What Size Motor For 16 Foot Fiberglass Boat

A fiber­glass boat is a great choice for those look­ing for an afford­able and durable ves­sel for recre­ation­al boat­ing and fish­ing. How­ev­er, choos­ing the right type of motor and size for your 16 foot fiber­glass boat can be a dif­fi­cult task. This arti­cle will cov­er the dif­fer­ent types of motors avail­able, what size motor is best for a 16 foot fiber­glass boat, and how to prop­er­ly install the motor.

What Size Motor is Best for a 16 Foot Fiberglass Boat?

When deter­min­ing the appro­pri­ate size motor for a 16-foot fiber­glass boat, sev­er­al fac­tors need to be con­sid­ered, includ­ing the boat’s weight, intend­ed use, and man­u­fac­tur­er rec­om­men­da­tions. While spe­cif­ic rec­om­men­da­tions may vary depend­ing on the boat’s design and oth­er fac­tors, here is a gen­er­al guide­line for motor sizes based on boat length:

  • 10–20 HP: A 10 to 20 horse­pow­er motor is suit­able for small 16-foot fiber­glass boats used for fish­ing or leisure­ly cruis­ing in calm waters. These motors pro­vide suf­fi­cient pow­er for maneu­ver­abil­i­ty and mod­er­ate speeds.
  • 25–40 HP: For 16-foot fiber­glass boats used for a vari­ety of activ­i­ties, includ­ing fish­ing, water sports, and recre­ation­al cruis­ing, a motor in the range of 25 to 40 horse­pow­er is typ­i­cal­ly rec­om­mend­ed. These motors offer improved pow­er and speed capa­bil­i­ties for more ver­sa­tile per­for­mance.
  • 50+ HP: If you plan to use your 16-foot fiber­glass boat for activ­i­ties such as water ski­ing, tub­ing, or car­ry­ing a larg­er num­ber of pas­sen­gers, a motor with 50 or more horse­pow­er may be suit­able. These motors pro­vide the nec­es­sary pow­er for increased speed and per­for­mance.

The best size motor for a 16 foot fiber­glass boat will depend on sev­er­al fac­tors, includ­ing the type of boat, the weight of the boat and its con­tents, the num­ber of pas­sen­gers and the intend­ed use. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, an out­board motor between 40 and 60 horse­pow­er is suit­able for a 16 foot fiber­glass boat. How­ev­er, it is best to con­sult a boat mechan­ic or engine man­u­fac­tur­er to ensure the right size motor is select­ed for your boat.

What Size Motor is Best for a 16 Foot Fiberglass Boat?

It is impor­tant to con­sid­er the type of engine you are look­ing for. Out­board motors are typ­i­cal­ly gas-pow­ered and come in two-stroke and four-stroke options. Two-stroke engines are more light­weight than their four-stroke coun­ter­parts and are bet­ter suit­ed for recre­ation­al boaters. Four-stroke engines are more pow­er­ful and fuel effi­cient, mak­ing them a bet­ter choice for more expe­ri­enced boaters. Anoth­er fac­tor to con­sid­er is the type of pro­peller that best fits the size and weight of your boat. Choos­ing the right size and type of pro­peller can help max­i­mize the per­for­mance of your engine and ensure your boat is oper­at­ing at its peak.

Types of Motors for a 16 Foot Fiberglass Boat

A 16 foot fiber­glass boat will require an out­board motor or an inboard/outboard motor. Out­board motors are mount­ed out­side the boat and are the most com­mon type of motor. Inboard/outboard motors are typ­i­cal­ly more pow­er­ful than out­board motors and are mount­ed inside the boat with a pro­peller attached to the end of the dri­ve shaft.

