Reliable marine equipment!


Your season and first safe and successful sail-boat-cruise starts here! Read Part 2 on engine starters, battery maintenance and charging systems.


1. Check all the starter motor connections, and retighten them. Disconnect the battery first so you don’t short things out. Don’t just shake it by hand to see if it’s loose, actually put a ring spanner on and check tighten the bolt, don’t just check it by hand and try and move the connection.

2. Clean the area around the motor terminals of moisture by wiping with clean damp rag. Electrical cleaner or WD40 or CRC may be used after wiping clean to form a protective film.

3. Operate the starter and turn over the engine 3-4 times for up to 10 seconds to generate heat in the starter. In most case this can be done with the throttle at zero to prevent any starting. Be careful not to overdo it though and create excessive heat. This has the effect of heating the windings from inside and drying windings and brushgear. Your reliable marine-equipment starts here!

4. If you have larger engines with the starter motor brush-gear accessible, open the cover and pull back the brushes against the spring retainers, as they can tend to jam. If it is black and dirty then clean by using a vacuum cleaner to extract dust, and wash only with some CRC type spray electrical cleaner.

5. Check and tighten the main negative on the engine block to battery cable. At the end of the previous season, the connection may have become loose due to the vibration of the engine. Moisture and any resultant corrosion also may have deteriorated the connection. It is good practice to remove the connection, clean the mating surfaces and reconnect. Your -cruise starts here with reliable marine equipment!

6. Check all preheating element connections, clean moisture and any dirt from around the terminals that may cause tracking and lowering of heater efficiency.


It is important not to make assumptions that the battery is serviceable. The most common cause of failure after the winter lay-up is batteries that have sulfated while remaining partially charged. Your reliable marine equipment starts here!

1. Remove, clean and tighten all the main battery connections. Apply a light coating of Vaseline to the terminals

2. Check that all the electrolyte levels are correct.

3. Check that the batteries are secured or held down in place

4. Clean the battery case tops using a damp rag

5. Operate battery isolation switches several times (when the engine is off) and “exercise” the switch contacts. Switches often develop high resistance across the contacts, and operation often alleviates the problem.

6. Where a battery is in any way suspect, in particular one that has obviously been sitting in a discharged state for several months, have the battery load tested, to verify actual condition. West-marine offer a great range of quality batteries. Your reliable marine equipment starts here!


1. Start engine, run at medium rpm and check that the charging voltage is at 14 volts, or where a fast charge regulator is used, that voltages are correct. If the battery takes some time to rise to the nominal voltage, then suspect that the battery has been sitting partially discharged for several months. Your reliable marine equipment starts here!

2. Check and re-tighten the fan belt

3. Check all the alternator connections, cable lugs and tighten or re-terminate as required. Check the security of cable within the connector crimp. If loose or showing signs of fatigue then re-terminate it.


1. Switch on all internal lights, check and leave them on for at least 1 hour to warm and dry the fittings out. If lights are not functioning or you plan to upgrade west-marine have a good selection

2. Switch on all navigation lights, check that they are functioning and leave on for at least 1 hour to dry out the fittings. If your navigation lights are in poor condition stay legal and get some new ones from west-marine. Your reliable marine equipment starts here!

3. Where possible remove the lamp and refit, as the lamp socket spring may be seized or corroded, this action moves the spring and frees it up if seized. This is surprisingly common failure mode. Order replacement and spare bulbs. Your reliable marine equipment starts here!


Your season and first safe and successful cruise starts here! Click on the link and then read Part 3 for all you need to know about spring commissioning of your marine equipment including your electronics, thrusters, toilets, electrical-wiring, and a lot more. PART 3 and all you need to know.

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