It’s hard to ruin a day of boating. That is, however, until something goes wrong with the boat. While some problems are almost unavoidable, some can be prevented, or at the very least, temporarily remedied, so long as you are prepared. In today’s blog, we here at Maui Worx would like to share with you some common boat problems, potential repairs, and preventative measures. If you are in need of boat maintenance, marine surveying, leather or vinyl repair, thermography, or other marine services, stop by our boat repair shop or contact us today at 505-675-1005.

Sputtering and Losing Power

If your boat is fueled up, yet still feels like it’s running out of fuel and strength, there is likely a problem with the filter or a plug. By simply replacing the in-line fuel filter, you should be able to get up and running. When replacing a filter, remember to vent the engine box thoroughly before restarting. If the gas and filter are fine, the problem might be the spark plugs. Boats with older outboards are especially prone to this issue.

Broken Belt

Although you typically can’t hear the belt break over the sound of the engine, you will be made aware of the problem when your voltage meter or warning light signals a problem. Carrying a spare belt along with the tools needed to change the belt can be a day-saver. Similarly, regularly tightening and inspecting your belt along with the pulley — sometimes pulleys can have rough spots that will quickly ruin a new belt — can help prevent this from ruining your day out on the water. 

Overheating Engine

Notice that the needle on the temperature gauge is rising? What do you do? Typically when this happens it is an indication that there is a lack of water flow in the cooling loop. Unlike cars, most boats do not have radiators, and instead, use the water around them to cool the engine. If this water is not getting pumped in, your engine is sure to overheat. When looking to remedy the situation, inspect the impeller and make sure that there is nothing obstructing the raw water intake. If you experience overheating, have your go-to boat mechanic take a look at the exhaust system and inspect for corrosion or blockage. This simple boat maintenance trick can go a long way.

Won’t Start

Turning over the key to hear nothing leaves you with a sinking feeling. More often than not, when this happens, it is an electrical issue — perhaps something like a dead battery or disrupted circuit. When trying to repair this issue, first check the kill switch, make sure you are in neutral, and then make sure that the starter switch is not loose in its fitting. Surprisingly, many problems can be fixed through these steps and by adjusting any loose or poor connections. To prevent this from happening, inspect, clean, and replace old wiring regularly.

Extreme Vibration

Are you noticing that the faster you go the more you boat is vibrating? This could be an indication that there is a problem with the prop. All it takes is a little nick on the blade to create imbalance and vibration. If you notice this, don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment with your boat repair shop. Also, consider keeping a spare prop on your boat that can be easily swapped out.

Trouble Shifting

If you are unable to get your boat to leave idle speed and the shifter will not engage the transmission, there are a few potential problems. For those with electronic controls, it could be a fuse. However, most small boats use mechanical cable shifts, meaning the problem likely lies in a stuck or broken linkage. When performing your inspection, start at the gearbox and look for detachment and corrosion. If the problem appears to be on the transmission side, there is little you can do on the water. It’s time to call the boat repair experts. When transmissions fail, it is more than likely because of low fluid or gear oil — yet another reminder of the importance of boat maintenance!

Difficulty Steering

Not only can it be scary, but it can also be infuriating to turn the wheel and not have it respond. If you experience this, it more than likely has something to do with the hydraulic fluid of the steering system. It could also be a loose connection of the steering arm. Meticulously tracing the lines is the surest way to locate the problem.

Need boat repair or marine maintenance? Stop by Maui Work or give us a call today at 505-675-1005!