The power of an outboard motor makes it possible to get your boat up to speed on a sunny day and make the most of the water. But like any engine, outboards also need a little maintenance to keep them running smoothly and safely. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, a bit of knowledge goes a long way in getting the most out of your outboard and ensuring your boat runs smoothly all season long.
Choosing the Right Outboardmotor for Your Vessel
Properly sizing your outboardmotor is critical to getting maximum performance, fuel efficiency and safety. The shaft length should be sized to match the stern or transom height of your boat (see below). If it’s too long, the motor will drag and cause air to get into the propeller, causing cavitation.
Choosing the Right Throttle Control Cables for Your Vessel
For the best performance, it’s important to have the proper throttle and shift controls on your outboard. There are several options available, including traditional cable systems, helm controls and digital throttles and shifters from manufacturers such as Mercury, SeaStar and Dometic Marine, and Uflex.
To find the right cable for your vessel, consult the manufacturer’s manual and review any recommendations in the owners’ handbook. It’s a good idea to upgrade your throttle cables as they wear out, so you can get the most out of your outboardmotor and avoid unnecessary downtime.
Buying an Off-Season Storage Solution for Your Outboardmotor
If you live in an area with mild winters, you may be ready to store your outboardmotor for the off-season. While some models require the use of a dealer or service center for this process, most outboards can be stored with a few basic supplies and some guidance from the owner’s manual.
When storing your outboard, be sure to protect it from moisture, dust and dirt by placing it in a clean, dry location. You should also check the oil levels and ensure that all hoses are free from rust or corrosion.
You should also inspect the jack plate on your transom and make sure it’s securely mounted to the outboard. If you notice signs of damage or looseness, consider a professional repair.
Using an In-Gear Release Button
Most outboards come with an in-gear release button that allows the operator to raise the throttle without shifting into gear. Pressing the in-gear button, which can be set to either full throttle or idle speed, can help gain control of your boat quickly, especially in a strong wind or current.
The in-gear release button is a handy feature that helps you quickly gain control of your boat and navigate in a tight spot, particularly when fighting fish. It’s also a great safety feature if you need to take your hands off the wheel for any reason.