What are Outboard, Sterndrive, and Jet Engines in Aircraft

Posted on May 4, 2022 John Symond

With so many machines and vehicles necessitating engines to operate, engines are available in a wide range of types. For boats in particular, the engines that power such apparatuses fall into one of three categories: outboard, sterndrive, or jet engine variations. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of each engine type, the kind of propulsion they use, and how they work.

Outboard Engines

Outboard motors are self-contained units that have anywhere from 2 horsepower to 430 horsepower capabilities. On a boat, outboard motors usually sit on top in the powerhead while the propeller is found at the bottom. The whole unit is affixed to the boat at the transom, which is the vertical section at the rear of the boat. Meanwhile, the steering wheel turns the entire outboard to direct thrust in any desired direction.

Outboards have a number of advantages in terms of propulsion when compared to their counterparts. Firstly, they are incredibly fuel efficient as a result of their optimal power-to-weight ratios. They also operate quietly, allowing you to coast the waters nearly undetected. Boats with such engine types usually have more floor space since the outboard is mounted on the transom, meaning no engine parts need to be inside the boat. When an outboard engine is damaged or worn out, it can be easily re-powered or replaced.

Sterndrive Engines

While outboard engines are specifically designed for marine use, sterndrive motors are actually considered automotive engines adapted for use in boats. Instead of the motor powering the wheels of a car, it turns the propellers in a boat. Unlike outboard engines, sterndrives sit in the inner bottom half of the transom and lack a gearcase. These engine types are ideal for captains that prefer a cleaner, more sleek look to their boat. With the motor in the hull, there is no powerhead sticking out of the back.

It is important to note that sterndrives once had a reputation for being susceptible to corrosion-related issues in salt water. Today, most engines are equipped with a closed cooling system that keeps most salt water out of the engine. However, sterndrive motors cannot be tilted up when docked like their counterparts, so marine growth and corrosion may still occur.

Jet Engines

Jet propelled boats work differently from boats furnished with outboard and sterndrive motors. Instead of a propeller turning the water to generate thrust, a jet stream of water is utilized to propel the boat forward. At the same time, the engine turns an impeller that sucks water in and forces it out in a high pressure stream. While these motors are recognized for being powerful and speedy, they are gas guzzlers and are generally loud. Despite this, they are great options for treading shallow waters since there is no external propeller that can be damaged.


Regardless of the engine type you select for your boat, routinely checking your motors is paramount. If you find that you require engine parts or components, rely on a reputable distributor like Buy NSN. Buy NSN is a leading distributor of outboard, sterndrive, and jet drive engines, all of which have been sourced from thousands of reputable manufacturers that we trust. As an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited distributor, alongside upholding a strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge, we ensure the authenticity and reliability of our offerings. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items in our inventory, customers can fulfill their operational requirements with ease.

At Buy NSN, we regularly subject our products to varying levels of routine assessments, quality assurance measures, and flaw detection tests. Kickoff the procurement process with a competitive quote which may be acquired via our Instant RFQ service. When completing an RFQ form, we ask that you provide desired quantities, target prices, and operational deadlines, allowing us to better tailor a sourcing solution that keeps your needs in mind. Within 15 minutes of submitting a completed form, expect one of our representatives to reach out. Get started today and see why customers rely on Buy NSN for all their part requirements. For additional questions, call or email us any time; we are available 24/7x365 for any one of your needs!


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