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What size motor for 16 foot fiberglass boat - featured image

What Size Motor For 16 Foot Fiberglass Boat? (Revealed!)

The short answer is: A 16 foot fiberglass boat typically needs a 50-115 horsepower outboard motor, depending on the boat’s weight and desired performance. A lighter 16′ boat may be able to plane with a 50 HP motor, while a heavier boat loaded with gear and passengers may require up to 115 HP.

Now, let’s dive into the details so you can figure out the ideal motor size for your sweet 16-footer!

Factors That Determine Motor Size

black boat motor

Several key factors come into play when selecting an outboard motor for your 16 foot fiberglass boat:

  • Boat weight: Heavier boats require more power to achieve the same performance as lighter boats. Consider the weight of the hull material, flooring, seating, equipment, fuel, and gear you typically have onboard.
  • Passenger capacity: The more people you plan to have in the boat, the larger motor you’ll need. Account for the additional weight passengers add.
  • Intended use: Will you be cruising, watersports, fishing, or a mix? Watersports like skiing require more power for quick hole shots. Anglers may prioritize a quiet, fuel-efficient motor for trolling.
  • Desired speed: Be realistic about how fast you want to go. Planing at 20-30 mph will require less HP than hitting 40-50 mph. More speed equals more power needed.

Choosing the Right Prop

Pairing your motor with the right propeller optimizes performance. The prop’s pitch, diameter, number of blades, and material all make a difference.

Generally, a larger pitch prop will deliver more top-end speed, while a smaller pitch prop provides better acceleration and pulling power.

Work with your dealer or consult the manufacturer’s prop guide to dial in the right prop for your boat, motor, and typical load. The ideal setup will let your motor rev up to its full rated RPM range at wide open throttle.

==>> You can also learn more about a 16 feet fiberglass boat here!

2-Stroke vs 4-Stroke

Today’s outboard motors come in both 2-stroke and 4-stroke configurations. Modern designs of both types are reliable, efficient, and clean-burning to meet emissions regulations.

Traditional 2-strokes are lighter, simpler, and less expensive, while delivering more HP for their size. However, they are louder and consume oil mixed into the fuel.

4-strokes are heavier and pricier up front, but quieter, smoother, and more fuel-efficient. They don’t require oil in the gas. Resale values tend to be higher on 4-strokes too.

Real World Examples

For a relatively light 16 foot fiberglass boat under 1,000 lbs with minimal gear for 2-3 people: 50-60 HP should be adequate for speeds around 25-30 mph. This would be a good setup for casual cruising, fishing, and maybe pulling a skier or wakeboarder.

For a heavier 16 footer over 1,200 lbs, often loaded with 4+ people and gear: 90-115 HP will provide enough oomph to get on plane quickly even with the extra weight. Expect speeds in the 30s to low 40s depending on load and conditions. This setup offers flexibility for watersports, longer trips, and rougher water.


So there you have it – a comprehensive guide to sizing a motor for your 16 foot fiberglass boat! By now, you should have a solid handle on the key considerations.

Remember, the “perfect” motor for your 16-footer will depend a lot on your specific boat and how you use it. When in doubt, consult with reputable dealers and experienced boaters for their real-world insights.

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