If you are considering a powerboat, you are likely looking for just that: power. A boat’s performance is determined in large part by the engine and drive system. There are three basic engine types: outboard, inboard, and sterndrive. An outboard motor is inappropriate for a powerboat, but the other two are both options offered for the engine propulsion system. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
An inboard engine is located completely within the hull of the boat, with the drive shaft running through the hull to an attached propeller. This is a powerful drive system, and it is often used in larger powerboats. It offers advantages in stability and maintenance and is less susceptible to corrosion. The inboard engine loses points for fuel efficiency and for the fact that there is no tilt-up mechanism to allow shallow water operation.
In a sterndrive inboard/outboard engine, the motor is situated in the transom of the boat, while the drive mechanism is located inboard. These are often installed on the smaller powerboats. The advantages of these engines are:
- A tilt mechanism that makes them great in shallow water
- Increased fuel efficiency
The inboard/outboard motors do tend to corrode more easily, particularly in saltwater, which means they often do not last as long.
Many of the powerboats on the market today offer both inboard and sterndrive options. The best choice depends on which advantages are best suited for your own needs and which disadvantages are ones that you can live with.