Are Stern Drives Good In Saltwater?

Are Stern Drives Good In Saltwater?

Note: As an amazon associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click to amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase.You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details

Are Stern Drives Good In Saltwater?

Stern drives are a type of propulsion system that can turn in the water. This means they can push a boat away from the dock or towards a dock.

Stern drives are usually propellers placed below the waterline at the stern or back of the boat.

Yes! They’re one of the best all-around types to drive on when you want a lot of control and will take the hit in terms of speed. The stern drives provide more down-force than an outboard but less than a V drive.

So, they’re efficient either way, but they will be slower in waves if you try surfing or scuba diving. Stern drives are highly suitable for long distances because they can handle large loads and large fuel tanks while still providing lightweight performance.

That’s important because as you go into salt water, you notice your boat will become much heavier. (Think of the Navy Seals going through rough terrain in their inflatable boats.)

The outboards are an option, but if you have a 20hp outboard, you’ll struggle to get up to 20 mph or even more with a full load in open water.

If you have a small outboard and are willing to take the long route around instead of trying to cross at some point, then it’s an option.

If you have a larger outboard, then consider getting a stern drive because one of the major downfalls of the outboard is that when you’re trying to go into shallow or rough water with those larger ones (30+ hp), they will drag a lot and not able to get as much up on plane.

With a V-drive, it’s more like an inboard/outboard hybrid where it has the benefits of both types but also many more downsides. If you have one, get a stern drive instead.

They’re more efficient, give you the best speed and performance, and hold up better with longer runs.

The V drives provide a lot of power, but they’re fragile and heavy (which makes them pleasant on boats that can handle it but not suitable for offshore).

Can You Keep A Stern Drive In The Water?

Yes! But not just any stern drive. It has to be for water. The hull must be broad and flat, making it easier for the water to flow out of the boat when tilted.

A large, open center section is also essential because a vessel without a center section will quickly become unstable in rough seas.

Finally, many people prefer racing boats with a dagger stern or spoon bow, but this design type only works well on racing courses that are long enough to accommodate large waves sweeping up over them at high speeds.

Are Stern Drives Good In Saltwater?

You will find the lower part of the hull either flat or tapered. Flat-bottom hulls are best because they are easier to build, but most racing boats have a tapered shape, so this design element is not as important in racing.

You might find a stern drive attached to a boat in several ways.

Some stern drives use a universal joint, which allows the drive to rotate independently of the keel sections of the boat, allowing them to become more flexible when swamped by heavy seas.

Others use a fast, simple universal joint. This design has the advantage of making it easier to remove the drive when storage space is tight.

Another approach is to direct the stern drive to the hull of a narrowboat. These drives have no universal joints and cannot swivel from side to side, but they do not swivel up and down, so they are only suitable for flat-bottomed boats.

Which Is Better, Stern Drive Or Inboard?

Stern drives will go faster than an inboard with the same horsepower and use less fuel.

It will be more costly to buy a stern drive boat than an inboard boat, and you will have to have extra components installed on the boat like a rudder, power steering pump, and quadrant. These are items you don’t need for an inboard boat.

There is also the added complication of operating the throttle control wider opening when going up inclines or hills, which can cause problems because of poor trim.

Now for the inboard. The inboards are simple to operate, and the throttle can be wide open. Thus, it’s easier to trim the boat when using power.

Also, when the boat is operating and running in shallow water or on flat water, there is no need for throttle control.

This is because of the power steering engine that drives the propeller forward or pulls back while operating at low speeds and with minimal throttle use. This is not possible with a stern drive.

With all the technology in a stern drive and the greater horsepower, it can be better at getting through rough water areas or bays with shallow waters by helping avoid engine stalling from the stern hanging up on submerged objects.

Although an inboard can have a lower unit jet drive or propeller, it will cost more than a stern drive without these options.

Are V Drives Better Than Outdrives?

In motorsports, V-drives are vehicles with an engine, transmission, and differential, all mounted on a single longitudinal axis. This means that they do not have an outdrive or propeller shaft.

Because they allow for a high degree of efficiency in terms of power delivery with no torque loss over the length of their travel, we often see them as superior to outdrives.

However, examples of successful outdrive cars and drivers exist to combat this statement. For instance, although V-drives may be more efficient, they often suffer from drivetrain problems that outdrives do not have to deal with.

