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.

 

 

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...

ColRegs – avoiding collisions at sea

ColRegs - avoiding collisions at sea ColRegs Rule 8: Action to avoid collision (a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall...

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,...

Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a...

Boat maintenance log

Keeping a boat maintenance log is an ideal way of reminding owners what needs to be done to a boat and when. Read on for some tips,...

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...

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...

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...

Understanding tides

If you are used to sailing in tidal waters, you will know that tides can be both a benefit and a hindrance to the sailor. In many ways,...

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...

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,...

Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

Keel design is constantly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern racing yachts such as the Imoca Open 60...

What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht?

Many people dream of owning a yacht and sailing off into the blue yonder. What boating skills should you have before you buy...

Tacking a sailing boat

Tacking is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through an oncoming wind. Tacking a sailing boat calls...

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.

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...

Know your Navlights & Shapes – essential for all skippers

Know your Navlights & Shapes International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) Anyone who is...

Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches Use: Tying a rope to a pole or a ring. Step 1. Pass the end around the object. Step 2....

Boat Handling – anchoring

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

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...

Boat ownership

Owning a boat is a big commitment that should bring no end of satisfaction for the owner as well as the owner's family and friends. In...

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: Sheet bend

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

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...