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For many people, the mere concept of sailboat motors may seem ridiculous. After all, aren’t the sails specifically designed to create the ability for a motorless boat? While technically, yes, the truth behind the practice may be a bit more complicated than you first thought. Marine Diesel Specialists, MAN engine service professionals, have years of experience in the marine industry and are happy to present this quick guide to motorized sailboat practices. So, why do sailboats have motors, and how are they used by boaters?

Does a Sailboat Have a Motor?

Answering the face-value question is easy enough. Do sailboats have motors? Often yes. But how common is it to see a sailboat with engine functions out on the water? The truth is that most sailboats these days make use of the convenience of motors to varying degrees. Some may have only one depending on the scale of the vessel or frequency of use, while others, such as catamarans, house two in order to propel their larger frames.

Although the use of sails is a great way to get your boat moving, it is usually a choice made for leisure and lack of sound as opposed to a practical one. It is because of that reason that a motorized sailboat will often be using the engine when more convenient while opting for sails when more desirable. But when is it that these so-called boats with no motor need to opt for a more mechanical approach?

Why Do Sailboats Have Engines?

Now that the question of do sailboats have motors or not has been answered, in what instances do sailors use the modern technology at their disposal? There are a few circumstances that are predictably more common scenarios for sailboat owners to use motors, some of which include the following:

  • Out in the channel: When sailing in a channel, the winds can change your speed and trajectory when you would rather keep straight. Motors are more convenient for boaters when traveling in these designated zones.
  • Pulling into a marina: When you’re pulling into a marina or a docking location, you will likely require the ability to make some quick and specific movements. While the wind is an amazing source of propelling power, it may not always be accurate, so motors may be required.
  • In emergency situations: Sometimes, you need to get somewhere specific in a hurry. You might not have time to locate the wind and let it propel you, or you simply do not have time to sail. A need for speed is one of the main reasons to always have a motor available.

Why do sailboats have motors? For a variety of reasons! The ones listed above are just some of the most common uses for motors on sailboats but are by no means an entire list of ways that machinery like this could be useful. 

Our South Florida Marine Diesel Experts Are Here to Help!

Just like any other form of motorized transportation, the motors on sailboats will require maintenance in the form of servicing and part replacement. Luckily, Marine Diesel Specialists is an expert company as providers of MAN engine parts and servicing for motors of all kinds! Get in touch with our team today or read some of our other boating articles to get more insights into the industry and activity.


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