Pros and Cons of Diesel Engines for Powerboats

a diesel engine boat

This might be the time for you to pick your first boat, or you might need to replace the old engine there. Either way, you’ll face a potentially confusing situation where you are about to make a choice that will affect your boating experience years ahead. And here, we’ll focus our discussion on the pros and cons of diesel motors, which are the most popular type among boat enthusiasts.

The Pros

diesel fuelDiesel engines are very powerful and sturdy in water. You can have them running for half a day continuously without having to worry about overheating. In fact, if you like to cruise the water for days, your safest option will be the diesel motor.

Second, diesel motors use far less fuel than gasoline engines. And although the latter is often more affordable than the first, consider it as a long-term investment. It can save substantial money for your sails.

Third, contrary to the common misconception, diesel engines these days do not emit excessive exhaust fume. In fact, the gas engine can potentially produce too much Carbon Monoxide that can cause poisoning. However, even if you choose to install a diesel motor in your boat, you still need to make sure that the cabin has an adequate vent system. You can’t risk any leaking exhaust gas to enter there because it can be just as fatal as CO poisoning.

Fourth, the price of diesel fuel is relatively more affordable than gasoline. However, check this fact in the field first because different areas may have different gas pricing.

The Cons

a boat engineThe major drawback of a diesel engine is its noise. If your boat’s cabin is not well insulated, no one will be able to sleep there as the boat navigates through the water. And if your intention of buying the boat is for recreational, you’ll definitely need to improve the soundproofing in your boat.

Second, you can leave a diesel motor off for weeks. The diesel in the tank will oxidize and create deposit corrosions on many parts of the engine. The fuel lines, injectors, shafts, and even the pistons can be affected by that chemical reaction. If you want to leave your boat untouched for more than 30 days, add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the oxidation.

Third, you want to use a diesel engine in your powerboat only if you need big power from the high torque. If you are a speed addict, then diesel is not for you at all! You’d better get the gas engine instead.


After we’ve discussed the points above, you surely have drawn a conclusion in mind. Whether or not you will go with the diesel motor is entirely up to your consideration. What we’d like to remind you is to prioritize your intention of having the boat in the first place.