We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Outboard Starters?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Outboard starters are used to crank large motors and start them easily. Made in the same manner as an automobile starter, outboard starters use a battery to energize the Bendix and engage the starter ring. While mid-sized and smaller outboard motors are equipped with both pull rope and electric outboard starters, the larger motors are equipped with the electric starters only. These outboard starters typically rely on a separate dedicated battery to provide the electricity to start them. On some outboard motor models, the outboard starters also double as electrical generators and charge the battery while the motor is running.

Outboard starters that double as generators function much like the starter motor on a common riding lawn mower. This type of starter motor has a drive gear that remains in constant contact with the starter ring and does not utilize a Bendix. As power is applied to the starter motor, it spins the engine over until it starts. Once started, the brushes and wiring inside of the starter motor become energized and take on the characteristics of an alternator or generator and send current back to the batteries charging it. Also, an onboard regulator switches the charging element within the starter on and off to prevent overcharging the boat's battery.

Many smaller outboard boat motors use an optional electric starter. This type of starter is often actuated by a small switch mounted on the equipment, such as on a tiller or snow-blower handle. In cold weather, these optional outboard starters are very helpful in cranking over the cold engines. These outboard motors are very difficult to pull start when cold and are often so hard to pull start that the recoil rope or handle actually breaks when a pull start is attempted. In contrast, the push of a button spins the outboard over with ease when an optional electric starter is installed.

It is extremely important that the battery used to power outboard starters not be wired into a trolling motor or other electrical device in an attempt to provide them with reserve power. The reason for this is that if drained, the battery cannot supply the necessary power to start the outboard motor. With the larger motors that do not have pull-start capabilities, this creates a very real danger of a boater becoming stranded. A best practice is to install an extra battery if the need arises and keep the outboard's battery use strictly for the outboard starter.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1006700 — On May 04, 2022

Can I use a outboard motor with their horsepower of 35hp as a permanent motor for more 8 hours daily? Or mean continue spinning?

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.