Boating and Your Senses
Your boat and engine can giving important clues about its condition, and you don’t need computer diagnostic system to find out Some of the best information is sent directly to your senses, all you need to do is know what you see, hear means.
What about the exhaust? Exhaust is better heard than seen. But it you do see it, notice the color. Bluish smoke means burning oil, is either because a two stroke engine’s mixture is too rich, or a four-stroke engine needs new rings; or somebody poured oil into the wrong hole. It may also mean dirty carbs or stuck valves. Black smoke indicates unburned fuel, which means adjusting the carburetor, or cleaning /replacing spark plugs or wires. It can also mean a cylinder is not firing. White exhaust is usually just condensing water vapor, common in cold mornings or high-humidity days, but check if it’s seen on warm dry days
What’s that sound? Small open boats are not as well insulated as larger boats with cockpits and cabins. Either way, know the normal engine and propeller sounds. If you know what’s “normal” you’re likely to notice sounds that tell you something’s wrong. Such as:
Rough running and sputtering can mean motor overheating; with older motors without overheating alarms, listening is important. Metal-on-metal grinding, clicking or clunks could mean broken gear teeth, a bad clutch, failing bearings or lack of lubricant. A vibrating sound can mean a damaged propeller.
Smell Something? Gasoline odor is caused by leaking fuel lines. A “burning rubber” smell could mean a belt rubbing against a frozen pulley or overheated wiring. Rotten-egg smells could mean leaking or damaged seals.
Don’t forget that your boat itself needs maintenance too. Protect your boat and its fittings with quality canvas coverings from CMC Canvas LLC.