Types of Engines

Powerboats can be propelled by outboard, inboard, stern-drive (also known as inboard/outboard) or jet drive motors. An outboard motor clamps directly to the transom or can be mounted using special brackets. Outboard motors range in size from 2 to 275 horse-power. Outboard engines run on either gasoline or battery power.

Inboard engines are much like automobile engines, using either gasoline or diesel fuel. These engines are usually mounted in the middle of the boat (amidships) and are connected to the propeller by long shafts.

Similar to inboard motors, stern driven engines are like automobile engines. They fit into the hull, and connect to a drive unit attached to the outside of the transom. The drive unit, called the lower unit or outdrive, is like the lower half of an outboard motor.

Jet drive engines consist of a pump that draws water into a housing where it shoots out at high pressure through a steerable nozzle. This jet of water propels the boat. Most personal watercraft use jet drive engines. You'll find details about personal watercraft in Chapter 4.

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