Outboards start like a car; just tilt ‘em down and turn the key. At least newer ones do. But it wasn’t always that way. Time was when you had to know how to start your engine. Carbureted two-strokes can be fussy, especially when cold.
Now, there’s still plenty of carbureted two-strokes in service. Maybe you own one, or maybe you're considering a used boat that’s fitted with one. In either case, here’s a basic 5-step starting procedure you can use to fire-up that oldie but goodie on the transom.
1. Engine tilted fully down (this makes it easier for fuel to get to the carburetors).
2. Squeeze primer bulb till firm.
3. Advance throttle in neutral to 2/3's.
4. Turn key on, push to choke (or pull out choke) and crank at same time.
5. Release choke, return throttle to neutral after ignition.
Also, make sure the tank is vented. If it's a built-in tank, make sure the vent fitting is not partially obstructed by an insect nest or wax or something.
Takeaway: Outboard engines are the only propulsion designed from the drawing board specifically for marine application.