Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed. Inboards and four-stroke outboards require regular oil changes. The frequency will vary by model, but a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation or at least once a year. Unfortunately, there aren’t any quickie oil change shops for boats, so you have to change your boat’s oil yourself or take it to your local dealer. Fortunately, changing the oil in your boat’s engine is quite easy—in most cases, easier than changing the oil in your car.
Start the engine to warm it up.
Turn the engine off.
Remove the drain plug.
Drain the old oil.
Change the filter
Replace the drain plug.
Fill the engine with new oil.
Be certain you dispose of the oil properly and in an environmentally safe manner.
Sail America strongly recommends using marine grade oil in your boat engine. Boat engines work much harder than car engines and automotive oil isn’t made to protect marine engines.
Inspect your propeller for any growth or visual damage. This will help improve performance and help maintain the value of your investment.
• If you have an outboard you should check the propeller as part of your pre-launch routine. Use a deep well socket to make sure the propeller nut is secure.
• You should also remove the propeller several times during the season to make sure discarded fishing line hasn’t become wrapped around the propeller shaft. If it has, have your dealer inspect the gear case, because fishing line can cause gear case leaks and gear case service is not a do-it-yourself job.
• While you have the propeller off, inspect it for nicks, dents and other signs of damage. It’s OK if your prop is missing paint, but send it out for repairs if you find signs of impact. The smallest dent can cause your boat to lose 10% of performance and will burn more fuel than normal.
• Finally, put a liberal amount of waterproof grease on the propeller shaft and re-install the propeller and hardware in the same order that you took them off, and tighten the propeller nut to the manufacturer’s specifications.