In addition, the design of outdrives has many years of engineering for them to be as efficient as possible.

Because V-drive cars can reduce their turning radius without sacrificing efficiency and some designs allow for both left and right turns without changing gears or differential settings.

They can make a challenging course more straightforward for the driver to negotiate. Their center of gravity is lower than outdrives.

This can give a smoother ride, reduce the need for drive shaft tunnel sealing, and make it easier to turn during high-speed cornering.

Outdrives are often single-purpose because you have to turn them with different gears or differentials than those used for straight line racing.

Another critical difference is that outdrives are very slippery. This reduces friction and allows the vehicle to travel faster. In contrast, V-drives are for strength.

Should I Store The Boat With Outdrive Up Or Down?

The outdrive should always be in the down position on a boat. The outdrive is the piece of the propeller that protrudes from the hull of a boat, and it transfers power from the engine to the propeller shaft, which rotates the propeller.

It’s essential because if stored with its out blade up (the tip) pointing towards you, you could get burned by it if you lean forward too fast in an untended slip or other confined area. At the very least, you’ll scratch or burn your hands or clothes.

Non-proprietary because all you can lower the outdrive to remove any locking mechanism and lower it into a downward direction, with the propeller rotating freely and not touching anything until it falls into place.

The propeller will then be below the horizontal plane of the boat’s hull, which should be below the horizontal plane of the dock.

Are Stern Drives Good In Saltwater?

You can remove the outdrive altogether; however, doing so will leave a hole in the boat and thus void its warranty from the manufacturer.

The propeller can’t fall into the water while the boat is on a trailer because straps or chains are fastened to either end of the propeller shaft and connected with the other ends of the boat’s hull.

This is only an issue when you store the boat in a slip. If the boat is on the trailer, there is no reason for its propping up and pointing at you.

However, you should not store the outdrive with its shaft up or down because this exposes it to damage and leaves a hole in the hull (assuming you’re storing it while on a trailer).

The most effective way to remove the outdrive is the same way you would remove a propeller on the boat.

As described above, you can use a non-proprietary tool included with any new boat purchase or a prybar, hammer, and screwdriver.

The tool should be reliable and not require any tools not provided with the boat purchase.

If you leave the outdrive in the down position, you should also store it so that it is not leaning on anything. You can accomplish this by storing the outdrive horizontally or propping it up on blocks when stored with its shaft end up.

How Do You Drive A Sterndrive Boat?

Driving a sterndrive boat is not so complicated as it might seem if you take the proper steps.

Step 1: You will want to start by getting in the boat and putting pressure on the engine.

Step 2: Next, push in gas pedals while ensuring both of your feet are on the brake pedal.

Step 3: Now that you have mastered the basics, you are ready to continue driving. Ensure you hold the steering wheel while also putting pressure on the gas pedal.

Step 4: After this point, you will need to get in sync with your boat and learn to control it as well as possible.

Step 5: Once you master this, you can drive your boat.

If you are interested in further driving courses, try the [How to Drive] guide on Miniclip.

Step 1: When starting, check your boat for any manual available.

Step 2: Start by putting pressure on your feet on the pedal. Pull back slowly and make a U-turn to ensure everything works alright.

Step 3: Now that you are good to go, you can start practicing your driving.

Step 4: The first important thing you will want to do is to get in sync with your boat; you will need to use the steering wheel and the gas pedal.

Step 5: Once you have mastered these basics, you will be ready to start driving and improving. I suggest practicing on calm waters during early mornings or late afternoons.

How Does A Sterndrive Engine Work?

A sterndrive engine comprises an inboard/outboard drive, mounted transversely under the hull, with a propeller at each end. The upper unit typically comprises an inboard gasoline engine and a long rotating shaft connecting it to the lower unit (the outdrive).

The lower unit typically comprises an outdrive mounted to the side of the boat. The lower unit has a propeller and is usually longer than the inboard/outboard drive.

You will find the two props connected by a long shaft (drive shaft), and the upper unit drives them, which is part of the boat’s hull.

A sterndrive engine automatically adjusts for the pitch of the propeller.

It maintains a constant RPM through reduction gears inside the engine that engage with gears at each end of the drive shaft, thus reducing or increasing RPMs to suit operation at different speeds.

