Powered Boats Can Blow Your Socks off!

Powered boats can be anything from a sail boat or a Zodiac type of inflated craft that is powered by a motor. Powered boats are mostly the Cruisers that many people enjoy pottering about on both coastal waters and inland lakes, inland seas and rivers.

Power boats are fun boats that are often used in racing and to convey people from larger boats standing off shore due to their size. Some are based upon the motor launches of military design – i.e. search and rescue boats – and they may be immensely powerful.

A powerboat is usually less than 10 meters (about 33 feet) in length however there are power boats that are considerably larger. Powerboats are usually extremely nimble and fast making them great fun to drive, however, one may not do much sightseeing on a powerboat. Power boats can be rigid in construction or inflatable as mentioned previously.

Inboard and outboard power units are in general terms motor vehicle engines that have been modified for use in boats. Inboard motors are built into the boat in an engine space and importantly vented to atmosphere to expel CO emissions, whereas outboard motors are mounted on the transom making them accessible, removable, and easier to keep maintained.

It is also far easier to replace an outboard motor in the event of acquiring an upgrade or simply to replace a broken motor .When shopping around for a new boat engine ask for professional advice, and check the makers recommendations on the correct motor for the size and weight of the boat when loaded (including skipper and crew), efficiency is paramount, too small and your boat will struggle, plus you may use more fuel to propel the boat, bear in mind that in an emergency power may well be required to get you out of trouble – optimum power is cool! Boat engines are the beating heart of any powered boat, it is essential then to understand what alternatives there are available.

Outboards are also very important on a sail boat as an outboard motor will get you into or out from your moorings. Diesel engines are similar to the petrol/gasoline/diesel engines that we have in our cars. Fuel has to be carried in tanks for inboard motors and extra fuel carried for outboards.

NB. Always use specially designed fuel metal containers for storing fuels. Not plastic containers please. Check for leaks regularly, fuel leakage in any boat must be eliminated.

Fuel economy depends on the size, weight and usage of a boat, but you should get a lot of miles for your buck. Good marinas and fuel suppliers are widely available.

NB. Diesel motors are getting bad press now because of concerns about pollution. Jet propulsion use water throughput to provide forward thrust.

NB. We are not talking aero engines here folks!

Water is driven by pumps – using the principal that for every action there is a reaction. The main advantage being that there isn’t a propeller churning causing a risk to swimmers/scuba divers etc, and wildlife, unnoticed by the skipper – being run down by any boat is always bad news, slow down and look where you are going.

Water jet have inboard motors, they funnel water into an impeller that thrusts the water out the back/stern, using a style nozzle the water out through a nozzle under pressure, steering is enabled by moving the nozzle.

Solar power is an area of growing interest, utilising the power of the sun to drive boats is growing apace, of course we have had renewables driving sail boats since Noah built the ark.

Electric power, there is a growing range of electricity powered boats with the advent of battery technology, plus solar panel technology, this is an area of interest as it becomes higher tech and easy to use and maintain, and pollution free.

Using non-fossil fuelled boats seems to be taking us back to the original clean seas going way of life, abusing nothing and leaving nothing behind, quite a profound thought.

Powered boats are fun, just as much as sailboats, and can be enjoyed to the full by amateur boaters on any waters be they inland or at sea. Before buying your power boat talk to the pro’s, shop around, take a course of study run by experienced sailing professionals, join a club and talk with the old hands there, join a marina, visit boats shows and manufacturers (most have websites), then when you have decided to buy from a responsible dealership/supplier avoid online unless you really know your stuff – a lot of stolen goods are sold this way plus no one wants to pay good money for junk that is unseen and has no warranty.

Enjoy your cruise boat.

Power Units do Break Down Leaving Skippers All at Sea

Accidents do happen with any power plant be it a car/auto engine or a boat motor. Common occurrences are known, and we stress a few here so that the unaware can avoid being caught out in a potentially situation. Sadly, many of the breakdowns could be avoided with some judicious maintenance, TLC (tender loving care) costs little but by golly is it cost effective.

Change filters in a routine maintenance routine, change spark plus or at the leastclean them and de coke them, better still ask a maintenance shop to do this for you. Experienced boater will always carry spares with them especially items that are known to cause problems i.e. in-line fuel filters, spark plugs, oil for topping up etc.Avoid the risk of water in the fuel, during to off season fill the tank to the top to avoid condensation collecting and fouling the fuel supply. Using fuel stabiliser is good, when it has been added run the motor long enough to circulated it throughout the system.

Remember with diesel motors the oil can become waxed when very cold, as on cars some have heaters included to warm the oil before starting make sure the oil is warmed but do not use external flames to warm it! Drive belts do break, but regular maintenance will allow you to see when belts are worn and due to be replaced. Carry a spare.

Don’t know how to fit one? Ask your boat maintenance shop to show you, if you are a customer, they will be glad to, if not we recommend that you become one, let the pro’s take the strain it is worth every penny.

Inboard motor temperature indicator showing it’s getting overheated. Ask your repair/maintenance shop to check it out for you. Have the water-cooling system checked out it could be that water throughput is being restricted. Outboards generally are air cooled, so they don’t have this problem. The ignition isn’t working, the boat wont start, check the battery is charged, ensure the contacts are cleaned – using a wire brush to get the crud off.

During the off season take the battery off the boat for safety and have it checked out, cleaned and fully charged. Inboard motor boats experiencing vibration, especially when moving quickly, it could be that the propeller is damaged, this is a job for the experts. NB. When your boat is hauled out of the water for the off season or to have the hull
cleaned off check the prop for damage to the blades, etc., damage could throw the prop off balance.

The prop may have been fouled or struck semi submerged debris in the water. Check it out as continued use of a damaged prop can cause further damage and discomfort. Money spent early is usually less than the cost of a major repair.

The boat is feeling sluggish, check the bilge pump/s, it could be that they are not working, and the bilge is filling up, this will make the searing heavy and cannot be allowed to continue for safety’s sake. Experienced boaters will carry spare hoses (and securing clips) and will have taken the time to check how the system works, if there is a drain mounted for this purpose.

Shopping for your dream boat? Talk to specialist boat suppliers and/or manufacturers, as the ‘what if’ questions and don’t be put off thinking that your questions are silly, everybody has to learn. Talk to the pro’s, shop around, take a course of study run by experienced sailing professionals, join a club and talk with the old hands there, join a marina, visit boat shows and manufacturers websites, then when you have decided buy from a reputable supplier avoid online unless you really know your stuff – a lot of stolen boats are sold this way plus no one wants to pay good money for junk that is unseen and has no warranty.

Enjoy your cruise boat.