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10 of the Best Fishing Destinations Around the World

Best River Boating Destinations: Beyond the Mississippi

8 Tips for Boat Engine Maintenance

boat engine

When it comes to your boat’s engine and its proper operation, it is always better to be safe than sorry. The engine is by far one of the most important parts of your whole boat. Nothing is worse than realizing your engine won’t start before you launch your boat, or needing a tow back to the dock.

By understanding how your engine works, you’ll be able to quickly identify any problems with your eyes and ears. Every engine is different, and every manufacturer will have different recommendations for how to care for your engine. To give you a general overview, Boatline has put together eight tips for boat engine maintenance to keep your vessel running as well as possible for as long as possible.

Pre-Use Maintenance Checks

Whether you use your boat for day cruising or fishing, you should check the following parts of your engine every time you go out on the water. It may seem like a hassle at times, but your engine will thank you in the long run.

1. Oil Level

You never want to run an engine without oil, as it will most likely come to a grinding halt or damage itself. Check the oil level before every boat ride to see if it needs any attention on your part.

2. Primary Fuel Filter

Fuel filters clear out debris from your fuel tank. When they clog up, they may lead to expensive repairs, so checking their condition before you launch will save you money in the long run. When a fuel filter is damaged or clogged, it is best to have it repaired or switched out as soon as possible to protect your boat and ensure a safe trip.

3. Cooling Water Level

When the cooling water level is too low, the engine will overheat, which can spell disaster. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to top off the water level. In some cases, a coolant may be required as well.

4. Sea Strainer

A sea strainer helps keep out all the fauna and flora from your engine. Be sure to check this before every boat ride to see if it’s clogged. When your sea strainer needs repair, it is a good idea to have it fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Not making repairs can lead to more costly damage in the future.

Maintenance Checks After Every 50 Hours

1. Change the Oil and Filter

After 50 hours of engine use, change the oil completely by draining it and adding new oil. You should also make sure to change the oil filter itself at this point.

2. Check the V-Belt Tension

When your v-belt isn’t connected properly, it will likely cause friction and prevent your boat from moving. You’ll hear a screeching sound when you start up your boat or accelerate the motor if there is an issue. If this happens, let a professional take a look at your v-belt.

3. Check Your Batteries

Every time you power up your engine, the batteries are put under stress and will lose some of their power. It is best to check the electrolyte count on these after 50 hours of use so you know that you have a properly functioning battery when you go out on the water. If the batteries are not up to snuff anymore, it is best to replace them as soon as possible.

Maintenance Checks After Every 250 Hours

1. Change the Primary Fuel Filter

While you regularly inspect your primary fuel filter, it should be changed every 200-300 hours of run time. You’ll know your fuel filter needs to be replaced if the bowl is filling up with water, if your fuel filter is dirty, or if your fuel is brown. Your boat’s owner’s manual can provide step-by-step instructions on changing the fuel filter.

By following these basic guidelines, your boat’s engine will hopefully run smoothly for many years, meaning more time on the water. It’s always best practice to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations and directions for maintaining your engine.

And, if you’re shopping for a vessel, find new and used powerboats for sale on the nationwide online marketplace at


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

Other Resources

10 of the Best Fishing Destinations Around the World

With so many popular fishing destinations, there are endless opportunities for boaters to reel in the big one.

Best River Boating Destinations: Beyond the Mississippi

If you’re up for an adventure, Boatline has compiled a list of seven of the top river boating destinations beyond the Mississippi River.

6 of the Top Lake Towns in the West

For landlocked folks out West who are looking to hop on their boat and float, fish, or play water sports, lakes are the perfect destination.

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