Is There Such Thing As TOO Much Outboard Motor Horsepower On A Boat? [POLL]

By: Joseph Simonds on August 11, 2015
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outboard motor horsepower

So how many outboard motors do you have on your boat?

One motor?

Two motors?

Three motors?

Four motors?

Five motors?

Eight motors?

outboard motor horsepower

This is an actual drug boat that was confiscated with eight 250-horsepower engines (with a total fuel storage capacity of 15,000 litres) which enabled them to outrun pursuers at speeds up 60 knots. These drug smuggling crafts were designed with low profiles (to avoid radar detection) and were painted grey or black to make them difficult to spot on the water. Image Source:

Hard to believe, but this is a real boat in the picture above (with eight outboard engines)!

Of course, this is not your everyday fishing boat (it was a drug smuggling boat), but needless to say, this boat probably is wee bit heavy in the outboard motor area…

But in all seriousness, are we reaching a point of outboard motor horsepower mania on the new boats today, or is all of this power and new boat motor technology a blessing?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of bigger, lighter, more powerful, and MORE outboard motors.

But first, a funny motor story that just took place this past weekend with my soon to be 92-year old grandfather.

Why My 91-year Old Grandfather Almost Fell Out Of His Chair!

outboard motor horsepower

My dad Larry, my grandfather Richard (91 years old), Joe Simonds (the author), and my 4-year old daughter Shauna with her favorite pink fishing rod.

This past weekend, I was incredibly fortunate to experience something that few people get to do in terms of their family…

Getting to spend time with four generations in one place. In the pic above, this is four generations of the Simonds’ family around the lake and firepit exchanging fishing stories and boating stories from the past.

And one of the questions that my grandfather asked was, “What is the most powerful outboard engine they make these days?”

When I told him the answer, he almost fell out of his chair…

“557 Horsepower,” I replied.

Note: Seven Marine also has a 627 Horsepower engine, you just don’t see as many around as the 557… Yet.

outboard motor horsepower

Here is an awesome pic of the Seven “7” Marine 557 horsepower engines on a beautiful new Hydrasport

My grandfather went on to tell us about his first saltwater fishing boat he ever purchased with one of his best friends after they got back from the war (my grandfather proudly served in the Marines).

It was 22ft long, and it had not one, but two of the most powerful boat engines sold in America at the time…

25 Horsepower!

That’s right, they had a total of 50 horsepower propelling them on a 22ft saltwater boat all around the Daytona Beach area where they liked to fish at the time.

My grandfather said he vividly remembers that at least two people had to stand up on the bow just to get the boat on a plane with those two 25 HP boat motors chugging away at full capacity.

Needless to say, he could have used A LOT more horsepower on that boat.

But would he have needed triple 250 HP boat motors, or could he have had a similar performing boat (without as much out of pocket money or things to break down in the future) with one nice 300HP outboard engine?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of having a lot of horsepower in your outboard boat.

The Pros Of Multiple High Horsepower Outboard Boat Motors

  • The most obvious is SPEED. The more horsepower, the faster your boat should go
  • You can get to fishing honey holes faster (critical for high-end fishing tournaments, etc)
  • You can get away from electrical storms faster…
  • Your boat will usually look tougher (aka it turns heads when you see beautiful trip or quad engines on a nice boat)
  • It is entirely possible to actually get better gas mileage with full capacity motors on your boat (hitting your boat’s maximum horsepower rating), as boats tend to perform at their best when they are never struggling (like my grandfather’s twin 25HP engines).
  • If you are way offshore and one engine breaks down, it isn’t the end of the world if you have a couple more working engines back there…

The Cons Of Multiple High Horsepower Outboard Boat Motors

  • The most obvious it that it costs more money for every engine you slap on the back of your boat
  • If you exceed your boat’s maximum capacity horsepower rating, it can become counterproductive and even dangerous
  • Even with today’s lighter boat engines, there is no getting around the fact that they more engines you have on your boat, the heavier the boat will be (aka it could be hurting your gas mileage if you don’t have your boat optimally fitted)
  • As any boat owner knows, more engines means more controls, more electrical, more instruments… equals MORE things that can BREAK on your boat…

But at the end of the day, most of us are wired to want everything to go FASTER… and of course that includes our boats… even if we never actually max it out.

And it is very tough to argue that triple (aka “trip”) or quad engines don’t make a boat look tougher (aka “Salt Strong”).

In fact, I am still drooling over the custom black Hydrasport 53′ with quad engines that we were parked next to on a sandbar in Islamorada a couple of weeks ago. That boat was a masterpiece!

If you haven’t seen the most powerful and highest-performing outboard motor on the waterways, then make sure to check out the Seven “7” Marine video below before taking the quick outboard POLL.

Finally, if you want to know my personal thoughts on what the marketplace wants in terms of powerful outboard engines?

Well, as Tom Cruise famously said in Top Gun…

outboard motor horsepower

Check out the Seven Marine Quad 557s in action on the water below. Pretty sick!

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P.S. – Please Share this with your angling and boating friends if you think they would enjoy chiming in and taking the outboard motor poll. It would mean a lot to us. You Rock! Fish On!

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Pam Lassila
Pam Lassila
3 years ago

Wow that is a big motor! I bet your boat could go so fast! Some of my favorite childhood memories involves boating with my family on lakes in the summertime. They are so much fun.

Alex Trodder
Alex Trodder
4 years ago

That picture of the boat with eight outboard motors is nuts. I can’t imagine having that much power on such a small boat. You would need quite a bit of experience to make sure that you don’t flip your boat. However, I wouldn’t mind going for a ride on a boat with a 557 Horsepower motor. I bet that would be quite the rush.