SCHIEDAM _ Many boaters neglect their engine exhaust systems, says Vetus, the Dutch company that for over 50 years has been developing, making and marketing engines for recreational and small commercial craft. To prevent damage, Vetus offers these tips:

_ Start your inspection at the exhaust manifold. It might have a “riser” or an exhaust elbow bolted to it. Remove the rubber exhaust hose, check the innards for rust and water seepage. Look for leaks around the cooling-water injection nipple. Replace a corroded clamp with a 316-stainless one. Every hose must be double-clamped.

_ Downstream of the water-injection point you’ll find the pyrometer that measures exhaust-gas temperature. If you don’t have one, have one installed. If cooling water is cut off _ by a piece of plastic at the intake, for instance _ the exhaust hose temperature will skyrocket. Vetus recommends all exhaust systems be fitted with a high temperature alarm to signal potential problems.

_ Follow the plumbing to the exhaust port, look for leaks, discoloration, rusted clamps, cracks in solid pipe and hoses worn from chafing against the hull.

_ All waterlift and most inline mufflers have drain plugs a mechanic removes when winterizing the boat. Are those plugs securely in place? If one fails, water can fill the bilge, and exhaust gas your lungs.