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How to Choose the Most Suitable Boat Switch Panel?

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Daier Boat Switch Panel

The Boat switch panel can be thought of as a general panel and light switch assembly. The switch panel looks simple while still maintaining the functions of various switches. The switch panel allows cables and wires to be routed through the bottom or rear panel holes. Switches are located on the surface of the panel, while cables, terminals, and other components are hidden in plastic and metal enclosures.

If you are starting to increase the amount of electrical equipment on board, then it is time to consider installing a Boat switch panel so that you can keep them all in one place. It will be easier to control all the electronics on your ship this way.

Finding the best fit for your marine switch panel needs to determine your switch functions and requirements. In this guide, we give details of switch panels, switch types, the importance of circuit breakers, and panel wiring options. To ensure that you are well informed to select the most appropriate Marine switch panel for your vessel.

The Basics of Boat Switch Panel

As mentioned earlier, the boat switch panel is the veritable “brain” of the ship’s electrical system. All vessels with electrical systems are equipped with some kind of switch panel, but mariners who have undergone electrical modification work must change the boat panel to reflect these changes. Through this change, the operator can more easily and quickly control the entire electrical system. If the switch panel is not upgraded with the ship’s electrical components, the operator usually accesses the switch in an inconvenient scattered area. Especially if these switch panels can be located in awkward places like bilge pumps.

Marine switch panels usually have the following options

  • Switch Types (rocker switch, toggle switch, pushbutton switch)
  • Switch Light Colors (blue, white, red, etc.)
  • Switching Positions (ON-OFF, ON-ON, ON-OFF-ON, etc.)
  • Circuit Breakers and Other Protection Accessories
  • Accessories (12V socket, USB charger, etc.)
  • Material Options
  • Panel Wiring Options (no wiring, jumpers only, fully wired)

How to Select a Suitable Marine Switch Panel?

There are a few things to consider when choosing a switch panel for your boat. First, you need to determine the size of the panel. Another thing to consider is the material of the panel. Finally, you need to consider the cost of the panel.

If chosen properly, the marine switch panel can act as a “command center” for the crew on board. A location where the keys to the electrical system are stored, including gauges, lighting options, sound, ignition switches, USB ports, etc.

For example, after the ship’s electrical system is modified, the crew may need to customize switches with different functions. Assuming the crew has a 12V socket or USB port on the dashboard, they will not be accessible when the crew is driving. The switch panel used does not contain an additional opening to fit the socket, which is a simple error. To avoid this situation, first evaluate the electrical system of the ship and then purchase the corresponding panels. These are all factors that must be considered when equipping a ship with a switch panel.

  • Record all electrical features of the boat
  • Re-evaluate wiring (ensure wiring components are placed in an easy-to-access manner to the panel)
  • Determine convenient panel layout
  • Note the presence and location of built-in functions in the dashboard

Having assessed the above considerations, you can now determine which switch panel features the ship needs most.

Type of Switch Suitable for Boat Panels

One of the most important considerations in selecting a switch panel is the variety of switches used. The first step is to look at the type of switch you want, and the main focus here is on aesthetics, setting the tone for the aesthetics of the panel. In addition, the type of switch can have a considerable impact on the total cost of the panel. There are three main types of switches on the market for boat panels. Here we’ll compare the pros and cons so you can determine which type of switch is best for your application.

Rocker Switch

The rocker switch is a multifunctional switch. It can be used to control the power supply of a device in a variety of ways. With its built-in LED light, the rocker switch can easily be used as an on/off indicator. Inside the rocker switch is an operation button, which can be pressed on either end like a seesaw to connect or disconnect the circuit. They are commonly used as switches for the main power supply of electronic devices. Daier offers a variety of different rocker switch styles, including etched rocker switches, printed rocker switches, etc.

DR-A11L27GBL-LJ34 LED Light Bar Toggle Switch

Etched Rocker Switch


  • Readable at night
  • Customizable labels
  • Easy to change labels
  • Flexible position options


  • Higher cost
DR-A11625A LED Light Bar Switch Panel

Printed Rocker Switch


  • Lower cost
  • Easy to change labels
  • Flexible position options


  • Unreadable at night
  • Limited labeling options

Toggle Switch

Toggle switches are the easiest and most convenient way to manage a device. With a single tap, you can turn the device on/off, change its settings, or access its features. It is a short metal switch operated by protruding levers that move up and down. Most toggle switches look similar and do not differ in style.

