Outboard motors that are suitable for most dinghies tend to be small horse power engines.  Typically, 2 h.p. to 4 h.p. Within this narrow range of power output there is quite a number of outboard motors to choose from, all very competitively priced!  Over the last 10 years there has been a huge increase in the number of boating people using an outboard motor on their dinghy. Looking around any marina you will see between 70% and 80% of boats with an outboard clamped to their guardrail!  From my own experience, most boat owners seem to have either a mercury or a yamaha outboard for their dinghy.  These two seem to be the most popular.  That is not to say the other makes are less efficient or reliable.

So let us look at the range of suitable outboards for your tender. 

British Seagull – If you have been boating for some years I am sure you have owned one of these outboards at one time or another.  There are really basic!  But many people love them.  The smallest of the range is “Forty Featherweight” which is equivalent to 2 h.p.  That is, 40 lbs. of thrust at the propellor. For this small outboard there is the “Forty Plus” which gives slightly more thrust – 45 lbs.  Which is again suitable for a dinghy.

A slightly larger “Forty Series” outboard was the 75.  This engine produced 75 lbs. of thrust which is equivalent to 4 h.p. again this would easily push a big heavy dinghy through the water!  So either of these Seagull outboards are suitable for use on a dinghy.  To find second hand seagull outboards for sale right now, follow this link.

Forty Featherweight
Forty Featherweight



Electric outboards are becoming more and more popular as people consider the effects on the environment of running a petrol engine.  For example, the Daiwa Electric Trolling Motor is available in  36lb, 48lb and 54lb thrusts and each motor features 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds.  The speed adjustment via the handle is made easier as it can be elongated and retracted to suit your reach and position. The propeller is designed to reduce the amount of weed being caught and the motor has a keel which alleviates the problem of the propeller hitting rocks and hard surfaces. The shaft is made from shock absorbent fibreglass and will withstand impact with obstacles. Features a ten points LED battery meter. Operates via a 12V DC battery.

So the above example would be suitable for pushing a dinghy through most waters, but perhaps not strong currents or rough water against the wind. Unless you went for the larger models of 48 0r 54 lbs. of thrust. To see electric outboards that are for sale right now, follow this link.

Moving back to petrol outboard engines the next we will consider is the Honda 4 stroke outboard.  The Honda BF2.3 is lightweight, easily transportable and ideal for dinghies. It offers the best power/weight ratio in its class. To ensure safe, troublefree navigation every time, you can rely on easy one-hand access to both the throttle grip and the automatic gear clutch, and an emergency kill switch that attaches directly to the operator’s wrist.

The BF2.3 is the smallest 4-stroke engine equipped with a neutral point on the market, making it easy to stop the boat without having to kill the engine. Using the throttle grip, you can precisely adjust the engagement of the forward gear. The Honda BF2.3 is the lightest engine in the 3 hp market, yet with all the benefits of Honda’s 4-stroke technology. In addition, it’s equipped with an integral 1-litre fuel tank, and the engine is incredibly easy to remove and transport. And it runs up to 55 minutes at full throttle – all on a single tank of fuel. The short shaft model has a a recoil start and tiller handle.  Sometimes there are honda outboards for sale in our store, so go here to find out.

Mercury have some lovely small outboards suitable for dinghies. Their smallest 4 stroke is a 2.5 h.p. with gear shift for forward and neutral. 360 degree rotation gives you reverse (astern) thrust. It is the same for the slightly larger 3.5 h.p. engine.  Both these are ideal for your dinghy. Older 2 stroke mercury outboards are available but some will not have the gear shift, only 360 rotation. Quite often there are second hand mercury 2.5 and 3.5 h.p. outboards for sale in our store, go here to find out.

Suzuki outboards are also popular on dinghies.  Weighing only 13kg, this 4-stroke engine is so light that you’ll forget that it’s a 4-stroke. There are a range of features that you wouldn’t expect on such a small outboard, including F-N Gear shift, water-cooling and a 1 litre fuel tank.   It has  a big carrying handle so that the engine is easily lifted on and off a tender or pontoon while the 4 tilt positions ensure that you can set the engine to your boat’s requirements.  Second hand Suzuki outboards are sometimes for sale in our store. To find any advertised right now, go here.

Finally, the Yamaha outboard The F 2.5 h.p. has the following features – CDI/TCI ignition system for easy starting and ultimate reliability. A strong tiller handle with twist-grip throttle allows easy and comfortable control.  The side shift selector is simple and convenient to use with  F-N gears + 360º steering  making it safe and easy to manoeuvre. The slightly larger F 4 h.p. has all of the above but with Forward, neutral and reverse gears instead of 360 degree rotation. There is also a handy steering friction adjustment for relaxed and confident control together with a strong integral carrying handles for light, comfortable carrying.

To find a second hand Yamaha outboard for your dinghy, go to our store.

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