Use the amperage draw of the starter or the output of the alternator—whichever is higher—as a starting point to size your battery cables. You should also consider what output you have on a battery charger or charger/inverter if your boat has one. For instance, say your have an 85 Amp alternator, an 100 Amp battery charger and the starter is rated at 50 amps, you'd probably want to size it for the 100 Amp battery charger.
However, you might want to oversize them a bit, since it would allow you to increase the alternator size at a later date without having to re-wire. Oversizing battery cables is generally not a bad idea in general.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.