OK, so you’ve picked out your new boat… now a crucial decision looms: the engine. There are a vast number of opinions, beliefs, and misconceptions about the pros and cons of sterndrives, inboards, jet drives, and outboards. With this article, Southern Power wish to put the record straight about sterndrives in general and our OEM Volvo Penta Aquamatic Sterndrive in particular.

The Volvo Penta Aquamatic sterndrive is the world’s leading sterndrive for 20–45-foot boats. It’s a perfectly matched package – from controls to engine, drive, and propellers – available with a wide range of fuel-efficient and sporty diesel and gasoline engines. Today, after almost 60 years on the market, the Aquamatic Sterndrive is still the world’s leading and most progressive sterndrive system. Developed, manufactured, and serviced by one company All Volvo Penta products – propellers, drives, engines, controls, instruments, accessories, etc. – are developed for perfect interaction and optimal performance. For you, it means one single contact for the whole package, not least service, and support. Safe, secure, and simple. Below we unpack the benefits of a sterndrive over choosing an outboard motor.

What is a sterndrive: 

A sterndrive is a vessel that has a propeller at the stern (back) of the boat. This is achieved by mounting the engine at the rear and having a gearbox to transmit the power through the back and into the water. Sterndrive units typically have single or twin (duo) propeller configurations.

What is an outboard? 

An outboard-powered vessel is an engine that is mounted “outboard” or “outside” of the boat. Outboard motors are bolted to the transom and hang above the water at the back of the boat. They still have a small gearbox to transmit the power to the water, and typically only have a single propeller.

Sterndrive benefits: 

The advantages to a sterndrive are the vessel design and the ability to offer larger horsepower options. With many fishing boats, the rear deck space and access are important. For those looking to do water sports, it can be beneficial having a rear swim platform without a motor protruding in the middle. A sterndrive also opens up the design options, making it possible to have a rear sun bed. Sterndrives are capable of larger horsepower output.

Clean transom means more boating fun. With the sterndrive, your boat’s most valuable space – the transom – offers swim platform accessibility and is open for all kinds of fishing, water sports, etc. There is no big engine taking up space and blocking the way.

Lower emission levels. The tougher global regulations on sterndrives result in lower levels of HC, NOx, and CO2 emissions. Catalysts make Volvo Penta sterndrive engines significantly cleaner.

Better fuel efficiency and longer cruising range. A larger more effective propeller blade area and Duo-prop make sterndrive engines work more efficiently than outboards. The result is lower fuel consumption and more cruising time at sea at the same cost.

Weight distribution makes the sterndrive more seaworthy. Compared with the outboard engine, the sterndrive engine is placed lower and more forward in the boat. In rough sea conditions, this makes for a more comfortable ride in the sterndrive boat.

Higher theft protection. A sterndrive engine is built into the boat – making an engine theft very complicated. An engine mounted on the outside of the boat is considerably more attractive to thieves.

Precise maneuvering. With power steering as standard, the boat is easy to handle. Together with Duo-prop, this gives the boat outstanding maneuverability.

The Volvo Penta engines’ unique marine torque gives efficient cruising speed in all conditions: rapid acceleration to the plane and maneuvering power at low rpm and increased full-throttle torque if the engine loses rpm at high rpm. A few other benefits worth mentioning are: Low fuel consumption, Sporty performance, Low CO2 emissions, Low noise and vibrations, Excellent low-speed maneuverability, Beach and shallow-water tilt, Joystick (twin installation), Powertrim Assistant

With the Aquamatic sterndrive, enjoy safe driving and easy maneuvering even in rough sea conditions. Built to handle whatever the waterways throw at you, the Volvo Penta  Aquamatic Sterndrive delivers outstanding grip, handling, and efficiency at all speeds.

Business strategist, Jacque Brümmer of Southern Power mentions: “Having had the opportunities to enjoy both outboards and inboards on our leisure boats my personal preference will always choose the freedom of a sterndrive powered boat.  Not only do you benefit the environment with lower exhaust emissions but enjoy the awesome maneuverability and power and options like tow mode or if fitting the forward-facing drive the ability to surf without a tow rope. Absolute joy and freedom.”

Southern Powers OEM, World-leading manufacturer Volvo Penta is a world-leading manufacturer of marine drive systems. In addition to Aquamatic Sterndrive, they also develop, manufacture and market Volvo Penta IPS, Volvo Penta Saildrive, and a wide range of marine engines for modern Inboard applications. Consult the experts at Southern Power when you’re ready to buy an engine. Their experience can guide you in choosing the best engine for your budget and needs sales@southernpower.co.za or 021 511 0653 | 021 510 3049