How to Drive a Boat With an Outboard Motor


Small boats are used for both pleasure and fishing. Paddles and outboard motors are the main sources of power for small boats. For fishing boats and pleasure boats, such as ski boats, outboard motors are the obvious choice. Driving a boat with an outboard motor can be a small challenge to someone that isn't familiar with boats.

  • Start the outboard motor. Use the pull crank to start the engine. You start the motor by making sure it's in neutral and the throttle is set to start, make sure you pull out the choke and then pull the starter rope much as you would a lawn mower. Once the engine starts, push the choke back in and back off on the throttle. Larger outboard motors are typically equipped with electronic starters.

  • Move the shift lever for the motor to the forward position. Apply power to the motor by moving the throttle lever forward or on a smaller motor by twisting the handle. The farther you advance the throttle the faster the boat will move.

  • Push the handle of the outboard motor to the left side of the boat. The farther you push the handle the sharper the turn. This applies to smaller motors, whereas larger motors and boats are directed by a steering wheel. For boats and motors of this type, you steer them just like a car. The transfer linkage between the steering wheel and the motor compensates to allow the boat to turn in the direction the wheel is turned.

  • Push the handle towards the right side of the boat to turn to the left. This is the same as step three but in the opposite direction.

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