Favorite Type of Power for a Powerboat

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by mackid068, Jun 27, 2005.


What's your favorite form of propulsion for a powerboat?

  1. Gasoline Outboard (2 or 4 stroke)

    5 vote(s)
  2. Gasoline Inboard

    9 vote(s)
  3. Gasoline Sterndrive (also called I/O or an Inboard/Outboard)

    5 vote(s)
  4. Gas Water Jet (also called Gas Jet or Jet drive)

    1 vote(s)
  5. Diesel Inboard

    20 vote(s)
  6. Diesel Sterndrive

    8 vote(s)
  7. Diesel Jet Drive (see option 4 but replace gas with diesel)

    3 vote(s)
  8. Hydrogen Fuel Cell

    2 vote(s)
  9. Diesel-Electric

    5 vote(s)
  10. Solar Powered

    0 vote(s)
  11. Steam Power

    6 vote(s)
  12. Solar with hydrocarbon auxiliary

    2 vote(s)
  1. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    My choice is pretty well dictated by the kind of boat I prefer. Lightweight, trailerable, planing hull and economic to buy as well as use and maintain whether a skiff, runabout or cruising boat. Only one choice fits. The gas outboard.

    The claim that inboards, whether gas or diesel, are more reliable than outboards is, I think, highly questionable.
  2. woodboat
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 312
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    Location: Baltimore MD, USA

    woodboat Senior Member

    I have made this claim myself from a personal observation. Of course your usage would dictate reliabilty. A daily driver is more reliable than a NASCAR or top fuel racer. With that said a local crabber tried using outboards for a few years. He had to replace the lower units on average about once a year. The bullet proof velvet drives lasted many, many years.
  3. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    My experience regarding outboard versus inboard reliability matches Woodboat's, I think. In light lake-puttering outboards are fine, but I've had several of them crap out on me under high loads. Big inboard blocks, mounted farther forward, can be heavier and more solidly built than outboards (which must be as light as possible if they are to hang out two feet past the transom). Outboards are simply not built as heavily as inboards, in general, and so do not tend to hold up as well under bad conditions. (Take Merc's Disney test fleet, for instance: Average outboard life is only 12-18 months, running 8-10 hours a day; versus the many 30-year-old Crusaders worldwide that are still toiling happily away.)
  4. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,474
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1728
    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    Hey, I agree with both Woodboat and Marshmat but the instances you mention feature the uses where an inboard, particularly a diesel, are better choices. I remain convinced that the modern outboard when placed on a trailerable, lightweight and fast boat that is not used for shoving big heavy stuff around or running all day every day is the preferred choice. In other words, the average receational fisherman or pleasureboater, which is what I suspect most of us are.

    My Yamaha 50 has had 6 seasons of such use and has had no, that's zero, issues of any kind and its use has extended well beyond lake puttering. My friends with inboards can not say that. This started out as a request for opinions and this is mine. Your mileage may vary. Good enough. Incidentally, my vote for outboards was not registered as the poll did not change after I voted. Voting irregularity or hanging chad?
  5. wdnboatbuilder
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 227
    Likes: 2, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 15
    Location: Cape Coral Fl

    wdnboatbuilder Senior Member

    I'm a fisherman and need to get into the shollow waters of florida so an outboard with a jack plate is the way to go for me.
  6. fiberglass jack
    Joined: Dec 2005
    Posts: 463
    Likes: 16, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 95
    Location: toronto

    fiberglass jack Senior Member

    a good set of arms and a paddle
  7. 67-LS1
    Joined: Aug 2003
    Posts: 89
    Likes: 0, Points: 6, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: San Francisco Bay Area

    67-LS1 Junior Member

    Diesel sterndrives

    If money was no object. Gas sterndrives it is.

  8. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,404
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Frankly if I had my druthers I go with Sail or oars. But if I have to pick an engine it would be diesel. I spent too many years in boating safety looking at fires and explosions. I honestly think gasoline doesn't belong on a boat. Radical? Ask the last guy who's boat blew up. Anyway diesels are reliable, durable, efficient, fewer parts to break, no ignition system to get wet. Modern diesels aren't as heavy as they used to be and have much better power/weight ratios, they have really good torque for swinging a big prop. The new direct injection diesels are clean and can use biodiesel fuels so they are good on the environment. But as I said at the beginning, I'm a purist, Sails or oars can get you there.
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