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Boat owners have an array of choices when it comes to picking an engine, otherwise known as a motor or drive. The basic mechanical principle of a boat engine is the same as for any interval combustion engine, such as those that power cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Boat engines are an important topic whether you are buying, selling, or maintaining a boat. Our team at Marine Diesel Specialists wants to make sure that you know all there is to know about the basic type of boat engines. 

When considering the boat and motor that are best for your needs, it is important to keep in mind that not all motors are created the same. There are many different types of boat engines circulating the market. Each is suited for different types of boats and different types of usage. Boat engines all have varying advantages and disadvantages when considering boat engine parts and boat engine repair. Below we review different types of engines and what they work best for. 

Inboard Engines

Inboard engines are located inside the boat’s hull. Inboard engines are four-stroke automotive engines that have been modified for use on the water. Boats used for water sports should have an inboard engine. The position of an inboard engine makes it safe for water skiers, wakeboarders, and tubers, as it helps prevent them from hitting the propeller whenever they get too close to the boat. 

Outboard Boat Engines

Outboard boat engines are the most common type of boat propulsion, found on most freshwater fishing boats and on many pleasure crafts. Boats with outboard engines carry self-contained engine units mounted to the rear wall, known as the transom of the boat. An outboard motor serves as a steerer to control the boat’s direction of movement. 

One advantage of mounting on outboard engines is easy maintenance. Depending on the depth of the water, you can also tilt the outboard conveniently to avoid any damage being done. 


Typically the main reason people buy second-hand boats fitted with sterndrives is that they are very common, they are cheaper than other types, and they provide good handling characteristics. Sterndrives are a great option for trailer boats, especially if you have any barnacle growth on them. These engines need to be serviced yearly, but they are still a good all-around option. A sterndrive is a combination of outboard and inboard engines. Like an outboard, the lower drive unit on a sterndrive can be pivoted up to facilitate moving the boat in and out of the water. 

Pod Drive

A pod drive is a marine propulsion system where the gearbox and drive are mounted right beneath the boat in the water. Pod drives have been around since 2005, and an increasing number of cruising yachts have been outfitted with these systems. They have one or more self-contained pods mounted to the bottom of the boat, which transfer engine power to thrust. Typically, pod drives are more expensive when it comes to maintenance and repairs. 

Jet Boat Engine 

Unlike engines that use propellers in the water, jet boat engines suck water in through the bottom of the boat. The water is then expelled through a nozzle located in the boat’s stern to propel the boat forward. These engines are best for boaters spending time in shallow waters as they have no propeller, meaning there is no need to worry about snagging. In smaller boats, jet drives have the advantage of very fast acceleration but are quite loud and not very efficient when it comes to fuel economy. Jet skis use this kind of motor. 

Our Marine Diesel Specialists are Here to Help

When it comes to the different types of boat engines, knowing which one is right for your vessel depends on a variety of factors. Knowing about these basic boat engines will give you a general baseline for understanding the function and purpose of each so you can make the best choice. Our Fort Lauderdale team and Punta Gorda Gulf Coast Diesel Service experts are equipped to help you with all your boat engine needs.

If you are looking into acquiring a new boat or boat engine, reach out to our team of professionals. If you are interested in more articles like this one, which offers unique insights into the boating world from a team of professionals in the industry, then be sure to read some of our other articles. Here you will get more information from the source.