Some drives taller units use a small, ducted propeller at the rear of the lower unit and engage with a much larger forward prop, usually mounted on the upper unit.

Boat engines use gears for several reasons. First, having two props rather than one allows for varied RPMs. When up to speed, a higher RPM means greater efficiency, giving better fuel economy.

Also, the engine can maintain the RPM without effort from the driver (after its set). This is useful while no one is attending to the boat and requires no input from the driver (for example, fishing).

Plus, it eliminates the need for throttle and all the associated linkage.

How Do You Check Bellows On A Boat?

Look for moisture on the bottom of the u-joint below. If there is any, you will want to apply a thin coat of oil around the perimeter and inside the bellow.

The last step is to pump air back into each end of the bellow. This should send out excess oil through the dipstick vents on each side. You’ll now be able to check that it’s working properly and without too much hassle.

After applying the oil, you may need to re-adjust the bellows more often. This will reduce the airflow going into and out of the engine.

So keep your eyes open for signs of excessive air flow at either end of the bellow. It may show that the bellows need adjusting once more to get it right.

An excellent way to do this is to use a paintbrush and check for any cracks around the opening of each end. The cracked bellows will not last as long and need replacing sooner than you would like.

Keep an eye out for these eventualities and take action now to ensure your engine runs smoothly and efficiently.

How Do I Identify My Mercruiser Sterndrive?

The procedures for identifying a Mercruiser sterndrive or inboard engine by this method are as follows.

Identifying a Mercruiser sterndrive or inboard engine is relatively easy. There are two key methods of identifying an inboard engine, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

In the first method, you must pull off the electrical plug wire harness, the two wires connecting that fuel-injected engine to the key switch inside the boat.

The wires get soldered to the aluminum part of each ignition coil, and you must remove both coils to see the plug wire harness.

The harness comes off both wires and is usually in the glove compartment or under the driver’s seat when not used.

The wire color is easy to find; it has a gray wire with a white stripe on one side and a red wire with a red stripe on the other. These two wires are the ones used to connect the engine to the key switch inside the boat.

The second method of identifying a Mercruiser sterndrive or inboard engine is not so simple. A plug wire harness does not connect the alternator, and you must remove it from its mount to see the plug wire harness.

You may find the alternator bolted to a bracket called an “alternator bracket,” which you’ll find bolted to various parts of the engine.

Are All Bravo 3 Lower Units The Same?

No! Not all Bravo 3 lower units are the same. As you may know, you use a Bravo 3 lower filter for your water system; it’s essential for optimum performance and peace of mind.

But, different models of the Bravo 3 Lower vary slightly in price because of some minor cosmetic changes. Is it worth the price difference? The differences are minimal, but the question might be worth asking before you buy.

They sold Bravo 3 as a filter and a unit to go with your drinking water faucet in the early days. Nowadays, you can get either the faucet version or the filter version.

They packed the filter version in plastic bags, while the faucet comes with a styrofoam packaging box.

The difference is solely in the outer packaging on either Bravo 3 model. The new fluid filter packaging looks sleek and clean. It will go well with the rest of your home décor because it’s a low-sheen, matte black finish.

The new package features a clear plastic lid. Besides the outer plastic bag, you’ll get a new filter cover that you can remove to install or change the filter cartridge any time during the cleaning cycle.

On the other hand, the faucet version receives more attention and care regarding packaging. It will arrive in a styrofoam case packed inside a cardboard box.

The faucet version has an older outer plastic bag and an inner plastic bag. The lid to the older Styrofoam packaging is clear, while the new one is also clear.

Also, the faucet version has a blue round sticker that lets you know how to use the unit. The plug has a blue ring, and the handle is white instead of black on the faucet version.

Can You Replace An Alpha Drive With A Bravo?

Yes! The “original” Bravo is the perfect replacement for a failed Alpha and vice versa. Both drives are high-quality, reliable models that meet your data storage needs.

The Alpha and Bravo both have excellent read-write performance and low power consumption.

They are also available in a range of capacities, with up to 2 TB capacity on offer for the Alpha model and up to 4 TB for the Bravo model.

Both models also have no limit to the number of platters and head, so you could theoretically replace your Alpha with a Bravo drive and still have access to your entire storage space.

