UK boating directory

Outboard Motors UK

Performance of an outboard engine
Are you looking for a trolling motor or the amazing, kick you in the back,
power of a 250 HP monster?
With some manufacturers offering a range of outboard motors with 17 different horsepower levels there is a power level to suit all enthusiasts.

Engine reliability

Read studies and reports in the magazines, and also ask other users, of the reliability of the new or used motor that you are considering buying. What is the guarantee, if any?

Repair Service and dealers

Depending on where you live or where you operate your boat, what back up is offered from dealers with a depth of knowledge and commitment to service.

Starting reliability

Ask around your friends and other users about the reliability of starting of any motor that you consider buying. You obviously require fast consistent starts in hot or cold conditions.

Pull Start

Based on past experience with pull-start outboards, many users will not even consider getting a model without electric start.


Some thirty years ago one company introduced microprocessor ignition. Is this something that you should take into account?

Water damage

Are all wiring connectors sealed to prevent water intrusion and possible damage?


Gear Ratios

There are outboard motors on the market that use lower gear ratios so that a bigger prop can be used.


There are engines available that weigh from 10 to 30 lbs less than other motors with the same power.


Is there an easy-to-use freshwater flushing device that lets you wash salt water out of internal passages to protect your engine.


Does the outboard motor that you are considering have a warning system that alerts you to possible problems of overheating, high revs and low oil.

Anti Corrosion and durability

Is stainless steel used for the drive, prop and shift shaft for maximum durability.


Check the law regarding emissions in your location, to ensure that you outboard motor complies with the emission regulations of any environmental protection legislation, now already legislated for a future date.

Outboard motors - two or four stroke

Up to a few years ago, 4-stroke motors and the sea were a very poor combination, but the situation has now improved dramatically. The protagonists for 4 stroke claim the following advantages:-

Less pollution

Most outboard motors have 2-stroke engines, like lawnmowers. 2-stroke engines are lubricated by the oil that is mixed into the gasoline. The exhaust from a 2-stroke engine is smoky and contains unburned oil, which pollutes the water.

On the other hand, 4-stroke outboard motors have engines like the one in your automobile. The lubricating oil is separate from the fuel. It is not burned, and the exhaust is intrinsically much cleaner and friendlier to the environment.

The EPA has mandated that all outboard motors sold after 2006 must meet the minimum pollution standards that currently are met only by 4-stroke engines. It was important to us, philosophically, to choose this option now.

Oil and maintenance

You fill the oil the same way you would fill a car. Checking your oil is also the same, using a calibrated oil stick. And the filter is easy to replace. Changing the oil and applying a little grease at key points will take care of your annual maintenance.

No mixing of oil and gas

It's very convenient not having to mix oil and gas. With 2-stoke engines, I always had problems with this. For example, say your fuel tank is partially full, and you want to top it off before you head up river. How much oil do you add?

Although many newer 2-stroke engines have oil injection systems so you don't have pre-mix the oil and gas, this feature is not always available on the smaller models. And even with oil injection, water pollution is still the main issue.

Less noise

4-stroke engines run quieter than 2-stroke engines, especially at slower speeds. This can make a big difference in your comfort level.

Better fuel economy

At slower speeds, 4-stroke engines can get twice the gas mileage of 2-stroke engines. It's not so much the cost of gas as it is the increased range. With a 4-stroke, you can go further up river on the same tank of gas and see more habitat.

No fouled spark plugs

2-stroke engines tend to foul their spark plugs and then sputter and stall. They need more attention to the spark plugs to keep them running properly. Again, this happens more at slower speeds, the speeds birders will tend to travel at.

Piston wear

While 2-stroke engines rely on gas or air to carry a thin oil film to critical components, our four-strokes bathe every internal component in oil under constant pressure. Ports in 2-stroke cylinders and pistons accelerate piston and ring wear. But there are no intake and exhaust ports in a 4-stroke cylinder or piston, so they can run with tighter tolerances for longer life.

How easy to find replacement parts and spares ?

If you need e.g. props, pistons, starters, ignition gear, gears, tanks, bearings, seals, caps, carbs, shafts, springs, are they easily available?

Vintage Outboard Motors

Enthusiasts of antique and vintage outboard motors generally fall into two categories. First, there is the enthusiast or sportsperson who buys an old motor at a yard sale with an eye on restoring and actually using it. Second, there is the enthusiast who performs a complete, authentic restoration for the pure satisfaction of returning a vintage piece of machinery to its original condition. Often this second motor will become a static display, displayed at the occasional boat show. There is a splendid association that you can contact at vintage outboard motors where you can read about other enthusiasts and find out where they meet.

Using your outboard motor

It is always recommended that you read, and follow meticulously, the operation and maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer in the owner's manual.

Outboard engines UK