Sarah and Brent Bowlin, along with their two children Mary Grace and Miller, make up Mom with a Map. With full-time travels on the horizon, the crew is well on their way to exploring the seven seas and all 50 states. The switch to lithium has been a long but worthwhile journey for their boat. With 540 amp hours of our amazing Battle Born LiFePO4 8D battery technology onboard, the Bowlins have no more battery anxiety for their system.

Meet the Bowlins:

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, the Bowlins first decided to live on a boat because they wanted to make a big change. As avid travelers, they booked a trip about 5 years ago to head to the West Coast for a month. When returning home, they realized the vacation wasn’t long enough. That’s when the plan to casually look for a boat became a reality, and the crew first cast their lines in May 2020.

Their first major travel goal to travel through the Great Loop was achieved this summer. No small feat, the circuit consists of the Intracoastal Waterway, New York canals, Great Lakes, and crossing through the Gulf of Mexico.

With a “Loopers” flag given exclusively to people who have cruised the route, the Bowlins get to make friends on the water easily with people who have also achieved it. As they spend more time on the open water, they’ve been making more friends and connections than ever before.

Not having to dock at a marina and rely on shore power has saved them plenty of money on fees and helped to cut down on generator usage.

Some advantages and disadvantages that come with living on the open seas include the freedom to travel and immerse the kids in interactive historical lessons. It’s like a field trip every day, and they’re also very appreciative of marine biology and the science behind it. The only disadvantage that comes to mind is how far away from family on land they are but can connect through phone and video calls.

A Difference From Lead-Acid To Lithium

With a lead-acid system, their boat struggled to keep up with larger power draws like running the fridge. They’d have to run it at night only and set an alarm early in the morning to make sure that the food didn’t spoil during that time.

Here’s what the Mom with a Map crew is running in their vessel, a 2003 Cruisers motor yacht 4450 named “Light and Salty”:

-2 BB8D 270Ah 12V Battle Born Batteries

-1 Victron Multiplus 12V/3000W Inverter/Charger

-1 Victron VE Bus

-1 Victron Lynx Distributor

-1 Sterling Power 12V Alternator Protection Device

-1 Victron Venus GX

-1 Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor

The batteries run most of the inside systems. Here’s some of their biggest power draws from their inverter and battery bank on their 120V VAC line:

  • Galley Refrigerator/Freezer
  • Outdoor Drink/Ice Fridge
  • 4 TVs and Internet
  • Every outlet on the boat
  • Inverter feed

They love to power their Instant Pot air fryer and electric kettle, as both are able to draw enough power from the inverter.

“It’s honestly a blessing that we were able to get Battle Born batteries when we did because they make such a difference,” Sarah said. “We can now run heavy power draws such as the air fryer, which wasn’t possible before.”

The Bowlins are excited about the technology on their boat and how lithium overall is the newest and best option in marine batteries. When purchasing their boat, they knew the lead-acid batteries needed to be replaced soon. When on a boat, every pound matters, as does quick charging when there’s so much of the ocean to be explored!

“It’s also nice to not run the generator and we’re able to hear so many sounds on the water. The other night, we heard dolphins coming up for air,” said Sarah.

For a system similar to Mom with a Map’s, check out our 600Ah marine bundle option, which has everything you would need to cruise on a supercharged lithium energy source.

The family is additionally grateful to have made the switch to lithium over lead-acid. Earlier this year, the family had their carbon monoxide alarms go off. The boat still had a few lead-acid batteries that were necessary to power their bow thruster. It was overcharged due to the charger putting out too many amps and began to bubble battery acid that leaked hydrogen, an extremely flammable substance that also displaces oxygen. If you’d like to read more about their situation onboard and cautionary tale, click here.

Sarah also has an informative blog about the dangers of lead-acid in the works, so stay tuned for more!

Future Plans for the Mom with a Map Crew:

Sarah and Brent have planned the perfect course for heading south to the winter: they’ve got stops planned along the unexplored coastline of Georgia and will eventually end up in the Bahamas.

Sarah’s advice for anyone looking to upgrade the system is to ask questions, budget time and money for the project to be completed, and be realistic with your goals. Many more installers are confident in their capabilities now, so it’s easy to find the assistance you need.

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