Boat Maintenance: Flushing a Boat Engine

boat engine flushing device
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-30
What You'll Need
Engine flusher
Garden hose
What You'll Need
Engine flusher
Garden hose

Before diving headfirst with your new, beautiful vessel, it is important to know some elementary boat maintenance. Each time you take your boat onto the water, it is imperative that you flush the boat's engine upon your arrival back to dry land. If you are sailing on salt water, the importance of flushing the engine lies within the salt water.

If left to its own devices, salt water will erode and be very corrosive to the boat. Likewise, if you are sailing in fresh water, it is important to flush the engine to ensure that all of the debris and dirt from the lake are removed. If it is not, this will cause great problems for your boat in the future, and you will have to know more than elementary boat maintenance to fix the problem.

Step 1 - Buy an Engine Flusher

The first thing that a boat owner must do to flush the boat engine properly is to buy an engine flusher. Depending on where you are from, these nifty devices might also be referred to as "ear muffs" or "rabbit ear cuffs." These are oftentimes found and your local outdoor adventure store, but these can also be found online if no such store exists in your area.

Step 2 - Flush the Engine

Once you have purchased your engine flusher, you are ready to begin your first act of boat maintenance. Place the engine flusher on top of the water intake area of the outdrive motor. Cover each water intake on both the left and the right sides of the outdrive. Now that the engine flusher is properly installed grab a garden hose and attach it to the engine flusher.

Turn on the water hose so that decent water pressure is coming out of the hose. This will run water through the engine. As you flush the engine, water will begin to flow from the vent holes in the same manner it does while you are out on the water.

Turn on the engine. This will allow for all of the water to circulate entirely through the motor. This is important because it allows the water to infiltrate every aspect of the engine for a thorough clean.

As the water circulates and comes out of the vents, note how cool the water is. Once it's cool to touch, the engine has been flushed. To ensure your boat lasts as long as possible, perform this act of boat maintenance every time you get back from time on the water. Neglecting to flush the engine after a trip allows for salt, dirt, or debris to take root in the engine's heart.

All it takes is a few of these events before there are costly repairs needed for your vessel. Therefore, it is in your best interest to take a few minutes and properly flush the engine.