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How to Captain a Boat with an Outboard Motor

Since most people are accustomed to vehicles with steering wheels, switching to a boat with an outboard motor that steers by the use of a tiller can be a bit of an adjustment. Learning how to captain a boat with an outboard motor can be tricky but, once you have the hang of it, the benefits of outboard motors usually outweigh the difficulties. At Bridgeview Marine, each of our locations across BC are well-acquainted with the benefits of outboard boat motors.

Getting to Know Outboard Motors

Depending on the boat motor, the finer points of driving methods are subject to change. Despite these minor changes, the components of most outboard motors are the same. The motor attaches to the back shelf of a boat and can be raised and lowered into the water on a hinge. There is also a hinge that allows the motor to turn from side to side freely, and a lever, called the tiller, extends into the boat to be used to turn the motor and steer the boat. At the end of the tiller is a handle that can be twisted to adjust the motor’s speed.

Most outboard motors use a pull cord to start the motor, but some motors will use an electric key or button starter. There should also be a primer to get the flow of fuel started and a choke to restrict the amount of fuel going into the motor. Becoming acquainted with each of these components will make learning to use an outboard motor much easier.

How to Use an Outboard Boat Motor

The steps to starting and using an outboard motor are as follows:

1.     Prime the Motor and Adjust the Choke

Push the primer button or bulb enough times to start the flow of fuel into the motor, but not so many times that the engine floods. This number will vary between motors. Make sure that the boat is in neutral. Choke the engine and pull on the starter cord 3 or 4 times. If the boat does not start, open the choke and pull the cord 3 or 4 more times. Repeat until the engine fires up. Adjust the choke so that the outbound motor idles smoothly.

2.     Shift the Motor into Forward or Reverse

Some outboard motors use a lever to alternate between forward and reverse, while others will have the ability to reverse the twisting direction of the handle at the end of the tiller. Make sure that the motor is set to move in the proper direction to get away from the dock.

3.     Twist the Tiller Handle to Accelerate

Twist the handle at the end of the tiller to accelerate and decelerate.

4.     Steer Using the Tiller

Push and pull the tiller to steer the boat.

To learn more about how to captain a boat with an outboard motor, or if you are interested in any of our marine services, please contact Bridgeview Marine at the location nearest you or by filling out a contact form on our website.

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