How Long Do Boat Motors Last? | Expert Guide

Boat Motor

When you finally approach the perfect fishing spot in the middle of a lake, with barramundi swirling beneath you, the last thing you want is for your boat’s engine to fail. Being stranded isn’t fun, and to prevent it from happening, you’ll want to make sure that your boat’s motor is in good working condition, and doesn’t need to be replaced.

How long do boat motors last, exactly? In this article, we’ll discuss the expected lifetime for boat engines, and what you can do to get the most out of them.

How long do boat motors last?

Boat motors usually last between 2,000 to 3,000 hours before they need serious maintenance to keep running. These values are based on an average from various brands that produce outboard and inboard motors, including Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Evinrude, Mercury, Crusader, and MAN1.

This means that if you spend roughly 100 hours per year using your boat’s engine (the average usage), your motor should last a minimum of 10 years before it requires repair. Boat motors are built to last!

Diesel engines tend to last longer than gasoline engines, due to the fewer number of revolutions required for diesel-based engines, and the fact that diesel contains lubricating oil. Mercury Marine engines are considered to have the best longevity for inboard motors. For outboard motors, Crusader and Yahama engines are thought to offer the longest life.

What affects the longevity of a boat’s motor?

How long a boat motor lasts depends on two things: the amount that it’s used, and the quality of maintenance. If you’re an obsessed fisherman who takes the boat out every few days, and drives it to distant fishing spots, your engine will wear out much faster. Similarly, if you use your boat a lot but fall short with maintenance, you may find the engine breaking much sooner than you’d like.

How to increase the lifespan of your boat’s motor

Service them regularly

It’s recommended to get your boat’s engine professionally serviced annually, even if you don’t use it regularly. If you take the boat out regularly, you should change the engine’s oil every three months.

Check your oil

It’s good practice to check the oil before every trip, to make sure that the levels and consistency are looking good. You can also check whether the oil contains any foreign particles by rubbing it lightly between your fingers. If you find particles, the oil may be contaminated with parts and indicative of a problem2.

Check your filters

Your boat engine’s filters should be checked and changed regularly to ensure that clean fuel is entering the engine3.

Refresh old fuel

If fuel has been sitting in your tanks for a long time, it can become contaminated with water and affect the engine when used. It’s good practice to clean out your fuel tanks annually, and replace any fuel that has been sitting in the tanks for a long period of time.

Use the boat every once in a while

Boat engine failure is often the result of lack of use. When engines sit idle for long periods of time, a lot of things can do wrong. To prolong the life of your boat’s engine, be sure to take it out every once in a while.


  1. Shelby Sullivan, How Long Do Boat Motors Last? Average Numbers (8 Popular Brands), Go Downsize
  2. Geoff Southworth, Outboard Motor Longevity Guide: How Long Do They Last?, Outdoor Troop
  3. Maintaining your boat, Department of Transport, Western Australia
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