7 Important Checks to Make Before Starting a Marine Engine

Before giving your engine an air-kick and opening all the fuel valves to set boarding on the ocean floor, it’s imperative you check few things.

You would not want the marine engine to blackout while you are on the voyage. Situations like these can be extremely inconvenient, and even more so when you are in the middle of an ocean with no help in sight.


What are the important checks to be made before starting a marine engine?

The list below, although not exhaustive, reviews seven most important pre-start checks to make, and has been created exclusively for diesel engines.

Ensure the Marine Engine is Lubricated

Pre-lubrication of a 2-stroke marine engine should be carried out well in advance, almost an hour before starting the engine. If it’s a 4-stroke engine, the pre-lubrication needs to be done at least 15 minutes in advance.

Go Through All the Parameters

Once you have pre-lubricated your engine, proceed towards checking all the essential running pump parameters. This includes but not limited to: fuel oil temperature, fuel pressure, starting air pressure etc.  Make sure all the parameters are in the accepted range.

Open the Indicator Cocks and Check for Leakage

Prior to starting the engine, all indicator cocks must be opened and blown through to ensure that there are no leakages. Exercising this check will ensure that your hydraulics remain protected against damage due to water leakage.

Manually Rotate the Crankshaft

By means of turning gear, manually rotate the crankshaft to ensure all engine components and parts are properly lubricated.

Check the Turning Gear to Ensure that It Is Disengaged

Manually inspect the turning gear to ensure that it is properly disengaged. Even if the remote signal indicates a “disengaged” sign, check yourself.

Check the Water Temperature of Cooling Jacket

For a main engine, it is important that the water temperature of the cooling jacket is at least maintained at 60°C at the time of starting the engine.

Don’t Forget to Warm Up the Engine

You can do that by running the incoming ship generator at no load for at least 5 minutes. It would allow the system to warm up.

That completes the list of minimum checks to be performed before starting a marine diesel engine. Do you feel we have missed out on anything important? Or, do you have a question about any of these mentioned pre-checks? Feel free to reach out and we would be happy to help you.

While we are at it, check out this helpful guide to learn about the troubleshooting steps to execute if a marine engine fails to start.