The Alpha is slightly cheaper than the Bravo, but that saving is more than eaten up by the smaller size of the Alpha drive compared with the Bravo.

Considering that the Alpha is slightly faster than the Bravo, the Alpha drive is a better deal.

However, when you replace your Alpha with a Bravo drive, you need to be aware of a couple of things:

The original software for the Alpha is incompatible with the new drive. You can remedy this by installing new software on your system or by using one of our supported operating systems. Neither WD nor Seagate will supply you with new software.

The new software will not recognize the serial numbers of the original drive. You can remedy this by using the same serial number on your drives or a different serial number.

The original failed drive still exists on your system as a physical volume. This can interfere with the installation of new software. If you are experiencing problems, remove the failed drive and reinstall the new drive.

Does A Sterndrive Have A Transmission?

Yes! It has a transmission to connect the engine to its propeller, which would be at the rear of the boat.

A sterndrive is a type of outboard motor. It comprises a propeller mounted at the back end of an engine, which is usually connected to an outboard hull via shaft and gearbox.

This type of motor is considerably more efficient than a similar sailboat or powerboat propulsion system.

You can use sterndrive motors in many small- and mid-sized sailboats and yachts. The motors are especially useful for cruising boats up to about, in which case you may use a gas engine or diesel engine instead.

The sterndrive’s ability to drive a propeller at the aft end of the boat has advantages over an inboard/outboard (I/O) setup, in which two or three transmissions would be a requirement to transfer power from the engine compartment to the propeller.

A sterndrive requires just one box and one transmission, with a long shaft running to a prop at the stern.

The sterndrive pitch control is convenient for varying speed and reversing direction to back up astern.

When back up astern, it can move the hull faster than a traditional inboard/outboard engine arrangement. The propeller does not need as much power forward and can turn at slower speeds.

How Do You Reinforce A Transom On A Boat?

Apply epoxy to the edges of the outer fiberglass skin of the transom and over the heads of the screws holding the skin to the plywood, and lay a strip of fiberglass cloth over the epoxy.

Now, drill holes in the heads of your screws and insert the wires into these holes. Tie a knot on each end to hold the wire in place and cut off any excess.

Paint over this cut end of the wire with epoxy to achieve an even finish. You are now ready to reinforce the transom.

First, lay strips of fiberglass cloth over all transom and plywood seams, except for the final transom half and the small gap across the back between the skin and the last transom half. This is where you will later install your towline.

Now, drill holes in your plywood onto which you can screw 1/2” screws through one end and entirely into the fiberglass skin so that they will rest on the epoxy surface. These screws will help to hold your transom halves together when the epoxy cures.

You have laid a thin layer of epoxy over all the areas where you will install your reinforcing wire, and it is time for you to start applying your wires.

Start by threading one end of the wire through the hole in the head of your screw and then threading it through any other transom seams. Then, continue screwing it into place through the next hole in which it will lie.

This is a brute-force way of securing the wires into place; not a good idea if you cannot visualize the surface you are reinforcing.

Can You Wake Surf Behind A Sterndrive?

No! Most experts deem wake surfing to be dangerous behind a sterndrive. Wake surfing behind a sterndrive is not only dangerous but potentially deadly if you’re in the water with a boat of any size and it starts from a drift.

By law, all boats must have an ‘engine power limit’ that your wakeboard cannot exceed. If your wake surfer is too big for their engine to handle, they cannot create more than 3ft of lift, and the wake mustn’t exceed 10ft.

However, how a jet ski or small personal watercraft works is entirely different. They use a trick called cavitation to produce an enormous amount of lift and a small amount of push.

When wake surfing behind a sterndrive, the only way to make the board go faster is by increasing engine RPM, which creates a longer and broader wake.

When on a jet ski or a PWC, you can change the angle at which they are running, thus changing the amount of lift created and making it easier to accelerate.

When wake surfing behind a sterndrive, you must not go faster than the engine’s specified power limit. If you do, the wake will increase in size, and the chances of your board snapping over a wave will increase.


Stern drives boast much higher power-to-weight ratios than comparable inboard/outboard motors.

They are particularly attractive for cruising sailboats, who nonetheless want the performance of an engine or inboard/outboard because they do not require a large engine compartment or a dedicated space to house it.


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

Recent Posts