From over-heated engines to troublesome debris, low water levels can cause havoc for inland boaters...
For boats with water-cooled engines, there is the risk of ingesting fouled water which can lead to overheating, a broken impellor or block in the engine itself. The reduction in water flow caused by even a partially clogged filter can soon send the temperature soaring.
1) Check and clean out your engine raw-water strainers before each trip.
2) Most engines like to operate between 85-90°C so stick a note with on the temperature gauge to spot any problems quickly.
3) If you see the temperature start to get abnormally high when you are underway you need to throttle back immediately and it may be best to shut the engine down.
4) Check the cooling water discharge and if there is no sign of cooling water shut the engine down immediately.
5) Feeling the face plate on the raw-water pump can also tell you a lot. If it’s hot no water has passed through it, indicating a raw water problem. If it’s cold, the raw water is probably fine, which steers you towards a fresh water problem.
6) Take stock of the situation – If you feel you need help call the local waterways authority who may be able to assist you with a workboat.
For step-by-step instructions on how to deal with engine failure, fouled propellers and overheated engines order the Essential Skipper guide for just £6.95.