There are three kinds of powerboat engines. There is the inboard engine, the outboard engine and the outboard/inboard engine that is usually called an I/O engine. Deciding what type engine you will use on your powerboat is a decision that needs to addressed even before you ask ‘how fast it will go’ and how much it will cost’ because the choice of an inboard, outboard or outboard/inboard engine will help to answer both of those questions.
In this article we will discuss only the outboard engine. Other engines are discussed in other articles in this series.
The outboard powerboat engine is a compact and very efficient source of power. The required components that a powerboat engine of any kind must have is the ability to provide power to a propeller that will provide the push to move the boat, a method to connect the power to the propeller, and control devices to determine the direction and power needed.
Outboard powerboat engine power can be anywhere between a tiny 2 hp trolling motor to a whopping 350 hp monster. The horse power of the engine determines the cost of the engine. You want to buy an outboard engine that will move your boat as efficiently as possible. You don’t want one with either more horse power than you need or less horse power than you need. For example: If you are only going to use your powerboat to fish, you can do with a lot less horse power than you can if you are going to use your powerboat for water skiing or overnight trips.
Some of the advantages of the outboard engine are; they take up no available space onboard because they are located outside of the boat and they provide a great deal of horse power in relation to their size and weight.
Bruce Stott is the Chief Instructor of Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd. in Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island. He is the author of Boating FAQ’s, 71 Essential Answers for Every Boater.