Engine failure


Embarking on a sailing journey is a thrilling experience, but encountering engine trouble can add a unique twist to the adventure.
The good news? If you have sails hoisted, the issue becomes manageable.

Before setting sail, during the skipper's briefing, assign a crew member to diligently check the fuel and engine oil levels.

Now, let's delve into common symptoms and practical solutions for smoother sailing.


Safety first!

If you're in a tight spot, set sail - sails are handy.
If the weather is iffy, drop anchor and assess the engine issue.

Engine Won't Start?

Symptom: Dead battery.
Possible Cause: Check for a flat battery, especially if using power for the fridge only.
Solution: Sail to port, call for assistance, and consider checking your electrical systems.

Engine Coughs and Stops?

Symptom: Low or no fuel.
Possible Cause: Check fuel levels before departure.
Solution: Sail to the port entrance, ask for a tow, and ensure you have sufficient fuel next time.

Sudden Engine Stop?

Symptom: Water in the fuel system.
Possible Cause: Running the tank almost dry can lead to water reaching the engine.
Solution: Sail to the port entrance, call for a tow, and notify for assistance. Maintain at least half a tank before leaving port.

Oil Light On, White Smoke, Nasty Clanking?

Symptom: Engine trouble, possibly low oil.
Possible Cause: Check the oil level using the dipstick.
Solution: Add oil if needed (about half a liter). If issues persist, head to port and seek professional help.

Engine Overheating?

Symptom: Alarm, steam, and engine shutdown.
Possible Cause: Check for debris in the water intake or broken belts.
Solution: Clear debris, restart the engine, and check all belts. If the issue persists, head to port and consult with professionals.

Sudden Vibrations?

Symptom: Unusual vibrations.
Possible Cause: Cause: a plastic bag caught in the propeller.

Unclear Issue?

Symptom: Engine trouble without a clear cause.
Possible Cause: Various technical issues.
Solution: Call for professional help. Sometimes it's not your fault; experts can identify and fix the problem.

Tips for Responsible Engine Use

Remember, sailing is a learning journey, and troubles happen to everyone.

1. Operate Within Recommended Limits

Ensure that you operate the boat's engine within the recommended power limits.

Avoid consistently running the engine above 75% of its power, as this can lead to excessive wear and tear, impacting the performance for future users.

2. Limit Idle Time

Minimize idling time to prevent incomplete combustion and carbon buildup.

It's advisable not to let the engine idle for more than 20 minutes to maintain optimal performance during your rental period.

3. Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Allow the engine to warm up before putting it under heavy load and ensure a cool-down period after use.

This practice helps in maintaining consistent temperatures and contributes to the longevity of engine components.


These adapted tips are focused on the short-term usage typical of bareboat rentals, emphasizing responsible and efficient operation for the duration of the rental period.

Stay calm, follow these steps, and you'll be back on smooth seas in no time!