How Much Horsepower Do I need For My Boat?

How much horsepower should your boat have? It depends on several factors, as shows in this article.

1. Factory Limits

You can find out your boat’s horsepower by considering the manufacturer’s limits. The boat’s capacity plate or owner’s manual will show you the maximum for cargo and passengers. It also indicates the absolute maximum boat horsepower.

2. Boat Horsepower-to-Weight Ratio

Another way to determine how much horsepower you require is to take into account the boat’s weight. It’s easy to calculate and express in horsepower per pound and pounds per horsepower.

Here is the method:

Example: Boat Weight-5000 pounds & Horsepower Engine-300

Calculation: 5000/300 (divide)

Answer16,6 horsepower per pound

The opposite calculation (300/5000) will give you 0,06 horsepower per pound. So, the lower the figure, the quicker your boat will be.

3. Fuel Efficiency

Boating Magazine says that you can achieve fuel efficiency for your gas engine if running between 3000-3500 rpm. Also, run your diesel engine at the three-quarters throttle to be fuel-efficient.

Pro Tip: A lower horsepower engine will use more gas if you always run it full throttle. But an engine with higher horsepower running at less throttle uses less gas.

4. Boat Use

The purpose for which you use the boat can also help identify the amount of horsepower you want. Is it for cruising with friends? Is it pulling water skiers, tubers, and wakeboards?

Note that if you’re going to pull someone behind the boat or have the watersport accessories’ extra weight, you should consider more horsepower.

5. Number of People

How many people your yacht will accommodate is also critical. A family boat may only need less horsepower compared to a boat for family and friends.

6. Rule of Thumb

Boat Trader suggests a rule of thumb to arrive at the ideal amount of horsepower. It says that you should have between 25 and 45 pounds for each horsepower. For example, a 5000-pound vessel might have an engine with between 125 and 200 horsepower.

When it comes to your craft handling, you’ll need to guess.

7. Insurance

It’s normal for your insurance company not to give you cover under overall coverage if your boat’s horsepower is more than the maker’s limit.

With premium cost, the rule of thumb is that vessels with higher horsepower attract higher premiums. The last issue is the boat’s overall size, including its horsepower that determines insurance policy type.

Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will give smaller crafts coverage with 25 horsepower and less. When you upgrade to anything exceeding 25 horsepower, you should have a separate insurance policy.

When you see a boat for sale consider the above factors to determine how much horsepower your vessel should have.