If there’s one thing boaters can agree on, it’s that we all disagree on a lot. From where the best fishing spots are to the fight of monohull vessels vs. catamarans, there are plenty of arguments to be had. However, one of the more technical of these battles is the discussion of outboard motors vs. inboard motors.
Without getting so deep into the subject that you might need a nautical engineering degree to understand it, let’s break down the basics of why you may be better off with one or the other.
Fast Facts on Inboard Motors
- Often quieter than outboard motors, making them a good option for pleasure cruisers and entertaining guests
- Take up some real estate on the craft, necessitating a large box to house the motor in the center of the vessel
- Can be more powerful than outboard motors, as they are often designed after larger car engines
- May be more expensive than smaller outboard motors
- Pose a greater fire hazard to your vessel due to the fact that they are centrally located in the craft
Fast Facts on Outboard Motors
- Far easier to service and replace than inboard motors, due to easy accessibility
- When storing the boat, engine can be easily lifted out of the water
- Easier to steer without power due to integral skeg and directional thrusts
- Can allow for more shallow fishing than inboard, since motor can be lifted out of the water
- Can take up space at the rear of the boat, especially if multiple outboard motors are utilized
Just to mix things up, there is also an option C: inboard/outboard (I/O), also known as sterndrive that mixes concepts from both motor types. In short, sterndrive boats have automotive-style engines in the vessel, but have a drive unit that acts as both transmission and propulsion to the propellers in the rear of the vessel.
So, which model of boat motor is right for your needs? We wouldn’t dare make that decision for you. We recommend you do a bit of research and, using the fast facts above, try to make an informed decision before hitting the dealership. Also, never be afraid to ask questions, and lots of them. Many boating buddies and boat sellers would be more than happy to share an educated opinion or two, to say the least.
No matter which side of the debate you end up on, there is one other thing most boaters can agree on besides lots to argue about, it’s that we’d rather be boating than doing most anything else. So, with that in mind, we hope that whichever vessel you choose, you have a great time on the water.