Boat Maintenance: Flushing a Boat Engine

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-30
What You'll Need
Engine Flusher
Garden Hose

Before you dive in head first with your new, beautiful vessel, it is important to have a basic knowledge of some elementary boat maintenance. Each and every time that you take your boat onto the water, it is imperative that upon your arrival back to dry land that you flush the boat's engine. If you are sailing on salt water, the importance of flushing the engine lies within the salt water.

Salt water, if left to its own devices, will erode and be very corrosive to the boat. Likewise, if you are sailing in fresh water, then it is important to flush the engine to ensure that all of the debris and dirt from the lake are removed from the engine. 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 in order to properly flush the boat engine is buy a 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 side of the outdrive. Now that the engine flusher is properly installed, grab a garden hose and attache 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 for the water to infiltrate every aspect of the engine for a thorough clean.

As the water circulates and comes out of the vents, take note of how cool the water is. Once it is cool to touch, the engine has been flushed. In order 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 heart of the engine. All it takes is a couple of times with that happening 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.