Tips For Boat Owners

Tips for boat owners to remember and to take care off:

  1. Maintenance of Watercraft & Engines:

Winterisation: Please read your manufacturer’s manual on how to set your motor for winterisation and also how to reset it back after winter months has passed. Different manufacturer’s will have different instructions.

Always park your boat with empty carburettors. Petrol evaporates over time then the two stroke oil stays behind which clog up and block the carburettors. If this happens the only solution is to take the carburettors of and clean them thoroughly. Don’t empty your carburettors at the dam as you will damage the needle & seat of the carburettors on the bumpy road back home. Only do it when you get home. Disconnect your fuel and run the motor on earmuffs at home until motor dies. Before you tow your boat for the next trip to the dam, connect your fuel and run fuel into the carburettors to protect needle & seat on the bumpy road to the dam.

Please note that petrol cannot be left in a container longer than 3 months without additives         as they get old and your fuel injected motor will not run properly.

  1. Buoyancy:

At least 60%-70% of the hull must be fitted with SAMSA approved buoyancy material. Newer boats are fitted with the correct approved material from their manufacturers with inspection hatches to do the buoyancy inspections.

If your boat has not been fitted with the inspection hatches or the correct buoyancy material, or if you are not sure, please ask your nearest marine shop to do an inspection and to advise you accordingly.

The two preferred materials to use for buoyancy is XPS foam and the normal foam. Some boat owners also fill plastic bottles with foam which is fine, but then the plastic bottles must only be the HDPE – 2 plastic quality. You will see that under each plastic bottle marked with this sign. They can take the heat and expand. Other plastic containers will crack and brittle which may cause the foam to leak out of the bottles. (2 litre cold drink bottles).

Buoyancy certificates are valid for 5 years. After expiry date an inspection must be done and if the buoyancy is still fine, you will be issued with another 5-year buoyancy certificate.

  1. Boat Servicing – What a customer needs to know about every service:

            According to most of the manufacturer’s manuals, all outboard & inboard motors must be FULLY serviced every 100 hours or at least once a             year! Even if your watercraft has been standing for a whole year and not been used once, you still have to do a minor service which consists             replacing the Gearbox Oil & the Impeller. ONLY Evinrude E-Tec motors can be serviced every 300 hours or at least once a year as per             manufacturers specifications. Evinrude’s new G2 motors can be serviced every 500 hours or at least once a year.

            A FULL service on a two stroke motor consists of the following parts to be replaced as per manufacturer’s specifications: (1) Spark Plugs, (2)             Impeller, (3) Fuel Pump, (4) Fuel Filter and (5) Gearbox Oil. If it is carburettor motors, the carburettors also needs to be cleaned properly.

            A FULL service on a four stroke motor consists of the following parts to be replaced as per manufacturer’s specifications: (1) Spark Plugs,             (2) Impeller, (3) Fuel Pump, (4) Fuel Filter,(5) Oil Filter, (6) Gearbox Oil, (7) Engine Oil. If it is carburettor motors, the carburettors also needs              to be cleaned properly.

            On all fuel injected motors, both two stroke and four stroke motors, a diagnostic report should be carried out to obtain a history of your motor             and to make sure all is in order.

            Always use the correct spark plugs as per manufacturer’s specifications. We find that some boat owners have fitted the incorrect spark plugs             but this has a possibility to blew the CDI or ECM on the motor, so it is very important that they are according to specifications. Please don’t             use any spark plugs!

            Do not partly service your motor/s as it may lead to expensive damages because you tried to save some money. It may also lead to failure             deep in the ocean when nobody is near you for any assistance or help and this can lead to a really bad situation.

  1. Troubleshooting on watercraft – What to know and what to do:

Fuel Problems: Check carburettors are clean and not blocked.

                        Check fuel pipes are open and not blocked.

                        Check Fuel connections.

                        Check Primer bulb that it is hard and not leaking.

                        Check that the fuel filter/s are clean.

Ignition/No Spark: Check Spark Plugs cleaned and not dirty.

                            Check spark plugs for spark.

                            Check Kill switch.


                * (They come loose & damage expensive electrical components).

                Check power of battery.

                Check connections on battery. (Check that poles are tight & corrosion free).

                Check battery cables.


Cooling: Check that water is pumping out & feel the temperature of the water.

               Check intakes on gearbox are open and not blocked.

Before you launch your boat check the following:

Battery power

Kill switch

Fuel quantity

Fuel line and primer bulb for any leaks

Steering system

Drain plugs


Safety equipment

Last but not least check rods & tackle              

  1. Fuel Injected Two Stroke Motors vs Fuel Injected Four Stroke Motors:

A two Stroke motor is cheaper on a service, maintenance and repairs. They are also lighter in weight. A fuel injected two stroke motor use more or less the same fuel consumption than the fuel injected four stroke motor, in some cases less.

A four stroke motor is a heavier motor. There are more serviceable parts to be replaced at each service and this can have a bigger chance to fail than a two stroke motor as there are more moveable parts which can break. Every 1000 hours is an expensive service as the valves needs to be re-seated and new valve-stem seals needs to be replaced. Services are more expensive than a two stroke service. They might be lighter on fuel but expensive services make it more expensive to run overall.

Remember your servicing on your four stroke motors takes place more often than on some two stroke motors. This means more time away from the water.

  1. General Q & A:

Can I skip a service – No, not according to the manufacturers manual.

Can I skip certain parts at services – Preferably not but it depends what parts needs to be replaced. If the technician advise that certain parts must be replaced, listen to his advice and replace these parts.

What about my old parts? – Always ask the marine technician to give you your old parts back as evidence that they have been replaced! You can then destroy them yourself when at home.