Boating Thoughts

  • Champion Marine

Don't want to B.O.A.T?




Take care of these maintenance tasks now or they could cause you more break out much more than a thousand.


Inspecting or Changing Fuel / Water Separators

(You do have a 10 – micron fuel / water separator between your tank and engine, right?)

What it does;

Fuel / Water separator remove moisture from fuel before it gets to the engine. Outboard water separators have a ‘’sight glass’’ in the bottom to allow inspection for water without draining them through the petcock on the bottom.

Result of neglect;

Water vapor collects in gas and travels to the engine, where it can damage rings or cause piston rod and / or crankshaft failure because it isn’t has corrosive properties.

Cost to perform

A mechanic may charge around $250 and cheap insurance against ethanol fuel’s ability to introduce water to your engine.

Price of neglect;

You’re usually looking at a new power head or engine block. You probably don't want to think about it, but definitely more than B.O.A.T. per engine.


Changing the gear case lube

What it does

Changing gearcase lube regularly – usually every 100 hours, maintains optimal lubricity and also gives a heads – up on developing problems, such as leaking seals or eroding gears.

Result of neglect;

Moisture and condensation can erode lubricity and damage gears. Worse, you might not discover leaking seals in time to save the gear case from catastrophic failure.

Cost to perform;

You can change gear – case lube easily in your driveway for $30.

Penalty for neglect;

A new gear case can cost as much as $5,000.


Neglecting to Change Spark Plugs

What it does;

Spark plugs ignite the fuel-air mixture in the fuel when they’re clean, properly gapped and serviceable.

Result of neglect

Spark Plug contacts (electrodes) erode over time – especially in outboards. As the gap widens with use, the spark plug fails to ignite the fuel-air mix, resulting in fouling. Fuel economy and performance suffer first, but if a bad plug remains, sooting can destroy the engine.

Cost to perform;

Spark plugs for a V-6 outboard can cost $12 each and up. Changing them requires only a socket wrench and 40 minutes.

Penaltyfor neglect

An outboard power head can cost $6,000 and upward.


Neglecting to check the oil

What it does

Oh, yeah, boaters neglect this all the time. Please don't. Checking the oil is necessary every time you use your boat. Non-use of boats can cause seals and gaskets to fail as they dry out. This can accelerate oil leaks.

Result of neglect

Going to sea with a two quart oil shortage can damage valves, rocker bearings or cranks – and very quickly at the high rpm ranges where boats run.

Cost to perform

Free! Plus maybe 12 bucks for a quart of marine oil.

Penalty for neglect

Lose a power head or engine block and shell out $6000 or more.

Running on a Damaged, Out-of-Balance Prop

What it does

Props turn the energy of the engine into propulsion by pushing and pulling on the water. When they are undamaged, they spin smoothly with no vibration.

Result of neglect

Ding, dent or knick one badly enough and it will vibrate even though it may still push the boat. You may or may not be able to feel the vibration, but it will cause shaft “cancer”, shake the shaft, erode the seals and maybe even damage bearings and gears.

Cost to perform

Replacing a prop can cost most boaters up to $500, maybe more, for stainless steel. But a prop shop can often rebuilt the nicks or gouges, straighten the blades and eliminate the vibration for half or less the amount.

Penalty for neglect

Keep on spinning that damaged wheel and plan to buy a new gear case and a prop to boot, spending up to $6,000


Running the Battery Down

What it does

Batteries are made for starting engine and running lights, electronics, marine electronics and stereos, but most batteries are destroyed at the dock during storage. Keep an automatic charger on the batteries to keep them fresh.

Result of neglect

Batteries that should last two years won’t last one year if you fully discharge them even a few times a season.

Cost to perform

Consider a cell charger to keep your starting battery fresh and conditioned. Plug it in whenever your boat is in storage to keep it topped off.

Don’t condition – charge and you’ll buy a new battery every season. Keep batteries charged and save the cost of the charger over three years – and end those embarrassing moments at the dock.

Not Flushing Salt Water from the Engines

What it does

Many engines take in cooling water from the sea. The water works great. There is a ready supply of it, but it’s corrosive.

Result of neglect

If you leave that salty water in the engine when you store your boat, it can corrode and block the engine’s cooling jackets, destroying it.

Cost to perform

Free! Yamaha technicians say one of the biggest causes of failure is failing to hook up a garden hose to the engine to flush it with fresh water.

Penalty for neglect

Buy a new outboard in three years (if you’re lucky) instead of 10 or more.


Forgetting to Service the Water Pump Regularly

What it does

The pump impeller is made of flexible, rubber-like material that degrades over time. Changing it ensures water flow, but equally important, change it regularly ensures that the screws that hold the gear-case housing together do not corrode and lock tight.

Result of neglect

The most obvious and immediate effect is an overheating engine, which will at best end your boating day, and at worst burn up your engine.

Cost to perform

It can cost $200 to $300 to have the water pump rebuilt by a professional.

Penalty for neglect

Even if the water pressure gauge indicates all is well on a three year – old pump, those screws might be welding the gear case together. If they do, you’ll replace the gear case for thousands, not hundreds, of dollars.

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