Saltwater and brackish water can affect your boat’s engine like kryptonite can render Superman powerless. If not battled as Superman fights his foes (Actually, it’s not really that hard.), you could have a whole lot of hurt on your hands.
If left unchecked and poorly maintained, your engine may suffer from build-up, causing cooling blockages leading to overheating. Seriously, salt and brackish water are no joke. They can even corrode your engine from the inside out!
The solution is flushing. All outboard motor manufacturers recommend flushing after every use. Even if you only operate your boat in fresh water conditions, periodic motor flushing is optimal. You should flush your engine according to the manufacturer specs, but the process basically works like this…
Earmuffs, or flush muffs as they can be called, are fitted around the engine’s gear case to cover the intakes. If an engine has additional water intakes not directly fed by flush muffs, they need to be sealed to prevent overheating. Connect to your garden hose and then run your engine in neutral – never above 1000 rpms – for about five to ten minutes.
Many of the latest outboards even have built-in garden hose attachments that come standard, making the whole process that much easier. Another option is a flushing bag which fits around the lower engine and calls for a garden hose as well – for filling and water circulation.