. rehamat m Khan says:

    Good Day,
    Dear.

    I found in this very interesting, informative and knowledge acquiring points.

    Thank you so much and appreciate your efforts.

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