Boat Wiring Advice

Marine Electrical Tips, Tricks and Troubleshooting

Boat Wiring Color Standards

Boat wiring best practices include the use of a common wire color code for several reasons.

boat wiring image
  • At installation, it greatly reduces the confusion. Often you are running several wires at the same time. If all wires were the same or random colors, you would be constantly trying to decipher which went to which device. The installation time will easily be doubled.
  • Wiring problems are inevitable, but they are easier to track down when a color code is used. When a common color wire is used through out a particular circuit, an issue can be quickly located and corrected. Reduced tech time means reduced labor bills.

Thirty years ago a common marine color code was compiled and adopted by most major boat manufacturers. Some builders deviate slightly, but the core wire colors usually remain the same.

Low Voltage Boat Wiring
Primary Color Secondary Color Standard Boat Wiring Usage
Black Low Voltage Return (Ground)
Black Gray
Black Light Blue
Black Light Green
Black Orange
Black Pink
Black Purple
Black Red Windlass Down
Black Tan Port Tab Down(Razorblade)
Black White Generator Shutdown
Black Yellow Blower Lt Ground
Blue Instrument Lights
Blue Black Indirect Lights
Blue Gray Head Lights
Blue Green Overhead Lights #1
Blue Light Blue Galley Lights
Blue Light Green Reading Lights
Blue Orange Fwd Cabin Lights
Blue Pink Night Lights In
Blue Red Mid Cabin Lights
Blue Tan Closet Lights
Blue White Step/Night Lights
Blue Yellow Overhead Lights #2
Brown Tank Monitor Power
Brown Black Fwd Bilge Pump Manual
Brown Gray Fwd Bilge Pump Auto
Brown Green Potable Water
Brown Light Blue Vac-U-Flush
Brown Light Green Vac-U-Flush In
Brown Orange Aft Bilge Pump Manual
Brown Pink Livewell Pump
Brown Red Aft Bilge Pump Auto
Brown Tan Overboard Discharge
Brown White Hi Level Alarm
Brown Yellow Blower Motor
Gray Single/Stbd Tachometer
Gray Black Aft Masthead Navigation Light
Gray Blue Stern Navigation Light
Gray Brown Cockpit Courtesy Light
Gray Green Fwd Navigation Light
Gray Light Blue Docking Light
Gray Light Green Underwater Light
Gray Orange Arch Courtesy Light
Gray Pink Transom (Swim) Light
Gray Red Port Tachometer
Gray Tan Cockpit Courtesy Light (3 Way)
Gray White Fwd Masthead Navigation Light
Gray Yellow Engine Room Light
Green Bonding/Static Ground
Light Blue Single/Stbd Oil Pressure Sender
Light Blue Red Port Oil Pressure Sender
Light Blue Blue Hatch Up
Light Blue Green Hatch Down
Orange Accessory Protected Power/Heater
Orange Black Windlass Protected Power
Orange Blue Electronics Protected Power/Gps
Orange Brown Pump Protected Power/Razorblades
Orange Gray Navigation Light Protected Power
Orange Green Radio Equipment Protected Power
Orange Light Blue Docking Light Protected Power
Orange Light Green Head Light Protected Power
Orange Purple Courtesy Light Protected Power
Orange Red 12Vdc Plug Protected Power/Inflator Deflator
Orange Tan Wiper Protected Power
Orange White Horn Protected Power
Orange Yellow Blower/Fan Protected Power
Pink Single/Stbd Fuel Sender
Pink Black Port Fuel Sender
Pink Light Blue
Pink Light Green
Pink Purple
Pink Red
Purple Single/Stbd Ignition Power
Purple Light Blue Neutra-Salt Power
Purple Light Green Exhaust Power(Thru-Hull)
Purple Orange Dioded Ignition Power
Purple Red Port Ignition Power
Purple White Single/Stbd Trim Sender
Purple Yellow Port Trim Sender
Red Unprotected Power
Red Black Windlass Up
Red Blue Stbd Wiper Power
Red Brown Stereo Switched Power
Red Gray Entertainment #2
Red Green Refrigeration
Red Light Blue Stbd Wiper Park
Red Light Green Autopilot Positive
Red Orange Port Wiper Power
Red Pink Port Wiper Park
Red Purple Protected Power
Red Tan Cockpit Tv Power
Red White Cabin Panel Power
Red Yellow Carbon Monoxide Detector
Tan Single/Stbd Water Temprature Sender
Tan Black Port Alarm
Tan Blue Single/Stbd Alarm
Tan Brown Shower Sump Power
Tan Gray Shower Sump Auto
Tan Green
Tan Light Blue
Tan Light Green
Tan Red Port Water Temprature Sender
Tan Yellow
White Searchlight Signal
White Black Stbd Trim Tab Select
White Blue Trim/Tilt Up
White Brown Trim Tab Down
White Gray Rudder Reference Sender
White Green Trim/Tilt Down
White Light Blue
White Light Green
White Orange Horn
White Pink Trim Tab Up
White Purple
White Red Trim/Tilt Power
White Yellow Port Trim Tab Select
Yellow Low Voltage Return (Ground)
Yellow Black Fire Suppression Out
Yellow Gray Head Vent
Yellow Green
Yellow Light Blue
Yellow Light Green
Yellow Orange Autopilot Computer Return
Yellow Purple Cabin Fan Power
Yellow Red Neutral Safety Interlock
High Voltage Boat Wiring
Primary Color Secondary Color Boat Wire Standard Usage
Black (OR) Ungrounded Conductor
Red (OR) Ungrounded Conductor
Orange (OR) Ungrounded Conductor
Blue Ungrounded Conductor
Green Grounding Conductor - Non-Current Carrying
Green Yellow Grounding Conductor, Shore/Earth Connection
White (OR) Grounded Neutral Conductor
Light Blue Grounded Neutral Conductor
Boat Wiring - Speakers
Primary Color Secondary Color Boat Wire Standard Usage
White Port Front Positive
White Black Port Front Negative
Green Port Rear Positive
Green Black Port Rear Negative
Gray Stbd Front Positive
Gray Black Stbd Front Negative
Purple Stbd Rear Positive
Purple Black Stbd Rear Negative
Red Stbd Front Cockpit Positive
Red Black Stbd Front Cockpit Negative
Blue Port Front Cockpit Positive
Blue Black Port Front Cockpit Negative
Black White Arch Port Aft Speaker Positive
Black Pink Arch Port Aft Speaker Negative
Black Gray Arch Stbd Aft Speaker Positive
Black Green Arch Stbd Aft Speaker Negative
Black Orange Subwoofer A Positive
Black Tan Subwoofer A Negative
Black Purple Subwoofer B Positive
Black Blue Subwoofer B Negative

