8 Reasons Why Outboard Motors Are Now So Popular and Growing in Popularity

 The global outboard engine market size is estimated to continue to have significant growth, owing it to the growing popularity of leisure activities such as sailing, powerboat racing, and cruise. With renewed interest in recreational and commercial marine activities post COVID-19, the market has been witnessing promising growth. 

The eight major reasons why outboard engines are more popular nowadays than sterndrives are as follows: 

  1. Better performance 
  2. Lighter weight
  3. Easier maintenance 
  4. More efficiency
  5. More storage capacity 
  6. Tiltable design
  7. Smaller draft 
  8. Versatility

Major outboard engine market players include Suzuki Marine, Honda Motor, Yamaha Motor, Mercury Marine, YANMAR Marine International, Bombardier Recreational Products, and Vector Outboards. 

8 Reasons Why Outboard Motors Are Now So Popular 

1. Better Performance 

There’s no question that one of the major reasons why outboards are so popular nowadays is how great the performance is of the newest and latest models. 

New outboard motors are not only quieter and cleaner but also more powerful than their older predecessors.  Today’s smooth 4-stroke and powerful direct fuel injected 2-stroke outboards have great HP ratings along with much better reliability and durability. 

As a basic guide or rule of thumb, a 100 HP outboard produces about the same performance as a 125 HP sterndrive. You may ask why, what is the difference? 

First, outboards are not only lighter but are also mounted on the stern of the boat instead of sitting inside the hull. This position ensures a better angle for efficiency, which translates to better acceleration and a higher top speed.  This also means that an outboard can get the boat to plane faster and with less effort. 

2. Lower Weight 

Since outboards are significantly lighter than inboard engines, they offer a much better power-to-weight ratio.  Depending on the make and model of the outboard, they generally range from about 70.5 kg/155 lbs to 163 kg/359 lbs. Compared to a wide range of inboard motors ranging from 115 to 627 HP on the market. They can weigh 480 lbs to 1,100 Lbs pounds. 

This not only ensures better performance out on the water but also makes the boat easier to tow and handle out of the water. You can expect to have the best power-to-weight ratios on 2-stroke outboards. 

3. Easier Maintenance

Another reason why outboards are so popular is that they are much easier to fix and maintain than inboards. 

Since they are mounted on the stern, outboards are more accessible. When the boat is sitting on the trailer you have full 360 degree access, so you can work on the engine conveniently and effortlessly. 

In contrast, inboard engines are typically nestled in tight spaces that are hard to access, making maintenance more difficult. Thanks to their simplicity, outboard engines can be maintained more easily by yourself if you are mechanically inclined.  With the greater ease of access maintenance costs are lower as there is less time intensive when needing servicing the engine. 

4. Better Fuel Economy 

Thanks to their efficient design and light weight, an outboard offers a better fuel economy than an inboard engine. 

When compared with 2 stroke engines, or inboard V6 and V8’s, 4 stroke engines have greater fuel efficiency since fuel is consumed once every 4 strokes. 

Additionally, with power generated only once between these strokes, with no oil or lubricant added to the fuel, these is less pollution. The engine has adaptive speed control features that keep the rpm constant regardless of load variation, boosting the driving pleasure. 

This translates to lower running costs and a better fuel range! 

5. More Storage Capacity 

Another advantage of outboard engines is that they are located outside of the hull, so they don’t take up passenger or storage space inside the boat. 

This can be significant, especially for smaller boats where interior space is always precious. 

No matter how carefully the location of an inboard engine is designed, it takes up a lot of space in the interior of the boat.  Therefore, if you are looking for the maximum capacities available, an outboard is the only way to go as an example compare  https://www.regalboats.com/model/lx2-outboard vs https://www.regalboats.com/model/ls2-bowrider, the difference being inboard motor option vs outboard. 

6. Can be Tilted Out of the Water 

One of the biggest drawbacks of sterndrives is that they can’t be tilted out of the water when they are not in use. This means that if the boat is moored in saltwater, the propulsion system is exposed to corrosion and marine life.   

In contrast, outboards can be tilted all the way up, which keeps the propeller and the entire lower unit out of the water.  Flushing the engine with fresh water after every saltwater use promises that the engine will stay free of corrosive salt buildup or debris. Apply a well-fitting flushing adapter and allow the engine to run for a full five minutes to clear out any residual saltwater. 

7. Better Draft 

Unlike sterndrives, outboards allow you to trim the propeller much higher, which ensures a very shallow draft.  Many Inboard boats need a draft of 36 inches or more were as Outboard can be less than 24 inches. 

This feature lets the boat go into shallower waters. This can be a great advantage to getting into some unique fishing areas for fishermen who want to explore shallow areas! 

8. Versatility 

Last but not least, let’s not forget that outboards provide greater flexibility. 

If an outboard engine does need to be replaced due to age, hours, or getting damaged, outboards can be replaced relatively easily. For example, while it takes days to replace an inboard engine, the same process for an outboard only takes a couple of hours. 

Therefore, this swappable design gives you the opportunity to easily repower your boat, with the make and power of your choice of the outboard. You can choose from a wide variety of sizes and brands of outboards, while the available inboard engine options are usually much more limited. 

Conclusion – Why are Outboards Becoming More Popular? 

Statics show as per the “Globenewswire” – outboard engine Market size and share report, more and more customers are switching to outboards from inboard boat engines, with an ever- growing trend. 

Outboards are lighter and more efficient, so they ensure better power-to-weight ratio and performance. This also translates to faster acceleration and higher top speeds along with better fuel mileage. 

Another advantage of outboards is that they can be tilted completely out of the water. This allows the boat to run in many shallow areas, as well as keeping the engine and the propeller completely tilted out of the salt water, which helps prevent corrosion and buildup. This can be especially advantageous while the boat is moored in corrosive saltwater. 

Outboards are also much easier to maintain and replace than inboard engines. Since they hang on the stern of the boat, they have full 360 degrees of access, for ease of maintenance and service. 

As a whole, outboards don’t take up space inside of the boat, which ensures more storage and possible passenger space, allowing one to store bags, towels, and coolers where normally the inboard engine would be. This can be very important on small model boats where space is always limited. 

In summary, the growing popularity of outboards is unstoppable!   

The first section of NMMA’s 2020 U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, Outboard Engine Sales Trends, is now available. Outboard engine retail sales rose for the ninth consecutive year in 2020 to a total of 330,000 units, the highest annual sales volume in 20 years and up 18% compared to 2019. 

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