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Tips for checking the machine

Most boat failures come from poor engine maintenance. In this particular article we give you simple engine control tips to prevent unwanted breakdowns between your holidays. 
Of course, the advice below cannot replace expert engineers who will check each case individually.
Water filter

A clogged water filter will restrict the flow of cooling water which can lead to engine overheating. To clean the filter, first make sure the marine cooling valve is turned off. Then unscrew the cap of the filter body, remove the filter and clean it.  You can clean it with an old toothbrush. Then put it back on, screw the lid on tightly and turn on the faucet. After starting the engine, always check that the raw water system is flowing properly.

Battery switch

Activate the starter battery before starting. Do not turn it off while the engine is running as this may damage the alternator and electronics. 

Bilge fan

If your engine has a bilge fan or engine room extractor fan, run it for a few minutes before starting the engine. 
Fresh water level
Some   engines have fresh water cooling systems as well as raw water. Before starting the engine, remove the head tank cap and fill with a water/antifreeze mixture to bring the level to within about 50mm of the top. Replace and tighten the cap.   
Belts, hoses and engine leaks
Check belts and hoses for cuts, tears or fraying. The alternator belt should be checked for tightness and adjusted if necessary. Also watch for any oil or coolant leaks.
Fuel filter
Some   engines have a clear water separator/filter in the fuel line, commonly known as a primary filter. Check the clear bowl for water or dirt and drain any obvious contamination. This is done by unscrewing the drain screw under the bowl and draining the contaminated fuel into a small container.
Gearbox oil level
Marine engine gearboxes are usually located in tight spaces and are difficult to access. However, they should be checked periodically. Check the gearbox oil level with the dipstick. Gearboxes need a special type of oil and if in doubt refer to the engine manual for the correct quality to use or ask an expert.
Make sure you have enough fuel for the trip you want, plus a reserve of about 25% of the tank's capacity. It's surprisingly easy to underestimate your engine's fuel requirements and every year there are   many calls of boats out of fuel. 
Stern lubricant
Boats with inboard engines that have traditional transmission systems often have stern oilers. These have a screw handle which should be turned a full turn before and after each use of the motor. 
Engine oil level
Check the engine oil level with the dipstick and top up if necessary to keep the level between the maximum and minimum levels.
Our final tip here is to remember to check your boat's engine manual for specific requirements, service intervals, and always have engine spares, including filters, hoses, belts and coolant.

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