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The Basics of Marine Engines: 4 Different Types

What are the different types of marine engines?

  1. Outboard
  2. Inboard
  3. Sterndrive
  4. Jet drive

Marine engines are the lifeblood of boats, giving them the propulsion needed to go through the immense distances of oceans, rivers, and lakes. These engines exist in an array of kinds, all of which were created to meet the needs of diverse applications and vessel types. Outboard, inboard, sterndrive, and jet drive are the four types of marine engines that will be covered in this article.

Multico Prime Power, Inc. (MPPI), a leading heavy equipment supplier in the Philippines, understand the essential roles of these engines and would like to help boaters choose the best marine engine for their aquatic excursions by having a thorough awareness of each type’s distinct features and uses.


The most popular kind of marine engines are outboard motors. These engines provide a combination of power and portability. You can usually find this mounted on the stern (back) of the boat.

An outboard engine is a self-contained unit that consists of the engine, gearbox, and propeller. This design makes it simple to move, tilt, and remove. Small to medium-sized boats with outboard motors are especially common and ideal for boating in shallow seas. They are widely used in fishing boats, leisure boats, and smaller watercraft due to their adaptability and low maintenance needs.


Larger boats like yachts, cruisers, and commercial boats typically use inboard engines, commonly called inboard motors. Compare to outboard engines, inboard engines are mounted inside the boat’s hull, usually close to the center. A driveshaft that passes through the hull and powers the propeller is attached to these engines.

Longevity, fuel economy, and power production are all excellent features of inboard engines. The placement of the motor inside the hull has various benefits, including enhanced stability through better weight distribution and decreased noise and vibration.

For those looking for dependable, high-performance propulsion for larger watercraft, inboard engines are the preferred choice.


Sterndrive engines, often known as inboard/outboard (I/O) engines, offer a special blend of power and maneuverability. They are mounted inside the boat’s hull, much like inboard engines. The propulsion system, which resembles an outboard engine, extends outside the hull. The drive unit for sterndrive engines consists of a drive engine attached to a drive unit with a gearbox and a propeller.

Compared to conventional inboard engines, this layout offers increased maneuverability and improved performance. In sport boats, cruisers, and high-performance watercraft where agility, power, and effective control are sought, sterndrive engines are popular.

Jet drive

Jet drive
The propulsion technology used by jet drive engines, also known as waterjet propulsion systems, is distinctive compared to conventional propeller-based systems. Jet drives pull water up from below the boat and forcefully eject it at high speed through a nozzle, moving the craft forward.

These extremely agile engines are excellent for navigation in shallow water. Jet drives reduce the possibility of propeller damage by doing away with the requirement for one. They are extensively used in riverboats, PWCs (Personal Watercrafts), and other boats that need to be nimble and operate in confined spaces.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Engine for Your Boat:

To ensure the best fit for your unique demands, numerous aspects should be taken into account when choosing various types of marine engines. These three essential things affect your boats.

Power Requirements

Considering your boat’s size, weight, and intended use will help you determine its power needs. Think about things like the boat’s top speed, acceleration, and the number of people or things it will carry. Choosing an engine with enough horsepower and torque guarantees top performance and effectiveness.

Fuel Needs

Analyze the fuel efficiency of various engine choices. Operating expenses and range can be greatly impacted by fuel usage. In order to make travels farther and save money overall, look for engines that have outstanding fuel efficiency without compromising power.

Maintenance and Service

Take into account the engine’s accessibility to service support and ease of maintenance. To maintain longevity and dependability, routine maintenance is essential. Verify the manufacturer’s track record for dependability, the accessibility of service facilities or professionals in your area, and the availability of replacement parts.

Key Takeaway

Selecting the most suitable marine engine is imperative for the boat’s best performance and safety. Marine engines are available from Multico Prime Power, Inc., a reputable heavy equipment supplier in the Philippines.

Outboard, inboard, sterndrive, and jet drives are the four types of marine engines, and each offers special features and benefits to meet various boating requirements. Boaters may make wise purchase decisions if they are aware of the benefits and value of each type and take into account elements like the amount of power needed, fuel efficiency, and maintenance.

When you set out on your aquatic adventures, smooth sailing is waiting for you with the variety of marine engines from Multico Prime Power, Inc. To learn more about our selection of marine engines and to set sail with confidence, get in touch with MPPI today.

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