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Different Types of Marine Engines

If you love going out on the water and want to buy your first boat or just get an upgrade, knowing the different types of marine engines is crucial. One of the most common questions we get asked when someone is looking for a boat is, ‘what types of marine engines are there?’ Before determining the perfect boat engine for your needs, it’s important to ask yourself what you are going to use the boat for, where you are going to keep it and how much will you use it. As Australia’s home of marine and industrial power, we offer customers world-class brands on both water and on land.

Marine Engine torqeedo deep blue 29 sml

Marine engine types

When it comes to powering boats, there are a few main types of marine engines: outboard, inboard, stern and jet drive engines, plus pod drives. While some people just need their water vehicle to take them on occasional leisure jaunts, others need an engine suited for the thrills of water sports or more serious fishing trips.

Then there’s the choice of petrol vs diesel engines, but that’s an argument for another time.

Outboard marine engines

An outboard engine is mounted on the transom of a boat and is used to both power and steer the boat. To steer a boat with an outboard engine, you actually move the entire engine. Outboard engines are most commonly used for fishing, water sports and pleasure boating. 

If you’re looking for an outboard marine engine, why not check out the fully electric Torqeedo Deep Blue 50R? It’s whisper-quiet and the perfect green alternative for commercial operators and green boaties – it even has an optional integrated onboard computer with a touchscreen display.

Inboard marine engines

An inboard engine is located – you guessed it – inside the boat’s hull. These engines power a drive shaft that’s connected to a propeller. An inboard marine engine does not steer the boat, but instead it has a rudder or rudders behind the propeller and controlled by a steering wheel. Inboard boat engines are often used for water sports because they create more predictable waves and excellent torque, and also for high use recreational and commercial boats.

Check out the Yanmar range of diesel inboard marine engines for your next boat, with power ranging from 9hp for sailing boats, up to 440hp for powerboats and up to 1,882hp for commercial engines

Marine Engine yanmar engine with sterndrive sml

Sterndrive marine engines

A sterndrive engine (sometimes called an inboard-outboard) utilises an inboard engine, mounted on the inside of the hull, for power, which is attached to a drive unit that resembles the lower portion of an outboard engine. And just like outboard engines, this drive unit is used to steer the boat. Sterndrives are perfect for those wanting more horsepower and torque, as well as agility. 

Pod drives

Pod drives utilise an inboard engine, with a gearbox and drive unit connected directly to the engine, and mounted right beneath the boat in the water. Much like a sterndrive, the exhaust and water inlet is incorporated with the drive and they are mounted in a manner that allows them to increase fuel efficiency, and reduce drag. They’re also great for docking and tight spaces around marinas, although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than the more traditional shaftdrive and sterndrive layouts.

Different Types of Marine Engines sml

Jet drive marine engines

A jet drive engine uses water to propel the boat and steer it. Water enters through a small inlet at the bottom and is then thrust outwards, creating acceleration. Jet drive marine engines are great for high-performance scenarios such as PWC, and work best in shallow water. Another great feature of jet drive propulsion is that there are no exposed propeller blades.

How to choose the best marine engine for your boat

When choosing the perfect marine engine for your needs, it is important to look at the size and weight of your boat as well as how many passengers and how much equipment you plan on carrying. One great rule of thumb is to go as close as you can to the maximum horsepower that your boat is rated for. 
If you’re unsure about which marine engine is best for you, find your nearest authorised Power Equipment dealer here.