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10 Most Common Boat Engine Problems

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

The questions and answers you need to troubleshoot your motor issues.

When your engine stops working properly, you should have a good idea what the problem is, even if you’re not able to fix it on the water.
When your engine stops working correctly, you should have a good idea of the problem, even if you cannot fix it on the water.

You’ve seen the bumper sticker: A bad day of boating is better than a good day at work. But would you feel that way if you were adrift 10 miles from the ramp, with a boatload of tired, cranky passengers and an engine that won’t start? Or an outboard motor not running at full power? At that point, you need a plan.

Your first move might be to Google what causes a boat motor to lose power? If you’re lucky, you’ll find a list of reasons why your engine won’t start, and the solution to your problem will be one of the easy ones to fix. However, not every fix is easy, and not every boater is handy, and your only option might be to ask for help — either from a professional towing company or a fellow boater.

If you are somewhat handy and comfortable troubleshooting engine problems, you’ve come to the right place. If you are not handy, you can still learn and hire professionals like us to care for these problems. Check out these ten simple solutions for the most common engine breakdowns.

  1. Running out of gas

  2. The boat engine is sputtering and losing power.

  3. The engine won’t start or turn over.

  4. The boat engine is overheating.

  5. The boat motor stopped suddenly.

  6. Vibration from the engine prop

  7. The engine won’t shift into gear.

  8. Trim is stuck on the engine.

  9. Lack of preventative maintenance

  10. Broken drive belt