Select Page

Engine Safety Checks

Essential Engine Safety Checks & Tips

 

Boat Engine Safety Checks

Every skipper needs to make regular essential boat engine safety checks. Below you will find tips, all featured in our Safe Skipper app, guiding you through Pre-start Checks, Running Engine Checks, advice about troubleshooting and helpful tips.

Boat engines on the whole are pretty hardy, but they all need regular inspection and servicing, as recommended in operator maintenance manuals. Engine failure is the most common cause of pleasure vessel rescues at sea, for both power and sailing cruisers. Rescue service records confirm that many breakdowns could have been avoided if engines had been checked prior to departure.

Regular examination helps to identify problems at an early stage, so reducing the risk of engine failure. There is a great diversity of marine craft and engines, so it is essential to have aboard an operator’s maintenance manual for your vessel’s engine, together with the engine’s service history. The performance of engines depends on the use of correct fuels, lubricants and inhibitors and it is important to follow the recommended procedures for winterising and laying up procedures as recommended in your manual.

The golden rule that applies to all engines is to carry out regular boat engine safety checks.

Pre-start Marine Engine Checks:

•  Fuel levels for main and reserve tanks
•  Batteries are fully charged
•  For signs of oil, fuel or water leaks
•  Engine oil level
•  Gearbox oil level
•  Prop shaft stern gland is greased (if fitted)
•  Engine belts for wear and tension
•  Engine hoses for signs of perishing or leaks
•  Impeller for signs of wear
•  Fuel filter for dirt or water
•  Seawater cooling filter is free of debris
•  Seawater cooling seacock is open
•  Coolant levels of freshwater systems (if fitted)
•  Loose wiring

Running Engine Checks:

•  Seawater cooling system is flowing correctly
•  Engine hoses, cooling and fuel systems for leaks
•  Engine has no unusual vibrations

Troubleshooting:

Engine problems at sea can often be remedied by working through a problem’s possible cause and solution. A good operator’s manual should advise what to do if an engine does not start, the starter motor does not turn, the engine overheats, vibrates or makes unusual noises. Skippers who are prepared for such an eventuality should be able to sort out most problems without having to call for help.

Helpful Tips:

•  Carry spare engine filters, hoses, gaskets
•  Carry an engine toolkit
•  Make sure you have an engine manual
•  Familiarise yourself with how to troubleshoot common engine problems

All of this advice and more is available in our easy-to-use, quick to access app for iPhone and Android. Go to SafeSkipper.com to find out more.

 

 

How to tackle osmosis

Many owners of old GRP boats live in fear of osmosis, but what exactly is osmosis and what can be done about it? Osmosis comes about...

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Colregs Boating Rules Of The Road Skippers struggle to learn and remember the ColRegs Yachtmaster and Day Skipper course...

Boating Rules of the Road – International ColRegs

    International ColRegs Rule 7: Risk of Collision Anyone who is responsible for a vessel at sea, from the...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

Yachting Safety Briefing   Down below Lifejackets and harnesses - fitting, when to wear, clipping on Gas - risks,...

Essential Knots: Reef knot

Essential Knots: Reef knot Use: Tying two ends of rope together, often used for tying up a bundle of loose sail around the boom. Step...

Rewiring a boat – overcoming the challenges involved

Skippers need to have a basic knowledge of boat electrics, to avoid potential problems and to be able to solve them when...

Essential Knots: Clove hitch

Essential Knots: Clove hitch Use: Tying a rope to posts, bollards, rings or a guardrail. Step 1. Make a turn around the object and lay...

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

  Wherever you are boating in the world I am sure you will be using a pilot guide to aid your navigation. Often in the...

Hull inspection – the annual checks

With the boat ashore for the winter it is time to do a hull inspection - the annual checks. Are there any scratches and chips in the...

Man Overboard Drill

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the...

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor...

Capsize – understanding the risks

A skipper should know how their boat will cope with rough seas. By working within known limits and understanding the risks,...

VHF DSC radio – how best to communicate at sea

There are many ways to communicate with others at sea. What makes the VHF DSC radio the best form of short range...

Essential boat engine checklist

Boat engine checklist Engine oil level check Even if you have checked it previously, confirming the engine oil level is up...

Hourly Checks when sailing or motoring

  Hourly Checks Get into the habit of carrying out these checks and both yourself, your crew and your boat will be...

Light characteristics – how do navigators identify lights at night?

How do navigators identify the different types of light around our coasts at night and what are their characteristics?Navigating at...

Rudders and steering systems – Part 3

In the third of our three blog articles on rudders and steering systems, we look at how to replace rudder bearings and repair a water-saturated core.

Dag Pike’s Boat Survey

We're really pleased to be working with Dag Pike on some great new apps for iPhone & Android. Here'a a bit more about the first app: Dag Pike's...

Fire safety advice at sea from the Marine & Coastguard Agency

Fire safety advice for boaters Top fire safety advice at sea: 1. Fit smoke alarms, carbon monoxide and gas detectors 2. Turn...

Weather forecasting tips

Most weather forecasts present a general picture of what to expect in your area over a given period of time. We rely on such...

Keel maintenance and Repair – Part 2

If you have ever witnessed a boat colliding with a rock or other submerged obstacle you will know that there is an almighty thump and the whole boat shakes and judders. While such hard groundings seldom result in catastrophic keel failure, something has to give and even the sturdiest keels can easily be damaged by such an impact.

Essential Boat Spares for Safety

  Boats Spares Tool kit What you carry in the boats tool kit will be useful for many boat repairs, but you might want...

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Understanding marine sealants & adhesives

Sealants, adhesives and adhesive sealantsThere is a bewildering variety of sealants, adhesives and even adhesive sealants available for...

Boat surveys

A full boat survey assesses the condition of the hull, mechanical gear and means of propulsion. The survey is carried out with the boat...