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  1. Hello everyone, I'm new to power boat ownership and am learning as I go. I bought a used 2003 230SSi with a 5.0 Mercruiser in April 2016 and after paying for maintenance at first, I am undertaking it myself this year. I'm an experienced auto mechanic who knows his way around a chevy smallblock. One of the key differences I have noticed as I plan to do maintenance work is that there is no air filter on the engine..! There is something on top of the intake called a spark arrestor, but why wouldn't Mercruiser install a proper air filter? I have always understood that one key to long engine life was a clean air filter. What is different about a boat vs. car environment that eliminates the need for this? Thanks in advance!