Although boats are becoming bigger and better, some breakdowns remain unavoidable. Regular boat maintenance can, fortunately, help prevent such problems. Personal knowledge in boat repair can also come in handy, especially when you are out at sea. You can start with learning the common causes of boat breakdowns.
The engine is overheating
If you see your temperature gauge rising, your engine may be heating up. This is often caused by a lack of water flow in the cooling loop. Since outboards and small inboards don’t have radiators, they use the water they are floating on to cool their engines. If the water stops flowing, this may lead to overheating. To solve this problem, remove all obstructions in the water like weeds and plastic bags. Have your marine pumps and impeller serviced regularly as well.
The boat won’t start
An electrical issue is usually to blame if the boat won’t start after turning on the ignition. Check your kill switch and ensure the shifter is in neutral mode. Also, inspect, clean and replace any faulty wiring connected to your ignition switch. If the starter still won’t respond, check that the battery is firmly connected.
The boat won’t shift
When the boat won’t accelerate, the shifter is most likely not engaging with the transmission. Check that the cable is attached to the shift lever. If the cable is sticking due to internal corrosion, try to wiggle it free. Transmission failure is often caused by lack of oil so keep it at the recommended level. Be sure to maintain and service the cables regularly.
The boat won’t steer
Are you having trouble steering the boat? Check if the steering system is low on hydraulic fluid or if there is a leak. Add fluid as prescribed to get the system running. If you notice any leaks, see if you can tighten the fitting.