Is Running at WOT (Wide-Open Throttle) Bad For Your Boat?

Running a boat “wide-open” has often been a topic of debate, especially on survey day. While some boaters regularly push their boats to the limit, others are wary of even coming close to full throttle. Today we are going to debunk a few myths surrounding running your vessel at wide-open throttle and whether or not it is bad for the life of your engine.

What Is Wide-Open Throttle?

From mega-yachts to small john boats, every marine engine has an RPM rating set by the manufacture of where your engine should be when pushed to its power limit. This is where your engine is at 100% “load” and is often part of the sea-trial portion of a boat survey. In short, pushing your boat to its max speed with the throttle all the way down is considered wide-open throttle.


What Can WOT Determine?

So why is running a boat at WOT part of survey? The manufacture WOT RPM rating serves as a benchmark of a healthy engine and if your vessel does not hit that number, it can be a sign of a number of potential issues.

One of the most common reasons your boat may not achieve the RPM rating at WOT is the propeller. If your prop is not the correct size, pitch, or even number of blades, you may not hit the target RPMs. Having the wrong propeller can hurt a number of systems within your engine including fuel economy, so it is crucial to make sure you have an optimized propeller. 

Running your boat wide-open can also reveal how well your engines cooling system is operating. During survey day, you will often see the surveyor keeping a close eye on both the RPM gauges as well as the engine temp gauges. 


So Should You Run Your Boat At WOT?

Every boat owner is different and how far you decide to push your marine engine is in your hands. While running your occasionally at WOT can help with carbon buildup, the best thing to is check your engine manufacture recommended guidelines and ask your local mechanic for recommendations on how often and how long to run your boat wide-open. 

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