Whether you're going for a motorboat with an inboard motor or an outboard motor, one of the most fundamental decisions you'll have to make is whether to go with diesel or with gasoline. There's really no right answer; you just need to weigh up your own needs and wants to determine which choice will best suit your own personal situation.
Here are four key questions to ask yourself when you're deciding between diesel and gasoline.
1. How Much Power Do You Need?
You can receive plenty of power from either a gasoline or a diesel engine, but the latter generally offer more of a punch. This is because diesel engines are able to deliver more torque than gasoline engines of the same size; torque determines the rotational power of your propellers, so you should be able to maintain a higher cruising speed when you use a diesel. The fact that diesels can exert more rotational force also makes them better for powering upriver or moving through rougher stretches of water. If this is going to be a concern, diesels will be worth it.
2. How Important is Safety?
If you're a first-time buyer who isn't yet very experienced, you might want to think about picking a diesel engine over a gasoline one. This is because gasoline vapours ignite at a much lower temperature than diesel vapours; those vapours are also heavier, meaning that they tend to accumulate in the bilge. You'll find more standards and regulations surrounding gasoline engines, and this is the reason why. Of course, experienced boat-users won't need to worry as much about making mistakes that could lead to leaking vapours, but beginners might be comforted by the additional safety delivered by a diesel.
3. How Often Will You Be Going Out?
Diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline engines, so you'll spend less on fuel. However, gasoline engines boast a much lower initial cost. This means that you'll need to stop and think about just how much time you're going to be spending with the motor running. If you make frequent long-distance journeys or head out every morning, the fuel savings associated with going for diesel are going to offset the higher initial price. If you only boat occasionally, a gasoline engine is probably going to be the more cost-effective option.
4. How Large Do You Want Your Boat?
One of the central drawbacks of going with a diesel is that these engines are much heavier than gasoline ones, so the size of boat you're looking for matters. If you're looking for something on the smaller size – say less than 35 feet – the weight of a diesel engine might prove detrimental; if you're looking at something longer, the added power of diesel becomes more advantageous.