Do You Leave A Boat Motor Up or Down?


Whether to leave a boat motor up or down when docked depends on various factors, including the type of boat, the location of the dock, and the specific circumstances. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Trimmed Up (Tilted Out of the Water):

  • Reduced Corrosion: Keeping the motor trimmed up out of the water can reduce corrosion on the lower unit and propeller, especially in saltwater environments.
  • Protection from Marine Growth: It can prevent marine growth like barnacles from attaching to the lower unit and propeller.

Trimmed Down (In the Water)

  • Stability: Keeping the motor down can provide more stability to the boat, especially in windy conditions. This is important if you’re leaving the boat unattended for an extended period.
  • Quick Departure: If you plan to use the boat frequently, leaving the motor down can make it quicker and easier to depart.

Consideration for Different Situations

  • Short-Term Docking: If you’re docking for a short period, leaving the motor down might be convenient, especially if you plan to use the boat again soon.
  • Long-Term Docking: For long-term docking, especially in saltwater, it’s generally better to trim the motor up to reduce corrosion and growth. Regularly check and clean the lower unit to maintain its condition.
  • Manual vs. Power Tilt: If your boat has a power tilt feature, it’s easier to adjust the motor position based on the situation. If not, manual tilting might require more effort.
  • Local Guidelines: Some marinas or docking facilities might have specific rules or recommendations regarding the position of boat motors when docked. It’s a good idea to check with the marina staff or local boating regulations.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your specific circumstances and preferences. If you’re unsure, consult the boat’s manual or seek advice from experienced boaters or marine professionals, like the team at Hagadone Marine Group, (208) 664-8274 where we can provide tailored guidance based on your boat’s make and model.

How About When Storing A Boat? Should You Leave the Motor Up or Down?

When storing a boat, especially for an extended period, it’s generally better to store the outboard motor in the upright (vertical) position, with the motor trimmed all the way down. Here’s why:

  • Preventing Water Intrusion: Storing the outboard motor in the upright position helps prevent water from accumulating in the lower unit, which can happen if the motor is tilted down. Water in the lower unit can lead to corrosion and other issues over time.
  • Reducing Strain on Hydraulics: If your boat has power trim and tilt, keeping the motor in the down position for a long time can put strain on the hydraulic system, potentially causing it to weaken over time.
  • Stability: Storing the motor in the down position provides stability to the boat, especially if it’s on a trailer. This can prevent the boat from tipping over or becoming unbalanced during storage.
  • Proper Support: When storing the boat on a trailer, it’s important to use a transom saver or support device specifically designed for the outboard motor. This helps distribute the weight and prevents the motor from bouncing or swaying during transportation or storage.
  • Regular Maintenance: Before storing the boat, it’s crucial to perform regular maintenance on the outboard motor, including flushing it with fresh water to remove salt and other contaminants, and applying appropriate lubricants to prevent corrosion.

Always refer to the owner’s manual of your specific outboard motor for manufacturer recommendations on storage. Different motors may have unique requirements or considerations based on their design and components.

Additionally, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the storage process, the team at Hagadone Marine Group can provide guidance on properly storing your boat and outboard motor.