Outdrives: Match to Boat’s Needs for Smooth Sailing

Imagine being on your vessel with your family or friends, enjoying a long weekend of sport fishing, when the engine fails! How would you feel? The very thought is Irritating, right? A vessel's machinery is one of its essential components. You must choose the suitable boat motor per the kind and characteristics of your vessel.

As a result, the propeller selection process aims to decide what type of outdriver and what size propeller will improve the running efficiency of your boat while enabling your engine to function inside the accepted RPM range.

A properly sized propeller can keep your engine from revving too fast while turning at the minimum RPM. This will allow the engine to produce its optimum horsepower without causing any unnecessary wear and tear.

Continue reading our guidelines for selecting the best outdriver for your boat.

What is an Outdrive?

The outdrive motor is the lower part of an outboard attached to the inboard engine, which is often an automobile engine that runs on four strokes and is installed in the hull. The outdrive allows the propeller to be transmitted and steered beyond the hull.

The outdrive can be linked to the inboard stern engine, or the back of the boat can have an outboard motor attached.

The advantage of outdrives like the Volvo Penta outdrive stems from how inboard and outboard (I/O) engines are built. The upper portion of an outdrive is connected to the engine by a driveshaft that passes through the hull. Two right-angle gears carry power from the upper section to the lower section and onto the propeller.

Outdrives are superior to shaft drives in terms of the amount of drag they generate and the fuel required due to their excellent design. If you're interested in doing this, an inboard-driven boat can be easily modified to accommodate one.

Just before shopping for outdrives, you need to know what to look out for, as outlined in the following section.

1. Understand How Outdrive Motors Work

To fully understand what outdrives are, it helps first to know how they are constructed. Small boats typically have a single sterndrive unit on the transom's middle bottom area. Larger vessels usually have two, one on each side of the boat, at both starboard and port.

How do They Propel the Vessel?

If you glance at a typical diagram of a outdrive, you'll be able to make out the complex relationship between the units, the propeller, and the inboard engine. It has components like driveshafts, gear sets, and propeller shafts that work together to ensure that when the engine starts, the propeller moves.

In most systems, there is just one propeller; however, others have two that rotate in the opposite direction, which many consider more efficient. Even though it has two boat motor systems, it is a pretty simple system when it comes to how it drives a boat.

2. Know the Vital Characteristics of a Good Outdrive System

If you look closely at how an outdrive unit is made, you will notice that it is built to be as efficient as possible. It's wider up front and narrower in the back for maximum thrust and minimum drag. The "fin" at the very bottom of the device is similarly useless.

Exhaust pipes and other high-tech elements are included in several models to keep engines at optimal temperatures throughout operation. Some units feature water-repellent coverings to keep the motor dry throughout any journey.

It is also essential to keep the motor cool. To accomplish this, certain sterndrives have minute holes that let engine-cooling water into them.

Boats that spend much time in saltwater generally have zinc anodes installed where the outdrives are connected. These sterndrive components are called "sacrificial" because they will deteriorate before the metal components.

Some bigger boats have propellers that turn in opposite directions. This gives the vessel more control and makes it easier to turn. Some models have a built-in safety feature, like a reverse latching mechanism. Its primary purpose is to avert harm to the boat should the unit ever strike the bottom with sufficient force to release it (and some parts of the boat with it!). Depending on how they are made and how lucky you are, these devices may keep the sterndrive from getting damaged.

3. Allow Use in Saltwater

Most sterndrive engines are constructed to resist the corrosive effects of seawater, although sterndrive engines are probably more challenging to maintain (barnacles can be particularly problematic!). However, you shouldn't leave your outdrives submerged in water, especially when cruising in saltwater.


When it comes to making the most out of your time spent boating, one of the most important decisions you can make is which boat outdriver to choose. It makes the ride easier, makes you more comfortable, and makes you more likely to have peace of mind while at sea.

You'll be well on your way to finding the perfect match if you take the time to learn about outdrives, assess your boat, think about the sailing conditions, and set a reasonable budget. Remember that even though the ocean might be unexpected, your experience when sailing does not need to be if you have quality equipment. Happy sailing!

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