Most boaters know that the 12-volt DC receptacle in their boat's dashboard can quickly corrode and become useless in the harsh marine environment. The good news is that it's easy to install a receptacle designed specifically to withstand these rigors for years on end.

The Sealink 12-volt receptacle and plug, from Marinco, are made from corrosion-resistant, marine-grade materials and lock to form a moisture proof connection; The receptacle features a watertight sealing cap, and the entire system boasts a 5-year warranty. Installation is quick and can be done with a few simple tools.

The receptacle can be surface-mounted from the front of the dash, or flush-mounted from behind it. When surface-mounting, remove the old receptacle and attach the wires to the new one. With the mounting plate around it, slip the new receptacle into the hole and screw the plate to the dash. The Sealink receptacle fits standard holes, and a rasp or file can be used to enlarge holes that are too small.

This mounting choice is best when there is no access to the back of the dash, when the hole edges have been chipped or damaged, or when a mounting plate with screws has been used previously.

When flush-mounting the receptacle, drop it into the hole so just the flange remains outside. From behind the dash, slide on the locking ring and tighten it against the inside dash surface to anchor the unit. This more installation choice, without the mounting plate, is ideal for dashboards .

To attach the Sealink plug to a searchlight, portable CD player or any other piece of equipment, simply cut off the old plug and expose a small length of wire. Then, undo the screw on the Sealink plug housing and remove the endcap and rubber collar. Feed the wire leads through the strain-relief seal on the plug bottom and attach them to the screw terminals inside. Then put the plug housing back together.

Both Sealink components work with standard receptacles and plugs as well. However, only when used together do they lock and form the special, moisture-proof seal. The few minutes required to install the Sealink receptacle and plug can save a great deal of frustration and reinstallations of ordinary receptacles and plugs in the coming years.

Suggested retail prices are $15.95 for the receptacle, $9.95 for the plug and $22.95 for the set. From Marinco, 2655 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa, CA 94558. Phone: 800-307-6702.

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