Should I Leave My Boat Motor Up Or Down? Understanding the Best Position

Boat owners often face a conundrum: should the boat motor be left up or down when not in use? This seemingly simple question has complex answers, influenced by various factors like location, boat type, and usage. Let’s dive into the essentials of motor positioning and ensure your vessel remains in top shape.

Key Takeaways

  • The decision between quick departure and protection against marine growth.
  • Balancing reduced corrosion and stability needs.
  • Significance of your location and boat type in this decision.

Where Do You Live? Your geographical location is a major determinant in this decision-making process. If you’re docking in freshwater lakes or in colder saltwater areas of the Northern Hemisphere, the implications differ significantly from those in warmer, saltwater regions like the Caribbean. For instance, warm saltwater accelerates marine growth, leading to faster barnacle accumulation on your boat and motor if left down.

How Do You Use Your Boat? The frequency and manner in which you use your boat also play a pivotal role. If you plan to use your boat again soon, like the next morning, leaving the motor down won’t cause any harm. However, if your boat is going to sit idle for weeks, it’s advisable to trim the engine up to prevent growth.

Flushing the Engine Flushing the engine is crucial, regardless of the motor’s position. If you’re using the boat again shortly, skipping a flush isn’t detrimental. But, extended periods of non-use necessitate trimming up and thoroughly flushing the engine to prevent damage.

Essential Tools to Have in a Boat for Safety & Maintenance

Long-Term Storage and Freezing Problems When it comes to long-term storage, especially through winter, the position of your boat motor is critical. You should keep the engine fully trimmed down. This stance ensures all water drains from the engine, midsection, and lower unit, preventing freezing damage. Remember to summarize or winterize your boat depending on your location, which includes checking gear lube and fogging the engine with suitable oil.

A Quick Tip on Ethanol Fuel The type of fuel you use can significantly impact your boat’s maintenance, especially during storage. Ethanol fuel, commonly used in boats, attracts condensation, leading to water accumulation in the fuel tank. To circumvent this issue, opt for non-ethanol or REC-90 fuel. For long-term storage, consider aviation fuel, which has a longer shelf life.

Trimming and Electrolysis An often-overlooked aspect when deciding on a motor position is the risk of electrolysis. Stray electrical currents in the water can lead to rapid corrosion of metal parts submerged in water. This is particularly relevant in areas with heavy electrical usage around docks. To mitigate this risk, be mindful of the boat’s surroundings and consider lifting the motor to protect it from stray currents.

Off-Season Storage for Outboards Storing your outboard motor correctly in the off-season is vital for its longevity. Use a fuel conditioner, grease, and storage fogging oil as part of your routine maintenance. Always ensure the engine is stored upright, not tilted, to prevent damage. Regular maintenance like checking the propeller, lubricating moving parts, and ensuring the oil system is connected and full, will go a long way in preserving your boat’s motor.

Things to prepare before the sea trip

FAQs About Boat Motor Positioning

Q1: How does leaving my boat motor down impact its longevity? Leaving your motor down, especially in saltwater, can increase the risk of corrosion and marine growth. However, if you’re using your boat frequently, this might be less of a concern.

Q2: Is it necessary to flush my engine after every use? While it’s good practice to flush your engine after use, it’s not always necessary, especially if you plan to use the boat again soon. However, for extended periods of non-use, flushing is crucial to prevent buildup and damage.

Q2: Can the type of fuel I use affect my boat during storage? Yes, fuels with high ethanol content can attract moisture, leading to water accumulation in the fuel tank. Using non-ethanol or aviation fuel can help prevent this issue.

Q4: What precautions should I take for long-term storage of my boat motor? For long-term storage, it’s recommended to store the motor in a vertical position, fully trimmed down, with all necessary fluids changed or topped up. This helps prevent internal corrosion and damage.