Car batteries aren't really designed for use with trolling motors, which really require a deep-cycle battery instead. Car batteries are designed for very high loads for relatively short periods of time and then recharging completely. A trolling motor puts a mid-range load on the battery for an extended period of time and it can be hours or days before it sees recharging. Most lead-acid batteries will last far longer if only drained to the 50% charge level. Draining them further than that generally shortens their life drastically.
As for the battery and what happens.... if it is a wet cell battery that is not sealed, then the electrolyte will pour out and that can be a problem since it is mostly sulphuric acid.
Ideally, you should be using an AGM deep cycle battery, since they are sealed, and inverting them won't cause them to leak acid.
Given that you're in fresh water, a 12 VDC battery won't be much of a shock hazard. However, you don't want the battery sinking to the bottom of the lake, if you can avoid it, since the battery is a heavy metal poison when you get right down to it.
The battery, regardless of type, really should be secured in a battery box, that is strapped or bolted to the bottom of the boat. This will help contain the acid if the battery is inverted, and also prevent it from falling out of the boat—and possibly taking your trollng motor with it.
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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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