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Re-powering a twin engine houseboat with outboards

by Crab Trap
(Sebastian, FL)

Plenty of twin outboard installations on houseboats

Plenty of twin outboard installations on houseboats

I'm considering purchasing a houseboat and re-powering with twin outboards. Does anyone have any insight, experience, or advice on this?

I have my eye on a 1986 twin inboard 43' Standard Gibson and am thinking of installing an engine bracket and powering with twin 60 hp high thrust Yamaha's.

Some questions:

Will I be able to find control cables long enough to reach the flying bridge?

Will I be able to attain cruising speeds of 5-7 kts?

What kind of fuel consumption am I looking at?

Thanks for any help, Crab Trap.

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Reply - Answer

Crab Trap, thanks for posting in the houseboat forums.

Now in regards to repowering with twin outboards, YES, it is very doable. You may first want to do a cost analysis on the anticipated step, VERSUS rebuilding what you currently have.

Now you didn't mention what you intended to do with the houseboat. Do you want to stay in your local area and go out occasionally, or do you intend to do some long distance traveling?

Once you do a cost analysis, and understand what you want to do with the boat, you'll will likely clearly see which direction you should take.

From what I understand and have seen, you should be able to get control cables to reach the flybridge.

Now to attain a 5-7 kt cruising speed, the twin high-thrust Yamaha's should be able to do that, and still give you good fuel consumption numbers.

I don't have exact fuel consumption numbers, but I will provide a guesstimate of @ 2-2.5 mpg while running at @ 5 kts (a good hull displacement speed).

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their related twin engine houseboat re-powering experiences and tips.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Re-powering a twin engine houseboat with outboards

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Inboard to outboard motor
by: TL

Philip, what hardware did you use to mount the outboard on the boat, did you have to remove the swim platform and build a jig for installation?? Did you have to remove the inboard motors??

Control Cables & Steering
by: Dennis R.

In 2015 I repowered a 1980 steel pontoon 35x12 Kayot single outboard with a new Mercury 115 EFI 4-stroke. The boat cruises between 7 - 8 mph @ 3000 rpm. I use a prop with "reverse cup" designed specifically for large boats/tugs.

The BEST feature, aside from reliability, is fuel efficiency. My average trip on Lake Powell is about 65 miles each way. At the above speed it burns 1.3 gph. The 50 gallon tank allows me to easily complete the entire round trip on a single fill-up.

Here’s a very helpful link on engine controls. As mentioned by previous commenter, lengths appear to be limited to 50’.

As for steering, I converted to a SeaStar hydraulic system. Super happy with the smooth, easy motion, If your current steering is cable driven, I highly recommend looking into a hydraulic conversion, especially if you will be turning two motors.

Nautaline repower.
by: Philip Bamford

I have a 43 ft Nautaline which I put a single outboard on. Works ok. The longest control cables I found were fifty feet just long enough to reach inside helm. Steering was no problem.

I am going to repower with twin outboards for more maneuverability. Love our boat. We live full-time on her in Key West. What a great way to live. Love to hear about your repower as it goes along, and if you need advice I am here.

Philip in Key West.

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