Barnacle-encrusted outboard starts


A barnacle-encrusted Mercury outboard, recovered some 200 nautical miles off Dampier in Western Australia, started after spending months underwater.

Marine Engineer Matt Giles was working on the Offshore Support Vessel “Far Shogun” when an upturned tinnie was spotted in the water.

“It was a 3.2m Stacer and, going by the barnacles and other marine growth on the hull, it looked as if it (and the engine) had been underwater for a few months at least,” he said.

Intrigued by the find, Matt and some of his mates decided to try to start the 15hp Mercury outboard. “The crankshaft could still turn so we just cleaned the spark plugs, blew out the seawater and lubricated the cylinders,” he said. “We drained the old fuel from the carburettor and replaced it then – to our amazement – she started.”

While the 15hp two stroke ran a little roughly at first, that soon changed.

“We removed and dismantled the carburettor and cleaned the parts in an ultrasonic bath to remove the barnacles. We then refitted it to the motor and it ran like new,” he said.

Matt and his colleagues then decided on the ultimate test and put the never- say-die motor back in the ocean.

“We had a test run of the boat on the weekend which went really well. It was a bit too windy and choppy to go more than half throttle, but it ran well. The fact that the motor started first go just blew us away,” Matt said.

Thankfully, the guys took photos and videos of the whole resurrection process.

Nicholas Webb, Mercury Marine’s Director of Outboards, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific (ANZP) described Matt’s efforts as “a perfect case study for Mercury’s extreme reliability”.

“An amazing resistance to sea water corrosion is built into our engines in a myriad of ways, and that’s reflected in Mercury’s 3 Year Corrosion Warranty – a warranty we offer with every recreational outboard in the range.

“We talk to customers about this every day but it’s much more powerful seeing the reality.”


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