Mercury Outboard Engines on Sea Ray Boat

Outboard Engine vs. Sterndrive – Choosing the Right Boat Engine Package

Published on June 28, 2022


Learn how to choose the propulsion to match your lifestyle and usage.

Before choosing a boat engine for your Sea Ray boat, think about how you will be using it and make sure that choice won’t limit the many activities you may want to do in the future. For many boaters, the first big decision is whether to get a sterndrive or outboard engine.

Reasons to choose sterndrive propulsion

While new outboard-powered boats are being seen more frequently, for many people, a sterndrive is still the best choice. Sterndrive boats feature large, uncluttered swim platforms that sit low to the water which feels more luxurious if you’re someone who enjoys a relaxing dip.

You should get a sterndrive boat if:

·       You spend a lot of time at anchor, swimming and relaxing on the back of the boat.

·       You participate in all kinds of watersports like tubing, slalom skiing and wakeboarding.

·       The seamless look of a sterndrive boat appeals to your aesthetics.

Outboard-powered boats are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the wide variety of power available. Their relatively compact size and lighter weight allow owners to place multiple engines on the transom on larger models. Because they are not enclosed in an engine compartment, working on them or replacing them is easier.*

You should buy an outboard-powered boat if:

·       Your boating is done in coastal waters or in places where you have to traverse shallow water from time to time. An outboard can be trimmed higher to run in skinnier water.

·       You need more seating. Most outboard-powered boats have a more open cockpit arrangement because of the lack of an engine compartment found on a sterndrive boat that is usually transformed into a lounge seat.

·       You have more storage space. With the engine(s) outside the boat it leaves more space inside the boat

·       You have the need for speed.  

·       You have a longer boating season where you live – outboard engines can be drained when out of the water to prevent freezing, making them easier to maintain.

·       You want to make maintenance easier. The winterization of the outboard is also much easier because the engines are more accessible.

Choosing your boat engine horsepower

Once you’ve decided what type of engine to buy, the next decision is how many horses you need. You can be assured that Sea Ray will never offer inadequate engines packages to hit an artificially low price point. Any option will provide good performance for the model we’ve paired it with, but there are a few situations where you’ll want or need to select additional horsepower.

You need more horsepower if:

·       You regularly invite lots of guests on board.

·       You load your boat with lots of gear.

·       You need lots of torque for watersports.

·       You regularly cruise in rough, open water that requires the ultimate throttle response.

·       You want to maximize resale value.

·       You want to go faster.

Less horsepower will work for you if:

·       You regularly cruise at slower speeds when entertaining or sightseeing.

·       You carry light passenger and gear loads.

·       The lower cost fits your budget.

How many outboards: when fewer engines = more power

For some outboard models, like the Sundancer 370 OB, the decision is not just how much horsepower but how many engines you want.

This model comes standard with triple Verado 300hp V8 outboards, but the upgrade to twin Mercury Verado V12 600hp outboards will actually take things to a whole new level.

These revolutionary new engines not only have the most power of any outboard, they also have a two-speed transmission for better performance and fuel economy, plus other innovative features that blend the space-saving benefits of sterndrives with outboard performance.


When asking the question, “what is the right boat engine package for me?” first consider all the factors above—how you’ll use your boat and your budget—then imagine the possibilities.

You’ll find that with a Sea Ray, they’ll seem nearly endless.

To find your perfect Sea Ray, visit our build a boat page.


*Always consult your engine’s manual before performing any
mechanical maintenance on your own.


This is for general information purposes only. Your use or reliance on any of the information in this Blog is solely at your own risk. Under no circumstance will we have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any of the information provided.

Options and features mentioned subject to change. Please confirm availability of all accessories and equipment with an authorized Sea Ray dealer.

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