- Essential power packs for inflatable boats and smaller boats -
With outboard motors, all components (engine, transmission, gearbox, propeller) function in one single constructed unit. This gives them an advantage over inboard motors, because they can be removed from the boat with little effort. The propeller at the bottom of the motor shaft drives the boat and it is steered by tiller or remote. The outboard can be started by hand or electric start. With an electric start, remote switching/steering is also possible. There are restrictions on the use of outboard motors in certain cruising areas.
Outboard motors are ideal for inflatable boats, dinghies and tenders, but can also be used as auxiliary propulsion for sailboats. Smaller boats have only one outboarder. When using two outboarders, a motor is often associated with a left and a right-hand rotation propeller. By using the opposite direction of rotation, the boat has a neutralized screw effect and improved directional stability.
Classic petrol motor or electric outboard?
There are basically two "drive forms" when it comes to outboards: electric motors and classic combustion engines, i. e. petrol outboards.
To help you decide which outboard motor to buy - Our SVB experts recommend...
... a petrol outboard if you:
- have a larger inflatable boat or want to use the engine as an auxiliary drive for sailboats
. - want high performance
- want to go longer distances
- want speed
- want greater flexibility with regard to length of use
→ Petrol engines usually deliver higher power.
... an electric outboard if you:
- have a smaller inflatable or dinghy that is up to 2.50 m in length
- want to visit nature reserves and regions where there are restrictions on petrol engines
. - want to use the motor mainly for fishing
. - want a low-maintenance, low-wear motor that is simple to operate and keep in good condition
. - want your motor to be light in weight
- have the means to charge the battery or batteries easily
- want to cover shorter distances, speed is not a priority for you and you are travelling on waters with little current
. → Electric motors are lighter, quieter and kinder to the environment. Range is shorter.
Petrol & electric outboards -summary
✓ Outboard motors can be easily mounted & dismounted without much effort. You cannot use them in all sailing areas.
✓ Petrol engines usually deliver higher power.
✓ Electric motors are lighter, quieter and kinder to the environment. Range is shorter.
We have several outboard motors with remote control in our online shop. A remote control box is included in the delivery with these outboards. Mercury outboards also come with a tilt axis mount. This must be ordered separately for Honda outboards. Our Torqeedo outboards with remote steering come with a remote throttle but without connections to the remote steering. We can gladly order other outboards with remote control or corresponding conversion kits on request.
Outboarders are primarily mounted on the stern of the boat, or in an engine bay close to the stern. They can be easily mounted & dismounted without much effort. The engine can often be pulled or tilted at an angle, so that the underwater part is not damaged during transport or landing. If outboard motors are mounted to swivel to the side, the boat can be controlled by the pivoting effect, rather than by a rudder. Therefore, most boats, which have an outboarder, don't have separate rudders.
Outboarders are manufactured for attachment to different boats with different lengths of shafts. The length of these units ranges between normal or short shaft (15") and long shaft (20"). In our online shop you can easily see if the motor is long or short shaft in the product name. An L in the name, such as on the Honda BF 10 LHU, or an S, such as on the Honda BF 2.3 SCHU, lets you know which is which.
The required shaft length is entirely dependent on the height of the stern. The outboard motor must be mounted so that the anti-ventilation plate above the propeller is aligned slightly above or at the same level as the bottom of the boat. To do this, measure the distance between the clamp bracket on the transom (upper edge of transom) and the lower edge of the boat hull. The propeller of the outboard motor must be completely under water. Otherwise, the outboard motor will suck in air and engine damage may occur. If it is too deep in the water, this can affect efficiency, handling and consumption. In the worst case, it could come into contact with the bottom and damage the propeller or underwater part. If the shaft length is not correct in relation to the boat's transom, the overall handling characteristics of the boat will be reduced.
Based on the measured length (between transom edge and keel) you can determine the required shaft length:
- Short shaft motor: approx. 38 cm transom height
- Long shaft motor: approx. 50/51 cm transom height
An short-shaft outboard motor is perfect for all the inflatable boats you can buy in our online shop. Only for our rigid-hulled SEATEC GT Sport 410 should you choose a long-shaft outboard.
The engine power you should choose depends on several factors:
1. Size and dead weight of your boat
2. The number of passengers to be carried (weight) and the resulting total weight
3. Water current strength
For medium-sized inflatable boats of 2-3 metres, a 5 hp outboard is usually fine if there is little or no current. For large inflatable boats of 4 metres or more in length, or for smaller boats that are used in cruising areas with strong waves or strong currents, more powerful outboard motors with 5-20 hp are recommended.
In our online shop, the respective power or thrust of each outboard motor is given in the motor's name. For example, the SUZUKI DF 2.5 S is a 2.5 hp engine with a short shaft and the Honda BF10 LHU is a 10 hp engine with a long shaft. If you are looking for a suitable inflatable boat motor, you will find the information "motorisable up to XY kw / hp" as well as a maximum motor weight on the respective product pages of our inflatable boats.
Boats with outboard motors can travel at different speeds depending on the type of boat, construction, load (people etc.), wind, water current and outboard motor (hp, number).
One SVB customer shares his impressions of his inflatable boat with outboard motor purchased from us in this review:
- Boat: SEATEC Pro Sport 310 inflatable boat / rigid hull / 4 persons / 3.08m (Itm. No.: 55811)
- Drive: Outboard BF 15 SHU / short shaft / manual start (Honda 15 hp 4-stroke, itm. no.: 38515)
- Propeller: 4-blade propeller 9 14x10 and 4-blade propeller 9 14x11
- Where? Lower Weser River, Germany
According to the GPS, our customer reached a speed of 46km/h with the 4 blade propeller 9 14 x 10. At 4000rpm a speed of 26km/h was reached. When using a 4-blade propeller 9 14x11, the customer reached a speed of 48km/h when sailing alone. At 4000 rpm, 34 km/h. "The outboard doesn't rev out with the 11 propeller, so it's a bit quieter".
With two people in the boat, the customer managed to glide at full throttle with around 40km/h.
According to Helvetia.com, motor boats driven without a licence may have a maximum speed of 12 km/h in still waters.
In inshore areas, persons aged 16 and over may drive recreational craft up to a length of 15 metres without a licence, provided that the net power of the engine does not exceed 11.03 kW (15 hp) and that it is not used commercially. The only exception to this regulation is on the Rhine. Due to international regulations, a driving licence is required for a net power of more than 2.68 kW. At sea, sport boats up to a maximum net power of 3.68 kilowatts (5 hp) may be operated without a licence, irrespective of age, as long as they are not used commercially. With a net power of 3.69 to 11.03 kW, the skipper must also be at least 16 years old to be able to operate a pleasure boat at sea without a licence for private purposes. There is no length limit here for recreational craft.
Of course, this regulation not only applies to smaller boats with outboard engines, but also to motorboats or sailboats with inboard diesel engines. In the run-up to and after the introduction of regulatory amendments to rules regarding recreational craft in October 2012, some massive objections and safety concerns were expressed. Here, we can only ask that hobby skippers act responsibly to "sensibly" handle stronger powered engines. In some situations, the new regulation can even improve safety, as: "Many boats were dangerously underpowered in crisis situations with a 5 hp motor".
Before dispatching our outboards, the SVB team carries out a delivery inspection to ensure that nothing can go wrong when using the motor.
What control cables do I need for my outboard motor?
Honda/Suzuki outboard engines require C2 standard control cables. These control cables are not compatible with Mercury/Mercruiser and Mariner outboards. C5 control cables are needed here. Control cables are not included with outboard motors and must always be ordered separately.