Fix the Wiring Mess

QuestionThree times now I’ve left my pier, run the boat flawlessly to the bay to fish, and had to be towed back because the engine wouldn’t crank over. Fortunately the VHF worked, so I was able to at least catch a tow. By the time I got home, I turned the key and of course the engine started immediately. Nothing looks suspicious to me, but I’d appreciate your insight.

Shannon G., via

AnswerThere is an amazing space between looks suspicious and is suspicious. The first indicator I’d look at would be the voltmeter. Turn the key to ON, then to START. If you have a good voltage reading when the key is turned ON, but it drops to zero when you turn the key to START, I’d look for loose, dirty or corroded battery/engine cable connections. When they’re hot after a run to the bay, the ability to carry current is diminished, not to mention charging capability. Like The Nurse says to me at day’s end, “Clean up your mess and your problems will disappear. Oh, and dinner’s ready.” Sure, c’mon over. We always have room for one more, as long as you’ve cleaned up your wiring mess.

One thought on “Fix the Wiring Mess

  1. People that are occational boaters tend to do less maintence then those that boat all seasons. Those boaters have learned that dependability depends on your maintainence levels. After boating for over 55 years, i have learned a long time ago that there are no service stations at sea. Every one of the boats that i have assisted or towed in were simple things that could have been caught before leaving the pier had they looked under the hood. In the boating safety classes that we teach, we stress maintence. Don’t ask a boat to do something it is not ready to do just because you are in a hurry.


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