How to Start a Boat Engine

Launching a motorboat from shore is fairly simple, but starting the boat's engine once you have launched can be more difficult. Push the boat into the water and position it parallel to the shoreline before climbing aboard. Use your oars to nudge the boat into the water, then start the engine.

Open the air intake on the cap valve.

Connect the fuel tank and the engine.

Make sure that no debris is in the propeller or the engine's water-intake device.

Switch the engine tilt level to "run" and lock the lift lever.

Put the engine into neutral on the drive selector.

Put the throttle in the starting position.

Sit or crouch in the boat. Pull on the starter cord slowly until you feel some resistance. Give the cord one long pull to start the engine.

Adjust the choke, as necessary.


  • Do not start the engine until you have nudged the boat away from shore.


  • Stay seated while starting the engine.


About the Author

Keren (Carrie) Perles is a freelance writer with professional experience in publishing since 2004. Perles has written, edited and developed curriculum for educational publishers. She writes online articles about various topics, mostly about education or parenting, and has been a mother, teacher and tutor for various ages. Perles holds a Bachelor of Arts in English communications from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.