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.

 

 

Competent crew skills: arriving and leaving a berth

Skilled boat handling is needed when entering or leaving harbour. Crew tasks include preparing the mooring lines and fenders...

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...

Gybing a sailing boat

Gybing is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through a following wind. As with the tacking manoeuvre,...

Essential Boat Safety Briefing

Skippers Responsibilities Skippers are obliged to give a safety briefing to the crew even if they are a regular crew. At...

Essential Knots: Figure of eight

Essential Knots: Figure of eight Use: Stopper knot, prevents a rope from being pulled through a hole e.g. through a block or...

Top five windvane self steering installation questions

Top five windvane self steering installation questions answered by Sarah Curry of Hydrovane International Marine, courtesy of Viki Moore from Island Cruising NZ

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...

Essential Knots: Sheet bend

Essential Knots: Sheet bend Use: Joining two ropes together. A sheet bend is particularly useful for joining two ropes of different...

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...

Cleaning & polishing gelcoat topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

      Every Skipper Needs Accurate Knowledge of the IRPCS ColRegs As a responsible skipper it is every skipper’s duty to learn and apply the IRPCS...

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps Make Learning Rules on iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android...

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 4

Applying antifouling. Antifouling is best applied on a dry, calm day. It is best to apply the antifouling in the middle of the day to ensure the hull is dry and as warm as possible.

Distress flares – which flare, how & when to use?

How to use distress flares at sea Flares should be kept in a waterproof container in an easily accessible location such as a...

Safety Briefings – leave nothing to chance

Before giving your crew a safety briefing, it is worth considering the specific circumstances of the planned trip, the...

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...

Peer to Peer yacht charter – How can you monetize your boat?

There is a growing trend in peer to peer yacht charter. How does it work? People already rent rooms, cars and bikes from one...

Boat Improvements

My Boat - practical improvements Author - Mike Rossiter Most boat owners who have had their craft for any length of time will have made what they...

Essential Knots: Bowline

Essential Knots: Bowline Use: Making a secure eye or loop in the end of a rope. Bowlines have many uses on a boat, for example to make a...

An explanation of the IALA maritime buoyage systems – IALA A and IALA B

What are the differences between the two IALA buoyage systems, IALA Region A and IALA Region B, and where are they used?   As recently as the 1970s...

Medical Emergency at Sea

How to deal with a medical emergency afloat   If you are planning a boating trip, it is important to have at least one...

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...

Tools and spares for your boat

It is wise to have a comprehensive and well-organised tool kit and a supply of spares for your boat. This is both for routine...

Steel hull maintenance

A steel boat owner’s biggest enemy is corrosion. You don’t have to worry about osmosis or rotting timbers, instead rust is the number one issue that will keep you awake at night.

Repairing a leaking hull-to-deck joint

If you suspect a hull-to-deck joint has failed, then being absolutely sure where the actual leak is occurring is of prime...