On any small craft, a reliable diesel engine is an important piece of safety equipment to say nothing of the inconvenience and pressure on the skipper when something goes wrong. Mechanical breakdown is the most common cause of RNLI launches to assist small craft. When things go wrong at sea engineering help is usually some way away. Even in a harbour it may take days rather than hours to get help – especially on a bank holiday weekend. Yet most problems can be avoided by simple housekeeping and proper maintenance. Even simple daily inspections before setting off can detect problems and solve them in the convenience of your home port. And if you have some basic knowledge the most common problems can often be diagnosed and perhaps fixed. At least you will be able to talk sensibly with a technician on the end of a phone line.

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