If you love being out on the water – whether you are a recreational boater or have decided to pursue a career as a marine technician – it’s important to know some of the most common issues boaters face while at sea and how to fix them or prevent them from happening in the first place. Nothing can ruin a great day of boating faster than engine trouble, so read on to learn what to do to keep from breaking down and be prepared.
1. Engine Won’t Start
You turn the key in your boat’s ignition and…nothing happens. This is not good. Typically, this is an electrical issue – such as a low/dead battery or a break in the circuit. First thing to do: check the kill switch, make sure the shifter is in neutral, and check the starter switch itself. If it’s become loose in it’s fitting on the dash, you may be able to get behind the dash and tighten up some screws to make sure it engages properly. If it’s due to a circuit issue or low battery, you should remember to inspect, clean and replace your wiring on a regular basis and also consider keeping a second battery bank onboard to prevent future issues.
2. Boat Engine is Sputtering/Losing Power
The number one reason boats break down is that they run out of fuel. If you’re sure that isn’t the problem, you probably have a problem with your filter or plugs. Carry a spare in-line fuel filter with you on your boat to replace it if necessary. If you don’t have a spare, clean out the filter element, remove any debris or clogs, and drain any water that has built up. Afterwards, be sure to vent the engine before restarting. To prevent issues, keep your fuel tank full when storing your boat for long periods – otherwise condensation can add water to your gas. You can also use a fuel stabilizer as a preventative measure.
3. Engine is Overheating
If the needle on your temperature gauge goes into the red zone, your engine is likely overheating. This usually means that there is a blockage or clog in the raw water intake (like seaweed or a plastic bag). Snake out the blockage with a soft wire or rod, and that should get the water flowing again to cool the engine down. Be sure to regularly service, maintain and replace the impeller and check for loose clamps or split hoses.
4. Motor Suddenly Stopped
You’re cruising along and all of a sudden, the motor stops. Hopefully, someone just hit the kill switch by accident, or maybe you are out of gas. It could also be a blown fuse, tripped breaker, loose electrical connection or corrosion. Check for all of the above. If your battery terminals are corroded, clean them with a wire brush and treat with anti-corrosion spray to keep the issue from happening again. If you can’t fix the problem yourself, you may have to call for assistance to get safely back to shore.
If you love boats and motors and life on the water, it’s time to start training for an exciting career in the rapidly growing marine industry. J-Tech Institute offers an innovative Marine and RV Technician Repair Training Program that will provide you with the hands-on training you need to start a rewarding career. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our admissions department.