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Choosing Your Boat Engine: Outboard vs. Jet vs. Diesel Engines

Browsing boat shows and yachting magazines sometimes makes it seem like all yacht tenders look alike. A plain RIB with little room for design and performance customization. But the good news is, there are other options that can offer more capabilities and luxury to better fit your lifestyle and your yacht–and it all starts with the engine.

When it comes to smaller boats, outboard engines are the go-to. Outboard engines are great--they are great performers and easy to maintain. But many yacht owners might want something a little more in a yacht tender. Maybe they don't want to see that engine hanging off the back, or they need a bigger boat that is more like a classic launch with seating and a swim platform.

At Argos Nautic, we believe each yacht owner deserves a premium design, maximum performance, and a completely customized tender to go with their mothership. It's one reason we offer three different engine choices with our boats.

Engine Characteristics: Outboards, Jets, and Diesels

Nothing affects the performance and versatility of your tender more than the powerplant you choose. When you build your custom Argo Nautic tender, you can pick between a reliable outboard engine, exhilarating jet power, or an efficient and load-toting diesel inboard engine. It's one great example of how Argos Nautic offers a unique yacht tender for every yacht owner.

Outboard Power – The Standard for Yacht Tenders

Trusty outboard motors are the most common type of yacht tender motor. Once upon a time, outboards were known for belching clouds of blue smoke and sputtering loudly. But those days are long gone. Instead, today's outboards are modern four-stroke motors that offer outstanding performance while running smoothly, quietly, and efficiently with very low fuel consumption.

Outboard engines have a few benefits over other styles. First, they're easy to install and repower. Since they are mounted externally, it's just a matter of bolting the engine on and rigging it. This keeps the overall cost of outboard boats lower than other choices. You can choose from several popular manufacturers who build the best quality and most reliable motors, and it's easy to spec out a new boat with more or less engine power.

Getting parts and service for an outboard is similarly easy. Outboards are widely used on tenders, runabouts, jon boats, and workboats–they're everywhere. So finding someone who knows how to work on one isn't a problem even in the more remote corners of the world.

Overall, outboard engines are a great choice. But for some, there are some small downsides to an outboard. If aesthetics are your number one, you might want a smaller engine that doesn’t distract from the clean lines we associate with high-end motorboats. And since they take up a lot of space on the transom, there is less room for a proper swim platform or lounge pad.

In shallow water, an outboard's lower unit is easily damaged if it hits rocks or foreign objects, unlike the more protected workings of an inboard or jet boat.

Outboards are also known to be more dangerous, especially for watersports like wakeboarding or wake surfing. With a simple prop cage, however, you can mitigate the danger of having the props near the swim platform and combat any worries about the safety of your outboard.

Jet Boats – A Fun Speed Machine

A relative newcomer to the world of tenders, jet boats are becoming popular for those looking to have a fun, responsive ride. A jet drive uses an inboard engine that drives an impeller inside a hull jet tunnel. They work like a giant water jet pump, bringing in water from under the boat and blasting it out the back like an aircraft jet engine does with air. The jet unit's water exhaust is vectored using a movable nozzle that makes steering easy, especially at high speed.

A jet tender drives and rides more like a personal watercraft than an outboard boat. They have excellent balance and get up on plane easily. In addition, their shallow draft and flat bottom allow them to access super shallow water other boats cannot. Since they have no propellers or delicate stern drives, there is less risk of damage. And there are none of the other dangers associ