Yesterday, we discussed the bare essentials of outboard motors. Today, we continue our series of posts geared toward beginners – boat enthusiasts in the making who want to revel in what’s left of the glorious summer season. After establishing that you do in fact want to invest in an outboard motor of some kind, it’s time to investigate and compare a few small engines in terms of horsepower.
Engines in the 2 to 4 hp range are almost exclusively 2-stroke outboards. They are intended to be used with inflatables, small sailboats or other lightweight craft. A larger motor, while more powerful, would be overdoing it for these boats; it would weigh them down rather than provide more speed. The next class of engine, ranging from 5 to 8 hp, could be referred to as mid-range motors suitable for trolling and slightly bigger sailboats. Those in the 10 to 18 hp range are even more powerful and suitable for long distance travel. If you’re trolling around with two or more passengers, these are a safe bet.
Whichever class of engine you choose, be sure to take steps to extend its lifespan through careful maintenance. The most simple yet constantly overlooked aspect of outboard maintenance has to be the addition of fresh outboard oil. Lubrication is the key to a smooth-running, long-lasting engine.