Annapolis Outboard Motor Repair

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Although Annapolis is the “sailing capital,” most of the boats on the Chesapeake Bay these days have outboard motors. You should not be hard pressed to find a boat repair shop that can perform outboard engine repairs. Annapolis has its share of boat dealers that can provide outboard motor repair, but there are plenty of independent boat mechanics as well. As is typical elsewhere, the boating season causes these dealerships to get backlogged, so it makes sense to have other outboard mechanics you can call. When looking for someone to hire, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Look for manufacturer and association certifications. Boat mechanics that are members of the Maryland Marine Trades Association or the American Boat and Yacht Council tend to be trustworthy and professional. ABYC maintains all the boat building standards so the outboard mechanic will have gone through some training to be a member. Also, make sure your outboard mechanic is certified by the manufacturer of your outboard motor. This means that they will have taken a training course specific to your engine. Yamaha outboards, Mercury outboards, Honda outboards, and many others have very robust certification programs.

  • Locating the best boat repair shops. In the greater Annapolis area, the best outboard motor repair, and boat repair in general, can be found primarily in Back Creek just south of the Annapolis harbor. There is a high concentration of marinas there that support numerous independent contractors and boat repair shops. If you are a sailor and need the outboard engine for your tender repaired, Back Creek will definitely be the place to go as these marinas cater strongly to sailing. Further south, there is an area called Herring Bay which is home to a large cluster of marinas, the largest of which is Herrington Harbour. This area caters to weekend boaters from Washington, DC and is also packed with boat repair shops that can handle any outboard motor repair. You’ll also find outboard engine repair services across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island where there are numerous marinas that service the large powerboating community on the eastern shore. If you're outside of Annapolis, you can check out outboard mechanics near you on Mariner Exchange.

  • Don’t just email - call, call, call. Most boaters begin their outboard mechanic search with an online search engine like Mariner Exchange. This is a great place to start and will give you the information you need to narrow the field of outboard mechanics. However, once you’ve identified someone you want to hire, it’s crucial that you call them. Many of the boat mechanics in the Annapolis area are older and have more business in-season than they know what to do with. For these reasons, your emails can go unanswered and you'll be left with a busted outboard engine. Place a call into your outboard mechanic (maybe a few calls) and you’ll have a much better chance of getting prompt service.


On the low end, things like annual service or minor outboard motor repairs should only cost about $90 on average in Annapolis. Maybe the outboard mechanic has to change a spark plug, an oil filter, or clear the fuel line. Most of what you’re paying for are the outboard mechanic’s time (billable service hours). Major outboard engine repairs could cost up to $500 in Annapolis. In general, the more of the outboard motor the mechanic has to take apart, the higher the bill is going to be. Annual maintenance is a must, but there are several things you can do before and after you run your engine to avoid major repairs.


Although your outboard mechanic is a great guy, your wallet would prefer that you don’t see him that often. To avoid major repairs, before every trip:

  • Make sure you have enough fuel and that the fuel is clean

  • When you start the engine, make sure water is coming out and that the water intake pickup is not clogged

  • Check the oil and make sure there is enough oil in the engine

After a great day on the water, it’s also important to:

  • Flush the outboard engine with a hose to get fresh clean water flowing through the cooling system and get rid of any contaminants taken in by the impeller. There are apparatuses that you can buy to facilitate engine flushing.

  • Make sure the water coming out of the exhaust is warm with a strong flow. If it’s not, then shut down the engine as you may cause it to overheat.

  • For smaller outboard engines, you’ll also want to disconnect the fuel line and burn the remainder of the fuel.

  • After this, turn off the key and shut off the battery switch.

  • To prevent any rusting, and especially if you are about to put the outboard engine away for the season, make sure to lubricate any exposed mechanical parts like the carburetor linkages and the shift and throttle cables.

These tips are especially important for older two stroke engines and outboard engines that are used in saltwater. The Chesapeake Bay has brackish water, so you may not have to perform the above routine every time you use your boat but it is a good habit to get into.