3 things to look out for if your boat's engine won't start

There are a number of components that go into creating the perfect boating day out. One of the most important? A fully-functioning engine.

If you've pulled up to the marina and found your engine won't start, don't despair - there are a number of things you can look for that may explain your troubles.

Here are three reasons why your boat engine won't start, and how you can fix them.

1. Is the safety lanyard connected?

The safety lanyard, also known as the kill cord, is one of the most crucial devices on your boat. It works to stop the boat in the event that a person is thrown overboard. It consists of a length of cord that connects the kill switch to the engine. The helmsperson can attach the cord to their wrist or jacket, and if they are thrown from their seat, the cord is pulled and the engine stops.

This prevents injury to the person and allows them to easily get back on the boat.

When the safety lanyard isn't connected the engine will not crank. Therefore, if your engine is failing to start, simply check if your lanyard is attached. If it's fallen out, pop it back in and you may find your engine starts!

Find out how to troubleshoot a failed engine.Ensuring your safety lanyard is connected should keep your engine cranking!

2. Is the gear in neutral?

If after checking the safety lanyard your boat engine still won't start, it's time to look at the shift lever position. It's incredibly easy to leave your boat in gear upon stopping. However, when heading back out into the water you may find that this easy error prevents the engine from starting. This is because many boats have a safety mechanism that doesn't allow the engine to operate when left in gear. Wiggle the lever in and out of gear a few times before placing it into neutral. After a while, your engine should tick over and start! 

3. Do you have a fuel problem?

Boats can experience a number of fuel problems for a number of reasons. These are some of the most common:

  • Not having enough gas: Sounds simple enough, right? However, it's easier said than done. Always carry spare gas caddies in the event of a failed engine.
  • Failing to leave the air vent open: In order for the engine to run, the gas tank's air vent must be left open. The air vent ensures proper ventilation of the tank and relieves both vacuum and pressure. If the vent is closed, air cannot get in and you cannot withdraw fuel, thus causing your engine to stop running. Make sure the vent is closed when troubleshooting your engine's failure.
  • Fuel lines are obstructed or bent: Just like that of a garden hose, if your fuel line has a kink or is obstructed, the gas flow will stop and the engine won't run. If you suspect that your fuel line is to blame, check that nothing is placed on it or that it isn't stuck between the tank and deck.. Keeping a clear area will ensure your fuel line has the best chance of success.

These are just the basics of why your boat's engine won't start. If you're still experiencing difficulties, it may be time to seek help from the experts. Here at Hunts Marine, we offer top-quality servicing and spare parts to ensure you're back in the water as quickly as possible. Get in touch today to find out how our trusted mechanics can help.

January 18, 2019 by Castleford Media
Tags: Tips