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5 Things to Check if Your Boat Won't Start



In the Chesapeake Bay, any day is a good day to be on a boat (unless there's a storm), but what happens if your boat won't start up? Discover the power of troubleshooting your modern boat! You'll be amazed at how easy it is to solve simple problems in just minutes.

Is Your Kill Switch Engaged? Attention boaters: Don't overlook the kill switch! No, we're not talking about the band. We're talking about the crucial safety feature that every boat needs. Known by various names like safety lanyard or engine cut-off switch, this little red lanyard is connected to your boat's engine. Without it engaged, your boat won't start. So make sure you always have it securely in place to keep your boat running and you safe on the water.

Battery Exhausted?

Having trouble starting your boat? One possible reason could be a battery issue. If your engine isn't cranking and your safety lanyard is securely attached, the next thing to check is your battery. It could be dead or just low, but you can easily test it with a voltmeter or multimeter. Ideally, your battery should read between 12.6 to 12.7 volts, although some AGM batteries may show 12.8 volts. If it reads below 12 volts, it's likely in need of a jump or replacement. Remember to connect the probes correctly to get an accurate reading, or you might end up with the opposite result.

Left in Gear? Having trouble starting your boat even though your battery and kill switch are all good? Don't forget to check your shifter! Many boats have a neutral safety switch, so if it's left in gear, your boat won't start. Simply move the gear slowly back to neutral, and you should be able to crank your boat. Could it be a fuel issue? When was the last time you filled up? Fuel gauges can be unreliable, so it's important to physically check your fuel level. And it's always a good idea to have extra fuel on board, just in case you decide to go on a longer trip and need that extra boost. Another common fuel issue could be your fuel's primer.

Primer Issue Is your boat equipped with a primer bulb? If it is, make sure to pump the bulb several times to ensure it fills up with fuel and feels firm. If it doesn't, investigate for any visible signs of leaks or a faulty valve in the primer bulb. Electric primer? Take a second look to ensure it's functioning correctly. Disconnect the hose connected to your intake or carburetor and manually operate the primer to see if fuel sprays out. If no fuel comes out, it might be a good idea to have your primer serviced.

Ventilation Issue? Make sure your boat starts smoothly by ensuring sufficient air flow. To do this, check if your air vent is open. If it's closed, you won't be able to get fuel, meaning your engine won't start. Don't overlook this simple step for a hassle-free boating experience!


Blocked exhaust Is your engine having trouble starting? It might be a blocked exhaust! Don't let small creatures cause a big problem - before you store your boat, remember to check all your exhaust vents for pesky nest builders. Can't get your boat to start even after checking this list? Don't worry, we're here to help. At Rev Tech Marine, our mission is to give you peace of mind while you're out on the water. No matter if you're at home, at the slip, or at the dock, our experts will come to you to troubleshoot the issue. We'll guide you every step of the way, making sure your boat is safe and ready for an adventure. Schedule a service call with us today!



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