Boston Boat Diesel Engine Repair

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Regular maintenance and repairs on your marine diesel engine should only cost $150 to $400 in Boston. However, major projects such as complete engine rebuilds can range up to $2,500 depending on the manufacturer and the age of the engine. You also want to be conscious of what type of diesel boat motor mechanic you’re hiring: are they mobile or do they have a facility? Marine diesel mechanics with facilities will be more expensive due to the overhead of running a full shop, but they’ll also be able to do more extensive repairs on your boat’s engine and probably offer other services as well. Mobile mechanics are cheaper, but it’s critical to get a referral so that you know they do good quality work.


The most natural place to start your research is with your marina manager. If your marina doesn’t offer diesel engine repairs and services, then your manager may know a good repair facility or technician outside of the marina. However, it’s absolutely critical to do your own research as well. You should ask friends with similar diesel engines on their boats about good mechanics they’ve used for major and minor repairs. You want to couple this effort with online research.The Boat Diesel Engine Repair page on Mariner Exchange provides all of the diesel boat motor repair shops in a 50 mile radius of your area. Many marine diesel repair shops are up to their necks in work, so if you are contacting them for the first time, it’s best to email and call them. A quick glance of their website should give you some insight into how professional their operation is as well. Certifications from the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or from the manufacturer of your engine is always a plus for these boat repair shops to have. These courses tend to be very rigorous and ABYC maintains the standards by which boats are built, so it’s a good measuring stick. Areas near Boston with a lot of quality diesel boat motor repair shops include: Duxbury, Gloucester, Somerset, Buzzards Bay, Quincy, Higham, Delham, Manchester, Newburyport, and many others. Buzzards Bay, Quincy, and Gloucester also have a good concentration of bigger boatyards for major projects. Don’t be afraid to look inland for highly rated mobile mechanics either.


Regular maintenance will help you avoid expensive repairs of your boat’s diesel engine. Below are a few tips for avoiding big repairs, but above all, the key is regular maintenance by a certified marine diesel mechanic.

  1. Regular annual service by a certified diesel boat motor mechanic: This should only cost a few hundred dollars and will save you a lot of headaches.

  2. Check and refill your oil: Make sure to top off your oil and change it if the color looks unusual or the consistency is thicker than normal.

  3. Check fuel: Fuel that is contaminated with dirt or water could destroy your engine over time. Consult a boat repair shop that can clean your fuel. Also, be sure to empty your gas tank every winter as part of the winterization process.

  4. Check the air filter: Make sure the air filter is not clogged and change it if necessary. The air filter is very often neglected and can cause the engine to lose power.

  5. Always check the cooling system: Make sure water is coming out of the engine and that the exhaust is a normal color.

If you are trying to fix your boat’s diesel engine yourself, here is a list of the most common problems:

  • Water or other contaminant in the fuel

  • Blocked sea strainer that needs to be changed

  • An impeller that has been damaged

  • Antifreeze that is old and should be changed

  • Belts are too loose

  • Muffler is blocked

  • Fuel filters are clogged

  • The alternator is loose

  • Fuses are blown

  • Electrical connections are corroded

There are also certain repairs that should be done by a certified diesel boat motor mechanic, so if you’re doing it yourself, we recommend seeking professional help with:

  • Valve Adjustments

  • Retorquing Cylinder Heads

  • Turbochargers

  • ECM and Common-Rail Diesels