Why Do Boats Have Multiple Outboards? (7 Reasons)

Boats have outboards, inboards, or even stern drive motors. All these engines have different uses on the boat and have different challenges and benefits. However, this article will majorly discuss how many outboards a boat has and why they need all of them.

Why do boats have multiple outboards? Reason is that they give the boat improved power and outstanding overall performance.

Outboard motors are set outside the boat, and their primary users are light commercial and fishing boats. They are easy to maintain, mainly because of their position, which is outside. That way, the space inside the boat will be fully maximized. Read through to the end to know different reasons as to why boats have multiple outboards.

Top Reasons Why Boats Have Multiple Outboards

The first example is the inboard/outboard motor situated half inside the boat and half outside the boat. They are also known as stern drive motors, and they were trendy before outboard motors. If your boat is mainly on shallow waters, then this motor is the best for you.

Why Do Boats Have Multiple Outboards? (7 Reasons)

Multiple outboard motors have become very popular, and with advanced technology, there are no significant drawbacks like excess weight, increased drag, or a high surface area. Since many boats are using multiple outboards nowadays, we will discuss why boats have multiple outboards.

1. High Horsepower

Multiple outboard motors increase the holeshot power. If a hull is fitted with 1000 horsepower, it will be faster than 750 horsepower. With modern motors, you will get lighter motors, which will make it easier on the boat. Today’s motors are also small in size, so you don’t have to worry about the surface area. Therefore, if you upgrade to multiple outboard motors to increase speed, you don’t have to worry about drag or extra weight.

With every outbound motor, you get increased 6-10mph speed. You have to keep in mind that speed will also depend on the stroke the motor has. A four-stroke motor has become more prevalent in this generation than a two-stroke motor since they have a speed advantage. Acceleration time in a four-stroke motor is better than other motors in terms of speed and reduced torque.

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2. Trolling vs. Speeding

Most fishing tests take into consideration speed as a skill. You have to be able to reach the fishing area as quickly as possible. You should also have the skill of being quiet and that way you can prevent the fish from running away from you. Most fishing boats have multiple outboard motors to get to the fishing spot as fast as possible. After you have reached the fishing spot, the outboard motors can slow the power engine and lower the noise level. When you are trolling for fish, you have to be able to lower the noise.

Trolling is when the boat moves very quietly and slow while having a bait at its back. The bait will attract the fish, and trolling will control noise and speed. You also have to know then you should not keep the outboard motor idle for a while as the motor will be damaged. To keep the costs low, most anglers use kicker motors as they can keep idle.

3. Fishing Tournaments

Depending on the event, fishing competitions are particular on the type of setup. The sport is prevalent in that it attracts professional participants that come with big brand endorsements. To participate, you need a specialized boat with multiple motors so that it can do specific activities.

With multiple outboard motors, they can successfully achieve speed, enabling them to reach the fishing spot as quickly as possible. They choose outboard motors because they are smaller in size and have a high speed.

4. Dinghy Set Up

Boats also have multiple outboard motors so that they can use an inflatable dinghy. An auxiliary outboard motor is sometimes added to allow the boat to use an inflatable dinghy. An example is the large boats with two engines, the small one for dinghy operation and the bigger one for operating the boat.

It is easy to attach a dinghy to a boat with outboard motors as they hang from the transom. The dinghy is inflatable and can be used when anchoring the boat or when an unexpected disaster occurs. That way, it can be used to save lives.

5. Back Up Motor

Going deep into the ocean can be very dangerous, mainly if you only depend on a single motor. Having a boat with multiple outboard motors will ensure a backup motor if one of them breaks down. With outboard motors, your boat will not only look good, but it will also be very efficient. However, you have to know that they are less reliable and have an inboard motor just in case of anything.

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6. Navigating Tides

It is very common to come across strong tides when sailing, that most people think. The most common rule to help you get your boat through the tides is to ensure that they are not working against you. However, it may not be possible to manage it every time you are at sea. That is why you need multiple outboard motors, and they will be beneficial when climbing a strong tide so that you can get to safety as soon as possible.

Even anglers who depend on weather predictions get caught in bad weather more often than most. If they were on a long-range boating ride, there are electric storms that can be very dangerous. If you are unluckily caught in one of them, get out of it as quickly as possible. Having a boat with multiple outboard motors will make it easy and faster.

7. Turns Heads

Modern motors are way more powerful than the motors that were built in the past. One boat can have as many outboard motors as nine, making it more expensive and more fashionable. When your boat has multiple outboard motors, people will turn their heads to look at it. This is very common, especially if you have a luxury boat with multiple outboard motors.

It means they may have up to 1000 horsepower just hanging from the transom; it may overpower the boat but will turn heads. The more the outboard motors, the more the horsepower was making it more attractive. That is why expensive boats have several outboard motors to make a statement.

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What Is The Maximum Number Of Outboard Motors a Boat Can Have?

The government is the one that decides the maximum amount of horsepower that different types of boats should have. That is because if you exceed that specified number, it can be perilous for you. Outboard motors manufacturers will advertise, encouraging you to have multiple outboard motors because they want to improve sales and make more profit.

It is not wise to overpower the boat with too many outboard motors as unsafe and illegal. The government has strict laws that are clearly defined, so it will be wise to follow them. Failure to do so will lead to penalties and fines, and if there is an accident, you may end up in an expensive lawsuit.

Too many outboard motors will also affect the insurance coverage. If you go higher than the recommended horsepower and get into an accident, the insurance company may fail to pay. If they approve, they will require you to pay more premium, which is more costs than expected. You want to know how many outboard motors are too many, you should read the law regarding your type of boat.

Reasons Against Using Multiple Outboard Motors

We have discussed the question (why do boats have multiple outboards?), below are reasons against using them. Read through so that you can have both sided for a better decision.


You should go for one outboard motor instead of multiple because one is more efficient. One engine is more efficient because of hydrodynamic drag. With multiple outboard motors, the boat will be slowed down, and the frictional penalty will go high. Going into the water every day purposely to earn a living, having drag can cost them a lot.

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You may think that the more the outbound, the more the speed, but that is not always true. More outboard motors can lead to less speed than when you have a few of them. You can also go for one motor with higher horsepower than several that cannot even add to it.

Less cost

The more outboard motors that you install, the more it will cost you. That is because you are buying way more staff like gears, pistons, and blocks. You will incur extra costs because you will need steering gear, fuel delivery systems, and instrumentation.


People with multiple outboard motors argue that they have that many so that they always have a backup. However, that may not be true because anything mechanical can break down, and the more the parts, the more the damage. More engines mean more headaches and high costs of maintenance. That is why most commercial boats have one outboard motor.


There are many reasons why boats have multiple outboards. Before you go ahead to install several outbound on your boat, make sure it is legal and safe. Most people do it for luxury and speed, so you go right ahead if that is your reason. However, you don’t need many outboard motors for your boat to have speed and function well. Just a few or even just one will be effective.


Hi, I’m John who owns multiple different boats and i love all kinds of water activities. From boating to fishing, from scuba diving to windsurfing, from water tubing to snow tubing.

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