Choosing the right type of propulsion system for your boat is very important. Both weight and horsepower will have an impact on the performance of your boat. If your boat is underpowered, the engine will work harder continually, providing poor performance. If your boat is overpowered, it may exceed the safe operating speed for which it was designed. Manufacturers and dealers will have a recommended power package for each boat they manufacture and sell.
When choosing the appropriate power for your boat, consider the size and weight of the boat and remember that weight includes your passengers, fuel and gear. A good rule of thumb is to come as close as possible to the maximum horsepower that your boat is rated for.
When looking at gasoline engines (outboard, stern drive or inboard), there are three distinct types of fuel delivery systems on the market. Each fuel delivery system is unique, and there are benefits to each system.
Courtesy of BoaterExam.com
Diesel engines rely on compression to power the engine. Their design is similar to a traditional gas engine, with crankshafts and cylinders and pistons; however, the fuel systems on a diesel engine are completely different and more complex. Diesel engines range in size and horsepower. While they’re widely used in other parts of the world, in the United States, they’re typically found in boats larger than 35 feet. The main reason diesel engines are not used in smaller boats is weight. In general, a diesel engine weighs more than a gas engine. However, they are used in larger vessels because of their ability to produce torque.
These engines are modified for maritime use. Gasoline inboard engines range from 90 horsepower to over 1000 horsepower per engine and are used in a variety of boats, from tow sport boats to large cruisers. In an inboard engine configuration, the engine sits amidships, with a drive running through the bottom of the boat to a propeller, and a separate rudder used for steering. A transmission is often used to transfer power from the engine to the propeller. Exhaust is passed through the stern of the boat. Inboards are common for tow sports such as waterskiing, wakeboarding as they allow the propeller to be brought forward of the back of the boat, providing area for platforms to assist skiers entering and exiting the boat.
Jet Boat Engines
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