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According to i-Boats, "Nothing in the Mercury Mariner Outboard engine model numbers or serial numbers provides year information directly.
The first serial number sold in a year becomes the beginning serial number. Serial numbers between that year's beginning serial number and the next fall into the same year. Search for your engine horsepower on the Mercury Mariner serial number year chart located here to find the beginning serial number for the range that includes your engine." Your other option is to take the serial number to an authorized Merc marine eager and they can look it up for you.
The alarm is the overheat horn. It means that your motor isn't pumping water from the bottom of the leg and through the engine cooling ports. You will see water shooting out the side of the motor when it starts getting hot, and if you're not seeing the water shoot out and the horn is on then chances are the pump impeller on the leg is shot. You should never start a boat motor (outboard or any other type of boat motor) without having it sitting in the water or with a water calliper with a garden hose attached on the lower inlets of the leg. If you run it without water you will melt the rubber impeller and damage the engine if it's run too long without water cooling. Take it in to a qualified tech to replace the impeller.
If it doesn't have a tank up under the cover, it is not oil injected, I had the same engine, I forgot what year it was but it had a small reservoir up top with a filler cap right on it for oil. But just to be safe, I would google the engine for a look at another one, make sure it what you have.