Written by Kevin Hannula

May 16th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Posted in

Home > Boat Wiring Color Standards

20 Responses to 'Boat Wiring Color Standards'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Boat Wiring Color Standards'.

  1. [...] Marine IndustryStandard Boat Wiring Colors [...]

  2. [...] Our friends at have done a great job of putting together a comprehensive listing of marine industry boat wiring colors. [...]

  3. [...] a ring connector can I use any free position or does it have to be on a specific stud? Also, what wire color should I use to remain with ABYC recommendations for boat [...]

  4. [...] non-existent for older ones. Your best bet is trace each individual wire. This may be easier with a boat wiring color chart like the one that we have posted on Easy [...]

  5. [...] future reference, standard boat wiring designates black as ground and dark blue as instrument/compass light positive. Some boat wiring [...]

  6. [...] will need to supply 12v power (usually purple) to your fuel gauge. This will connect to the B+ terminal on the gauge. You will also need to [...]

  7. [...] corrosive wire while paying no attention to standard boat wiring practices – like using consistent boat wire colors for specific functions. The good news is that these sort of builders are usually (thankfully) no [...]

  8. [...] Decrease the resistance in the ground wire from the helm by replacing the old wire with a new, considerably larger wire. One great solution is to add a ground buss bar for future additions at the helm and connect it to the engine ground buss with a 4 awg black cable. [...]

  9. [...] would recommend using our list of standard boat wiring colors. This will make future troubleshooting considerably [...]

  10. [...] the boat was built using standard boat wiring colors, the input to the ignition switch should be a red/purple wire. Trace this wire back to a fuse panel [...]

  11. [...] would connect a 16awg wire from the output side of your ignition switch to your VSR. This is usually the purple wire. I would confirm this with a meter. Install an in line fuse near the ignition switch. A 2 Amp fuse [...]

  12. [...] outboard engine manufacturers have standardized their wire colors, so we should be able to work through [...]

  13. [...] am looking for an engine wiring list of colors for an inboard 350 on a 1972 correct [...]

  14. [...] are the standard boat wiring colors for your boat’s ignition [...]

  15. [...] would be in the main wiring harness. If not, it would a loose wire hanging below the flywheel. The standard boat wiring color is black with a yellow [...]

  16. [...] am looking for a list of boat wiring colors used in the engine harness on the inboard 350 on a 1972 Correct [...]

  17. [...] should be the boat wiring colors that you [...]

  18. [...] wiring the boat with all the same color wire. It will be confusing for future trouble [...]

  19. [...] best bet would be to use our Standard Boat Wiring Color Chart and trace down each individual [...]

  20. [...] are the standard boat wiring colors for your boat’s ignition [...]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.