You and your friends are ready to get on the lake and board your boat with fishing poles in hand. You go to start the motor and… nothing happens. No matter what you try, your boat just won’t start. Like with any other type of vehicle, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a boat. However, being prepared and understanding your boat and the way it runs can go a long way toward helping you keep up with the maintenance, avoid repairs and make sure your boat is ready to go when you are.

As a locally owned boat service in Fenton, MI, customers come to us with their boat troubles every day, and there are a few common issues that we see that, with a little knowhow, you can help prevent from happening to you.


If your engine is sputtering and feels like it is running out of power, chances are you have a problem with your filter. Over time, any gas left in your tank can actually go bad. Condensation can build up in the fuel and debris from the bottom of the tank can cause contamination, which can cause your filter to become clogged. Your best solution is to change the filter, but if you are on the lake already you can try cleaning it out until you are able to replace it. To help prevent this from happening in the future, be sure to keep your tank filled to almost full, especially if you are going to leave your boat in storage for a while.


If your belt breaks, you will have no functioning alternator or water pump. You will know something is wrong right away because your engine will start to overheat. If you are stuck on the water and don’t have a spare belt, there is not much you can do if your belt breaks except ask for a tow. However, you can help prevent this scenario by checking your belt before getting out on the water, especially if you haven’t used your boat in a while, and carrying a spare belt with you for emergencies.


If your engine simply won’t start, it’s almost always an electrical problem. You are most likely dealing with a low or dead battery, or possibly a break in your ignition circuit. If your starter groans but won’t actually start, it’s the battery. If your engine won’t engage at all, the problem is a loose connection. The best way to prevent this from happening is to do a full inspection and test your engine before you get out on the water. Once you are on the water, you can jump your battery if necessary or carry a backup. Otherwise, you will need a tow to shore.

While prevention is key, there will be times where you find yourself in one of these situations despite your best efforts. When that happens, Lake Ponemah Marina, your local boat service in Fenton, MI, is always here to help!