#10: The Trim Is Stuck
You're back at the ramp and the outdrive/outboard won't raise so you can get the boat on its trailer and ready for the highway.
Solution: Assuming it's not a bad fuse, it's some sort of mechanical/hydraulic problem. The simple solution is to wade out back and raise it by hand. To do this, you'll need to know the location of the trim release valve, which is usually a small screw near the base of the outdrive/outboard. Opening this valve will release pressure from the hydraulic loop, allowing the drive to tilt.
Prevention: Maintain adequate fluid levels and inspect periodically to ensure there are no leaks or water intrusion into the fluid reservoir.
Carry Onboard: Large slotted and Philips head screwdrivers to open the release valve.
Prevention: An Inside Job
Just because a boat looks clean, doesn't mean it's well-maintained. Time and again, we hear dealers tell of owners who were meticulous about washing and polishing their boats, but paid far less attention to the internal workings. Maintenance is not a task most of us enjoy, but a little bit of prevention goes a long way. To keep track of what needs doing and when, we suggest that you get with your local NMMA-certified dealer to create a checklist. Follow that list, and you'll greatly reduce the chances of ever being stranded on the water.
The No. 1 Shutdown
Aside from our Top-10 list, ask yourself: What's the No. 1 reason people call for towing assistance? Answer: They run out of gas. And while we know you're way too smart to do that, you might want to make sure your boat's fuel gauge is accurate - or plan accordingly, if it's not. In addition, knowing a bit about your boat's fuel burn and operating range could save you from guessing, and then making that embarrassing call for help.