ASW-07D LED Toggle Switch


  • Any voltage (12Vdc – 48Vdc)
  • Any label possible
  • Flexible position options


  • Panel etching means can’t change labels
  • No built-in indicator light

Push Button Switch

Push button switches are one of the simplest and most common. It consists of a simple electric mechanism or air switch mechanism to turn something on or off. Depending on the model, they can be operated by instantaneous or latching action functions. In general, the button itself is usually made of strong and durable material, such as metal or plastic. Some also have a backlight function for easy use.

LAS3-16H-11EM-N-HORN Push Button Switch


  • New and modern appearance
  • Built-in circuit protection


  • Higher price than other switches
  • Limited positions available
  • Panel etching means can’t change labels

Select the Backlight Option Switch That Suits Your Needs

Most crew members choose switches that include a backlight option, the main reason being that the lights are easy to read at night and act as an additional illuminator in case of disaster. Not only does it make the ship safer, but it also reminds the operator to turn off the electrical components on board.

Typically, backlighting is used to printed and etched rocker switches as well as modern buttons. Although it is not commonly used, toggle switches can also be illuminated, usually with a small indicator light on the side of the switch.

The use of different light colors in the switch determines the color of the backlight components, but the printed rocker switch depends on tinted lenses. The backlight components can be blue, red, or white, with different lighting intensities.

  • Blue, relatively bright, best used at night or in dark conditions. If the light is directed toward your eyes, we recommend using a dimmer light.
  • White, white lights are best used for etching rockers and push button switches. They’re not as bright as the blue ones, but they do have enough brightness in the dark.
  • Red, the darkest choice is red. When lighting in bright conditions, it is almost impossible to see the indicator, so it is only recommended for use at night.

Choose the Switch Function That Suits Your Needs

We know that different electrical characteristics require different positions/functions for each switch. Record all electrical characteristics on board and determine the required switch position/function.

  • ON-OFF
  • (ON)-OFF
  • (ON)-OFF-(ON)
  • ON-ON
  • ON-OFF-(ON)

Note that only ON-OFF and (ON)-OFF are available for pushbutton switches (with some exceptions).

The Importance of Circuit Breakers

Boat owners know that when they go out to sea, they need to be prepared for anything. One of the most important things is some sort of branch circuit protection, which will help keep the on-board electronics running in case something goes wrong. There are two main types of branch protection: circuit breakers and fuses. Circuit breakers provide automatic protection and are usually preferred, while fuses need to be replaced when blown.


  • Fuse block under the dash or right into the panel
  • Circuit breakers in the panel
  • Easy to reset
  • No carrying/finding spare fuses
  • Easier to install panels

Without a circuit breaker, you have to deal with twice as many wires as the panel (2 against 1 per switch). So using a circuit breaker will save a lot of installation time and free up more space for other area wiring.

How to Choose Wiring Options?

As with any other component function on a marine switch panel, there are important decisions to be made about wiring. Typically, the panel has three wiring options to choose from. Three different wiring does affect the panel price, but it also affects how long it takes you to install it.

No Wiring

Marine switch panels without wires are for professional and expert electricians/shipbuilders only. We will provide wiring diagrams and suggestions in the product, this option is ideal if you want to reduce the cost as much as possible.

Jumpers Only

Jumpers are cumbersome, technical, and there are many on the switch panel. If your new switch panel happens to be in the same location as the old one, and you know that the existing wiring has enough slack to connect to each new switch. Then this is a good choice. Otherwise, dealing with jumpers can be just as difficult as dealing with wireless devices.

Fully Wired

Full wiring switch panels are recommended for all levels of owners and operators, from novice to expert. This plug-and-play option can usually be installed without expert help and allows multiple loaders to be placed on a single switch.

If you choose to remove the circuit breaker from the panel and act as a fuse box in another location, this may result in a more complicated wiring process, especially when choosing a wireless option.


A complete boat switch panel makes navigating your boat much easier, because it brings all your electronics together in one place. It can be painful to have to go through the process of checking to see if each gadget is on or off. All the switches are controlled by the helmsman, giving the captain complete control of the ship without leaving the wheel. That means they can turn lights, pumps, and other systems on and off while steering the boat.

We hope this blog will give you an idea of how to go about choosing the most suitable boat switch panel. And learn about the role of switch panels, types of marine switches, understanding the importance of circuit breakers and panel wiring options.

If you are interested in Daier’s boat switch panel, you can browse our switch panel category, and marine switch category, or download our boat switch panel PDF and boat switch PDF to view.