Four-stroke Outboard vs. Stern Drive – Inboard/Outboard

Four-stroke outboard motors are becoming increasingly popular for use on pleasure boats and ski boats for a variety of reasons. At Freedom Boat Club, we exclusively use Yamaha four-stroke motors. In the last four years, fiberglass outboard registrations have increased 29.8 percent while inboard/outboards (I/O) have declined 18.2 percent. In other words, more people want four-stroke outboards.

Why have four-stroke motors become such a popular choice? Here are just a few advantages they have over stern drives:

  • Outboards are designed specifically for boating.  Most inboard/outboard motors are automobile engines that have been modified for use in a boat.
  • Outboards provide more room because they are installed on the transom. I/O engines are in the cockpit, which takes up space that can be used for other uses.
  • The Yamaha four-stroke motors offer higher performance. They are quicker to plane, quicker from 0-30 MPH, and faster top-end per horsepower.
  • Four-stroke outboards offer much better fuel economy.
  • Outboards offer better power-to-weight ratio. Typical a four-stroke outboard is approximately 400-500 pounds lighter than its I/O counterpart.
  • Outboards have a more shallow draft, allowing you to fish and boat in more shallow water.
  • If you hit anything with an outboard, it will be less expensive to fix.
  • Outboard motors are much more accessible, require less maintenance and do not require winterizing.
  • A boat equipped with an outboard is easier to re-power or trade up to more HP or newer technology. To replace an inboard/outboard is more costly and time consuming.
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