Wandering in the water on a boat aimlessly from one place to another (fastly) is an appealing way to spend some time and have fun. But, owning a good (big) motor (outboard) is stopping you from doing that due to its price and thinking why boat motors are so expensive? Let’s see why.
Boat motors (outboards) are expensive because they are equipped with high-quality parts that are not only designed to resist constant working at max RPMs but made with materials meant to resist corrosion well. All of this needs significant work in R&D (more money), resulting in a pricey product.
That’s one perspective behind the priciness of a boat motor (outboard). Another main reason they (outboards) are expensive is that only fewer motors will sellout, not many (since they last long under good maintenance 10-20 years so that the buyer won’t swap often). To stay in business, they need to make more profit, so prices are more.
More people buy cars than boat motors, which means the car’s motor price can be moved down as more specialized tools can be built (removing more human-hours in work). All specific goods are more expensive than general goods. So, the inability to mass-produce outboards and making back your money on fewer produced units results in more priciness (of outboards).
Did you know? The 1350 turbo motor by mercury was in R&D for 7+ years before released. Unless they increase the price on that, they can’t make a profit out of it because fewer units will sellout throughout the year (not many), and all that R&D spread over a lot fewer units mean low profits.
Those two are the main reasons why boat motors/engines (outboards) are expensive. If everyone starts using boats as cars, then the boat’s and outboard’s price will reduce significantly. And don’t only think that just the outboards are expensive; even boats are expensive (they are actually overpriced, to be specific).
Related post – Are boats overpriced? Check this article to know some of the reasons why boats are priced more than what they are supposed to sell for, along with the perfect time to buy one.
That being said, we will see all other reasons why boat motors/engines (outboards) are expensive in a detailed way.
Top 5 reasons why boat motors (outboards) are expensive
1. Boat motor (outboard) parts are expensive
- Boat motor parts are expensive because they need to withstand the marine environment, need to withstand corrosion well, need to be able to run continually at max RPMs for longer periods, and need to use metals that will resist electrolysis due to metals alkaloids or calcium in the water; all these things increase the outboard motor price.
- So, those parts need to be made out of materials that can withstand corrosion (rust), need fire-preventing versions of all the electrical parts (since the slightest spark in a boat can mean an explosion), and need to make out of materials that withstand constant running at max RPMs for longer periods, etc.
- So, the boat motor (outboard) is almost all aluminum, and the hardware is stainless steel, which are expensive materials. All those parts are expensive because the materials and the technology used in building them are expensive. So, the boat motor (outboard) parts are expensive in general, which will increase the overall price of an outboard.
2. Boat motor (outboard) require more research & development (R&D)
- As mentioned earlier, they are equipped with high-quality parts that are not only designed to resist constant running at max RPMs but made with materials meant to resist corrosion well. It’s the research & development that goes into the form. There is a lot more R&D in an outboard.
- Research and Development here is to find the parts that can withstand the marine environment (the environment they operate in is pretty much 100% humidity 100% of the time, not good), withstand corrosion well, withstand constant spinning at max RPMs for longer periods.
- Finding all the necessary parts and materials, choosing a good color, improving the motor design, like decreasing the weight to get good performance out of it, and so on, all of that goes into research and development, which requires time and a lot of money. More R&D implies more money.
3. Boat motors (outboards) make fewer sales
- Boat dealers generally don’t sell numerous boats and motors. The reason behind this is the outboards last long if they are maintained well. A well-maintained boat motor (outboard) can easily last for decades. Since the life of an outboard is long, people would not buy another motor any soon. So, the sales are less for an outboard motor.
- To stay in business, they need to make a profit. Profit increases either due to an increased number of outboard sales; otherwise, the manufacturers need to increase the outboards price. Since sales are less, the price of an outboard is increased significantly. Even if the demand is less, the prices will increase, to be in business.
- If everybody had a boat like they do cars, there would be more outboard sales. More sales mean it would get cheaper to build each motor, and they could live with a lower profit margin on each motor, which would bring the price down. So, due to the fewer sales, the outboard’s price is high.
4. Boat motors (outboard) require more power
- Boat motors (outboards) require more power to perform the task. Comparing the outboard with the car engine gives some sense of why outboards require more power. Car engines can only operate at max power for shorter periods; constant running at max power will heat the car’s engine, resulting in damage.
- On the other hand, boat motors are entirely different; they can constantly operate at max RPMs for much longer periods than cars because driving a boat in the water is uphill, demanding more power. Keeping a boat moving requires a lot of uninterrupted power, which a car engine isn’t adapted to supply.
- And the marine engines’ duty cycle is really heavy-duty compared to cars. They operate at wide-open throttle much more than auto engines. It takes very little HP to move a car down the road at 70 mph, but a boat requires more HP (power). What this means is higher money for heavy-duty components and a constant high power supply.
5. The boat motor (outboard) assembly is not automated
- The boat motor (outboard) assembly is not as automated as the automotive industry (car or truck or other), so some more man-hours are needed than machinery. Since many small and complicated parts are involved in building a boat motor (need to be assembled), so more human works are required.
- (More) Working hours involved in building a single motor will also drastically increase the time to make a single motor, increasing the money simultaneously. All this extra time will be reduced drastically if the automotive industry advances and starts making the outboard auto.
- All of this requires more human workers and hours in making many outboards, which will increase the outboard’s making price. This is another reason why boat engines (outboards) are expensive (Since the outboard motor assembly is not automated requires more man-hours and workers).
All those factors combined will increase the boat motors’ price drastically.
The boat engine (outboard) is expensive because they need to withstand the marine environment well, so all the parts used in making one are expensive stuff. And they don’t sell numerous motors all the time, so to stay in business, they need to make a profit, so the price of an outboard (boat motor) is high.
The main reason behind the boat motor’s (outboard) priciness is low sales; otherwise, if everyone buys a boat like cars, there would be more outboard sales. More sales mean it would get cheaper to build each motor, and they could live with a lower profit margin on each motor, which would bring the price down.
Those are the main reasons why boat motors/engines (outboards) are expensive. If everyone starts using boats as cars, then the boat’s and outboard’s price will reduce significantly.