5 Things To Check if Your Boat Won’t Start

Chantel’s ‘Boating 101′ series is designed to help new boaters navigate some of the things that may be scary or not intuitive when you first get started. In this video she goes over what to do when your boat won’t start. More often than not, it is something easy to fix. Watch the video or keep reading to find out the five things you should always check before you call it a day and get towed back in.


Battery Switch

This is the first thing that you should check if your boat isn’t starting. Make sure that the battery switch is turned to the correct on position. Once you’ve checked the battery switch and confirmed that it is on, go try the ignition again and see if it turns over.

Battery Connection

If the battery switch is on and you know that is not the problem, the next thing you should check is the battery connection. These are the cables that are the actual connection at the battery. Make sure they are tightly connected and that is not just a loose connection that is making it so that you don’t have power to the boat.


If you turn the key and the boat has power but it won’t turn over, it is likely a voltage issue. Anything under 12V likely isn’t enough power to start up the boat. If you have a dual battery switch, start at position 1 and try to turn the boat on. If that doesn’t work, switch it to position 2 and see if that works. One of them might have just enough juice to get the boat started. Make sure to leave the boat running for awhile so that the alternator can charge the batteries back up.

Kill Switch

This is the one thing that most people forget to check. The kill switch lanyard can be easily knocked loose and will cause the boat not to start. Locate the kill switch and make sure it is properly connected before trying to start the boat up again.


The last one is so silly and such a simple thing but we’ve all done it at some point. If the boat is in gear, it will not start. This is a safety feature so that the boat doesn’t immediately move forward when you start it.

Last Resort: Ask for Help

If none of these things worked, you will probably need to get a tow back in and call it a day.


Watch More of Chantel’s ‘Boating 101’ Videos

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