Just like your car or truck, the fuel filter on your boat helps to keep the gas clean and clear of any particulates that could clog up and interfere with the way the engine works. Because of this, the filter should be changed at least once a year.

However, if you take your boat out onto the water frequently, the filter may become clogged up sooner than its scheduled replacement due to exposure to muddy or salty water. Below are a couple of signs for which you should look that indicate your boat's marine fuel filter needs to be replaced.

1.  Boat Surges Whenever You Place a Higher Load on the Engine

One sign that the fuel filter on your boat is in need of replacement is when you start to notice that your boat surges whenever you try to speed up. When you attempt to accelerate, the engine is placed under a higher load and requires more fuel to meet the demand.

However, if the filter is clogged up, the engine will not receive the steady flow of fuel it needs to respond. The fuel will feed the engine sporadically, causing the engine to pause the fuel supply is decreased and surge when the engine finally receives what it needs.

2.  Engine Sputters and Cuts Out Even With a Full Tank of Fuel

Another sign that you need to replace the fuel filter on your boat can be found while the boat is either first taking off or travelling at lower speeds. You may hear the engine sputtering as it idles or slowly speeds up. It may also cut out completely, even if you have recently filled up the fuel tank.

Before you change the filter, double-check the fuel level as well as the fuel lines to ensure there are no leaks. If not, the filter is probably clogged and needs to be changed out with a new one.

If your boat feels as though it is surging whenever you attempt to travel at higher speeds and/or the engine sputters as though it cannot get enough fuel, the fuel filter has probably become clogged up. This clogging is fairly common when the filter is exposed to muddy or salty water, necessitating that it be changed more frequently than you may expect. Contact a business that offers marine fuel filters in your area to ask a representative about available options for a replacement for your boat's particular engine model.