Regular Boat Engine Maintenance

Are you doing your due diligence in giving your outboard boat engines the proper regular maintenance it needs?  To prevent unnecessary problems/costs with your boat or premature part failures, it is important to have your boat undergo regular checks and maintenance.  With a little regular preventative care, your boat and all its parts will continue to function at their fullest, saving you time and money.  Spend more time out at sea and less time and money at the shipyard.  Here are some tips to keep your boat engine running smoothly:

Regular Engine Care

After every trip, it is important and rinse out the engine with clean water.  This applies to both at sea (salt water) and at lakes (fresh water).

The general purpose is to wash out any debris that may have gotten lodged in the engine and to keep the engine clean of anything that may incrementally build up over time and cause problems later.

To do this, simply use a garden hose to put clean water through the engine.  Attach the hose where the engine picks up the water.

Let the engine run, pulling the clean water through it.  With a clean engine, you should expect the water pump to produce a good flow of water that is not hot—warm water is ok.  If the water is hot, or the flow of water is not strong, there may be some debris lodged inside.  Attempt to remove any debris by inserting a wire, moving it back and forth, and “fishing” out anything that may be stuck.

Once the motor is clean, the water is giving a strong flow and the water is not hot, disconnect the fuel line and allow the engine to use up any remaining fuel in the carburetor.  When you are sure everything is clean and the engine has used up all leftover fuel, be sure to turn everything off including the battery switch, if applicable.

Remove the engine cowling, and inspect it for any leaks (water or fuel).  If you find any leaks, you may want to have a professional mechanic take a closer look.

To finish things up, wipe everything down with a clean cloth and spray an anti-rust and lubricant (such as WD-40) on all the moving parts.  While travelling or storing, keep the engine covered with a waterproof/weatherproof covering.

Engine Journal

Many operators do not keep engine journals, but even keeping a very simple journal with a pen and paper pad can prevent problems later on.  It may be cumbersome to start one, but once it becomes a habit, it is a trivial task that is easy and quick to complete, yet can give you the insight and data to catch potential disasters before they happen.

How detailed you make it is really up to you.  Some of the things you may want to log regularly are: date (obviously), maintenance work done on the engine, travel times, when you refuel and what type of fuel is used, rpms, when any additives are added, any unusual occurrences, or even times when you get a hunch something may be wrong.  The main idea is to have solid data available to make good judgement calls, make diagnoses, and to do so confidently without feeling like you’re guessing.  Having this log may also save you some time and money when you are able to hand it over to a mechanic to speed up diagnostics.


Does your boat get the proper and regular maintenance service that it needs to keep functioning at full capacity, and for years to come?

If your boat is experiencing any problems or you’d like professional recommendations on a custom annual/semi-annual maintenance plan, get in touch with Martel Marine in Vancouver.

We handle regular general maintenance, engine repairs/maintenance, boat winterizing, spring de-winterizing, and more.

If your boat is not in able condition to be floated to our service centre, and you require ground transportation for your boat, get a hold of our recommended boat-towing partner.

For reliable boat-towing to our facilities in Vancouver, please contact City Tow Truck at 604-670-7100.  (For smaller vessels only)

For clients flying into Vancouver requiring transportation to our facilities, we recommend the YVR limo services by KJLimo.

Happy boating!

Posted in Maintenance

Are You Fully Prepared to Stay Safe On The Water?

life-saver-boat-safetyMartel Marine strongly encourages passengers of all boating vessels to practice proper safety precautions and follow all safety rules while in the harbour, or out on the water.  Below are some practical tips and guidelines that may be learned, memorized and practiced to keep all participants/guests safe.  Have fun on the water, be smart and stay safe.

  1. Always Wear Life Jackets
    Even experienced swimmers should wear life jackets to prevent drowning in the off chance that an accident, capsizing or passenger overboard happens.  Statistics say that over 90% of drownings could have been prevented with life jackets.
  2. Know Thy Boat
    Every boat operator should be incredibly familiar with all aspects of their boat, from maneuvering, emergency equipment location and operation, to diagnosing and fixing engine problems, to specific quirks that comes with every boat.  Having a strong familiarity with the all these aspects of the boat will prove invaluable in emergency situations and when the unpredictable happens.  It can be the difference between being able to act quickly and feeling helpless.
  3. Take Course on Boat Safety
    Your chances of coming out of a possible emergency/accident situation on the preferred side increase dramatically when you have taken a boating course which teaches the foundations of boat safety.  Investing time and money into a good course at a marina, harbour or community centre is a very worthy cause for the safety and peace of mind of you and your passengers.
  4. Have Safety Checks Conducted
    It is good and wise practice to have your vessel’s safety and emergency equipment checked regularly, either on a quarterly or yearly basis.  Similar to checking your home smoke alarms and condition of your fire extinguishers, having your vessel checked over by yourself or a third party is crucially important when and if an emergency does arise.  This simple task can not only save your life and the life of your crew and passengers, it could save you money.  A fine for not having your boat safety equipment in good working order can cost you hundreds of dollars.  If you do a bit of research in your community, you will likely be able to find an organization that is willing to check your vessel’s safety equipment for free.
  5. Have an Emergency Plan
    We have plans and procedures in place for earthquakes and fires in our homes.  You should also have a clear step-by-step plan for emergency situations on your boat, whether it’s engine failure out at sea, man overboard, or capsizing.  You should rehearse and memorize the plans regularly so if such a time every comes, you will be fully prepared to act accordingly in a calm and efficient fashion.
  6. Report Your Plans With Others
    Whether it’s with your boat club, marina, a friend or relative… always let a third party know of your travel plans, especially if you’re planning on travelling a long distance or for a longer period of time.  Include a description of your vessel, locations you will be visiting along with their respective dates, names of all the passengers on your boat and a brief description of the safety supplies you will have with you.
  7. Never Operate Intoxicated
    We understand boating is a lot of fun and leisure is a big reason people get into boating in the first place.  It can be tempting to add alcohol to the mix.  However, under no circumstances should anyone be operated a boat while intoxicated.  It is not only absolutely unacceptable, it is illegal and is accompanied by strict legal consequences.  Statistics claim that over half of boating deaths involving alcohol use resulted in capsized boats or passengers falling overboard.
  8. Carry a Strong Reliable Radio
    A radio is your sole line of contact with the outside world.  When venturing out into the ocean, it’s of paramount importance to have a reliable way to communicate and notify/call for help should you find yourself in an emergency situation.

We hope this list has been informative for you, as a boat owner/operator.  Boating is meant to be fun experience.  Let’s practice good safety precautions and keep it that way.

Posted in Safety