Boating

ENGINE AND DRIVE SAFETY

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Of course, safety in boating certainly applies to your engine and drive. It always helps to review some safety basics, whether these come naturally to you or not. These questions might be basic for you, or you might learn something, who knows? —John Tiger (Answers on page 22)

1. You have some work to do on your engine’s power trim-and-tilt system. It needs some scraping and repainting, and fluid topped off. What might you do to ensure a safer working environmen­t?

A. Tilt the engine all the way up, and secure it with the safety tilt-lock mechanism so it can’t accidental­ly tilt down while you’re underneath.

B. Put a drop cloth below so paint scrapings and trim fluid don’t clutter up the area.

C. Buy aftermarke­t paint and trim fluid to save money.

D. None of the above

2. Your propeller is beat up from hitting some rocks and stumps. It’s definitely time to fix it. You’re pretty good with tools, but have never fixed a propeller before. What’s the best way to proceed?

A. Leave it on the prop shaft to work on it, and put the engine in gear so the propeller won’t turn while you’re hammering and filing it.

B. Use a backing hammer when you hit it to minimize the chance of breaking a blade.

C. Paint it when you’re finished working on it.

D. Remove the propeller and bring it to a profession­al propeller repair shop because you could easily do more damage than good.

3. Your next boating trip is to a river 300 miles away. In checking your trailer for the trip, you find the lights only work intermitte­ntly. The lights and wiring are old, and you can see chafing and some cracks in the wires themselves. What’s your best course of action to correct the problem before your trip?

A. Fix the ground wire; it’s usually the

source of all trailer wiring problems.

B. Tow during the day so the lights not working are less of an issue, and you’re less likely to be stopped.

C. Replace the lights and wiring with a complete trailer-light replacemen­t kit. These are relatively inexpensiv­e, and the entire job would take only a couple of hours.

D. None of the above

4. Your engine starts and runs well, but it sometimes stalls when you put it in gear. This was a constant source of headaches last season. You’ve become adept at compensati­ng for it, but it has resulted in problems and even arguments in the past, especially when docking. What’s the best course of action?

A. Raise the idle-speed adjustment on the engine so it idles much higher; this should eliminate the problem.

B. Work harder at your ability to quickly restart the engine and put it in gear so you can avoid safety issues when docking.

C. Bring the engine to a good technician who can diagnose the stalling problem and repair it effectivel­y. The stalling may be due to a low-idle speed setting, or it may be something else such as a lean condition at idle, a shift interrupt switch malfunctio­ning, or some other malady.

D. All of the above

5. You’re at the dock, the sun is shining, and it’s 85 degrees—you’re ready for a day of boating and watersport­s with family and friends. You switch on the blower before starting the engine, and you can’t hear anything. Usually you can hear the whine of the electric blower motor. Your crew is waiting... What do you do?

A. Crack a beer and party at the dock instead.

B. Check the blower’s fuse (or breaker) for the problem, and see if the blower motor is getting 12 volts. This may quickly solve the problem.

C. Raise the engine hatch and let it sit for 10 minutes to clear out any potential fumes before cranking the engine.

D. B and C

E. None of the above

6. You’ve always boarded your boat from in the water by stepping on the engine’s anti-ventilatio­n plate. This weekend, you’re bringing several friends to the lake for a day of watersport­s, including tubing, wakeboardi­ng and swimming from the boat. You should consider:

A. Installing a transom boarding ladder.

B. Installing a planing plate on your engine; not only will this improve planing, but your crew can step on it when boarding from the water.

C. At the very least, buy and stow a removable boarding ladder that fits over the gunwale; it’s much safer than stepping on the engine to board.

D. A and C

E. None of the above

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