Pro Tips: Repowering an Outboard Boat

With the rising cost of buying a new boat, many boaters are leaning towards repowering their outboards. A repower helps your boat feel new at a fraction of the cost. No matter how experienced, most boaters have a lot of questions about repowering. With several factors at play including cost, type of boating, horsepower, and warranty, it’s important to understand the basics.


Brad Kenyon from Boat and Motor Superstores says most boaters consider a repower when they feel their old engine is having reliability issues or when they want the efficiency of a new engine.

Calusa Certified Marine’s Lizzy Robertson says you’re probably due for a repower if your current outboard engine shows any of these signs:  

Burning oil

– Increased fuel consumption

– Excessive corrosion buildup

– Constantly in the shop

“It’s never fun heading out your favorite fishing spot wondering if you will break down!” adds Robertson. “Once you lose that trust, boating loses enjoyment.”

Repair vs. Repower: When weighing the options between repairing and repowering, Chip Thrower from Southeastern Marine Power recommends considering key factors like the engine’s age, how many hours are on it, as well as its internal and external conditions. Repower is usually the solutions if your engine’s technology is outdated, repair parts are scarce and hard to obtain, or if the cost of repairs exceeds your engine’s value.


Cost: It might not make sense to repower a vessel that doesn’t have much life left or a boat that will need additional repairs during the repower process. Making sure your vessel has good structural integrity is key to keeping cost under control. There may be additional costs to upgrade to the latest features with the new engine installation. Kenyon reminds boaters to maximize the resale value of the engine they’re replacing: “For high-hour users, sell your old engine with warranty and get top dollar.”

Performance: According to Robertson, there a few key questions to ask yourself. What type of boating will you be doing? How much average weight will be in the vessel (person to gear ratio)? What type of performance are you trying to achieve (performance, fuel economy or top speed)? The answers will help narrow down the criteria so you can safely match the correct horsepower to the vessel.

Horsepower: It’s always recommended that you match the manufacturer’s maximum horsepower rating of your vessel. This helps ensure adequate power along with minimal wear and tear.

Warranty: Don’t overlook the warranty. Repowering is an investment in your boat, so be sure the manufacturer warranty helps protect it. Plus, extra peace of mind is always welcome on board.

4 Yamaha Outboards


Robertson is frequently asked whether repowering will affect their boat’s other systems. “Speaking as a Suzuki outboard repower center, your existing electronics (Simrad, Garmin, Raymarine or Lowrance) will not be affected. It can be used in conjunction with your new repower. There will always be choices as far as gauges, fly by wire or mechanical or other rigging components. But repowers across the board, regardless of manufacturer, do not require everything existing to be updated or new,” she explains.Boat Throttle

According to Thrower, a repower provides the opportunity to take advantage of efficiencies and tackle multiple issues at once. Outdated controls and gauges might be an eyesore, but they can also fail due to old age and condition. He reminds customers a repower is the best and most economical time to update your boat’s gauges and controls.

If you have questions about outboard engines or repowering your boat, be sure to reach out to one of the marine experts below. You can find additional local resources in our Southwest Florida boater’s directory. See you on the water!


Boat and Motor Superstores

One of the largest Mercury outboard dealers, Boat and Motor Superstores boasts over 35 years of experience and is a member of Mercury’s Presidents Club as well as the Marine Industries Association of SWFL and Tampa Bay. | 1-727-942-7767

Calusa Certified Marine

Calusa Certified Marine is a factory authorized service and warranty center for Cummins, Onan, Suzuki, Crusader, Yanmar, Volvo Penta, Seakeeper, Mercury Diesel, and Seven Marine. It is also a Marine Industries Association of SWFL and Tampa Bay member. | 1 239-574-5053

Southeastern Marine Power

Southeastern Marine Power is a member of the Marine Industries Association of SWFL and Tampa Bay, providing services ranging from routine yacht maintenance to complete repair and refurbishment. | 1-727-545-2700