If there’s something that can ruin your cruising trip single-handedly, it’s when your boat engine won’t start, leaving you stranded at the dock. Even though the engines present in watercrafts these days have complex mechanisms, they still operate on the same fundamental principles. Marine engines require fuel, ignition, air, exhaust, and compression to start and run smoothly. Therefore, if any of the mentioned elements break or get damaged, the engine may encounter trouble starting.
When that’s the case, you can consider the following reasons for your boat engine not functioning properly:
1- Making Pre-Ignition Errors
Before you tear up your boat engine looking for the issue, it’s best to ensure you’re following the right pre-ignition steps to crank up your boat. Even the most seasoned boaters sometimes make errors, which is why it’s best to double-check the boat’s correct starting sequence. Also, depending on the type of your boat, these steps might differ from model to model.
2- Leaving the Safety Features Turned On
Another simple mistake many new boaters make is to leave their boat’s safety features turned on. For example, most modern boats come with an ignition interrupt switch that must be connected when your boat is functioning to avoid mishaps.
3- Starting the Boat When It’s Not in Neutral
Furthermore, most boats need to be put into neutral before the engine can start. Therefore, if that’s the case with your boat, it could be that your watercraft is in gear that’s preventing the engine from cranking up.
4- Disconnected or Dead Battery
Suppose your starter is engaged, yet the engine is cranking unsteadily. If that’s the case, your boat engine’s battery might be down. On the other hand, if the engine isn’t turning over at all, it’s likely the battery is dead. You can check if the latter is the case through a voltmeter.
Moreover, if your boat has two batteries, you should ensure that they’re both turned on and connected to the boat before you try starting the engine.
5- Empty Gas Tank
Another obvious reason your boat engine won’t start is that your fuel tank is empty. Check the fuel level before leaving the shore next time even if you remember filling up the tank the last time you took your boat out on the water. Plus, it’s also a good practice to bring extra fuel with you on the trip just in case.
6- Pinched, Loose, or Dirty Fuel Lines
If your boat’s fuel lines are loose, kinked, or accumulating dirt inside, your boat engine might not start. In addition, it’s essential to make sure all connectors are tightly sealed, and the fuel system’s O-rings are intact.
7- Blocked Exhaust or Air Vents
Similarly, gas tanks also require adequate ventilation for ignition. Hence, it is better to ensure the boat’s air vents aren’t obstructed due to anything, especially when you’ve recently taken your boat out of storage.
8- Damaged Spark Plugs
Finally, faulty spark plugs can also restrain you from cranking up the boat engine. If you’re noticing that your engine is running erratically when idling or performing poorly in general, it might be because the spark plugs need to be readjusted or completely replaced.
The next time your boat engine won’t start, we suggest using this article as a checklist. This will help to ensure you’re not making any mistake that’s restricting you!