Whether cutting through the Gulf waters or one of the inlets along Florida’s west coast, having the right propulsion system on your boat requires more than just any motor. Every boat requires its own design and different type of propulsion, and with boaters asking for more speed on the water, manufacturers are meeting their demands with updated, specially designed motors for different depths and regions. The new advancements in technology are also pushing for cleaner and lighter versions for inboard and outboard engines.
Nautical experts agree that one of the biggest reasons why boaters become disinterested in their nautical vessels is due to the lack of horsepower. If you choose the wrong propulsion system, the engine is forced to work harder to maintain speed and consistency on the water, plus uses excessive fuel. This is a case when size really does matter!
Choosing the right propulsion system when buying a boat can make a difference when charting a daylong deep sea fishing trip, or a leisurely sail along the Intracoastal Waterways. More horsepower ensures more control and handling of the boat at midrange speeds and better capabilities if boaters encounter rough seas. It’s best to know what you plan to do with your boat to determine the best motor to buy. Just asking, “how far will it go?” doesn’t mean you will get the right propulsion system for your needs and lifestyle on the water.
Experts say the best advice is to match your horsepower to the maximum your boat is rated. Different boards require varying levels of speed from the motor and propeller. Here’s a look at some of the popular engine types available.
Outboard motors are the most popular especially with smaller boats. Designed to be lighter and faster, the new modern outboard motors are also very quiet on the water. Outboard motors have a self-contained propulsion system from engine to transmission to shaft and propeller, and the gear case and propeller can be tilted out of the water when not in use. They come in a range of sizes and horsepower, as well as different fuel sources.
Inboard engines mount the engine and transmission to the hull of the boat. The drive shaft extends through the hull and the propeller is mounted to drive the engine while a rudder controls steering.
Pod Drive Engines
A favorite among the marine industry since 2004, manufacturers have designed this new form of boat propulsion. These systems offer more thrust per horsepower because of the alignment with the keel of the boat and offer special steering and throttle systems to maximize efficiency. Pod drive engines are entirely electronic so boats owners can integrate it with the boat’s GPS onboard systems, allowing sailors to maintain their position and tend to mooring lines or other activities until they return to the helm. The engine system is more expensive than other motors, but saves more space onboard.
Jet Boat Engines
Perhaps the fastest – and most popular – are jet boat engines. These fast-paced engines draw water from under the boat into a pump inside and then expel the water through a nozzle at the stern, like you see on personal watercrafts. These engines are very easy to maneuver and offer fast acceleration on or below the water.
There is a propulsion system for every boat and every budget, but identifying your lifestyle needs before purchasing a motor will ensure endless days of happy excursions.