It's good to take your time to shop carefully when you're in the market for a new boat engine, since the engine will affect your time on the water just as much as your boat itself. A more powerful engine will enable you to easily pull a skier behind you, and let you build up the speed you need for racing and performance. On the other hand, a sluggish engine will mean some drag when you're trying to tow someone, although there are times when too much speed can also be a problem for your boat. When you're in the market for a new engine, note a few features to look for so you know you make the right choice.


You might assume that you want the engine that will allow you the fastest time on the water, but remember that you need to take into consideration the boat's hull when choosing the horsepower of an engine. Your boat hits the waves or the surface of the water as it travels, and the faster you travel, the harder that impact.

Note if your boat has a Kevlar or carbon fiber hull, which can withstand more impact. If not, you don't want to overspend on an engine that will offer more speed than what is safe for your boat. Inflatable boats and lightweight aluminum fishing boats especially are not typically made to withstand all that impact. Your boat manufacturer may have a recommended horsepower for the engine and a maximum speed at which you can safely travel, so note this first before thinking that more speed and more power will automatically be better for your boat engine.

Diesel versus petrol

If you can choose between diesel or a standard petrol engine, note that diesel may offer more power overall. Diesel engines convert heat into energy, versus petrol engines that simply burn fuel for energy; the heat created by a petrol engine is simply lost. Because diesel is using this heat for added energy, the engine is usually stronger for towing heavier weight, such as a water skier or someone wakeboarding.

However, diesel fuel is usually more expensive than standard petrol, so consider how often you take your boat out and how long you spend on the water. If you don't need that added strength of a diesel engine, it may be more cost-effective to choose a standard petrol engine instead. For more information, consider companies that sell engines like mercruiser engines