  • Out­board Motors: Out­board motors are a pop­u­lar choice for small to mid-sized boats, includ­ing 16-foot fiber­glass boats. These motors are self-con­tained units that are mount­ed on the tran­som of the boat. Out­board motors offer easy maneu­ver­abil­i­ty, sim­ple main­te­nance, and the abil­i­ty to tilt and trim the motor for var­i­ous water con­di­tions.
  • Inboard Motors: Inboard motors are typ­i­cal­ly found in larg­er boats, but they can also be used in 16-foot fiber­glass boats, espe­cial­ly those designed for spe­cif­ic pur­pos­es like water ski­ing or wake­board­ing. Inboard motors are sit­u­at­ed inside the hull of the boat and pro­vide more torque and pow­er for activ­i­ties that require high­er speeds.
  • Elec­tric Motors: Elec­tric motors, such as elec­tric trolling motors, are gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty due to their eco-friend­ly and qui­et oper­a­tion. While elec­tric motors may not pro­vide the same lev­el of pow­er as tra­di­tion­al com­bus­tion engines, they are suit­able for calm water con­di­tions, fish­ing, or leisure­ly cruis­ing. Elec­tric motors can be mount­ed on the tran­som or as part of a pon­toon boat set­up.

The size of the motor need­ed will depend on the type of water the boat is used in, the type of activ­i­ties it is used for, and the weight of the boat and its pas­sen­gers. Gen­er­al­ly, a 16 foot fiber­glass boat should have a motor with a horse­pow­er rat­ing of at least 30–50. It is rec­om­mend­ed to con­sult a marine mechan­ic or boat deal­er to find the best type of motor for your spe­cif­ic boat and needs. Check our arti­cle about size of the motor for 20 foot pon­toon boat.

Outboard Motors

Out­board motors are the most pop­u­lar choice for recre­ation­al boaters. They are rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive and easy to install and main­tain. Out­board motors are also light­weight and can be mount­ed on the tran­som of the boat, so they don’t take up much room. Out­board motors are avail­able in a vari­ety of sizes and pow­er rat­ings, so you can find one that suits your needs.

Inboard Motors

Inboard motors are mount­ed inside the boat, usu­al­ly in the cen­ter of the ves­sel. They are usu­al­ly more pow­er­ful than out­board motors, and they pro­vide greater con­trol and maneu­ver­abil­i­ty. Inboard motors require more main­te­nance than out­board motors, as they are more com­plex and can be dif­fi­cult to access for repairs.

Stern Drive Motors

Stern dri­ve motors are a hybrid of inboard and out­board motors. They are mount­ed inside the boat, but the dri­ve­train is mount­ed on the tran­som. Stern dri­ve motors are pow­er­ful and pro­vide good maneu­ver­abil­i­ty, but they are more expen­sive than out­board motors and require more main­te­nance.

How to Install Your 16 Foot Boat Motor

How to Install Your Motor

Installing a motor on your 16 foot fiber­glass boat can be a com­pli­cat­ed process, so it is impor­tant to fol­low the manufacturer’s instruc­tions care­ful­ly. You will need to ensure that the motor is mount­ed cor­rect­ly and secure­ly. This will involve align­ing the motor with the boat’s tran­som and secur­ing it with bolts. Then, you will need to con­nect the motor to the boat’s fuel and elec­tri­cal sys­tems. You will need to test the motor and make sure it is run­ning cor­rect­ly.

You will need to ensure the motor is prop­er­ly mount­ed on the transom of the boat and that the motor is secure­ly fastened. Then, you should attach the propeller to the motor and posi­tion the propeller so it is prop­er­ly aligned with the boat. You should con­nect the engine’s wiring and fuel lines to the boat and attach the propeller shaft and the motor’s low­er unit to the transom of the boat. Once all of these steps are com­plet­ed, your motor is ready to be used.

Maintenance Tips for Your Motor

Maintain­ing your motor boat is essen­tial to keep­ing it run­ning smooth­ly and ensur­ing your safe­ty while out on the water. Prop­er main­te­nance will help to extend the life of your boat and keep it in good work­ing con­di­tion. It is impor­tant to keep your motor in good con­di­tion to ensure it is run­ning safe­ly and effi­cient­ly. Here are some tips for main­tain­ing your motor:

Check the oil and fuel levels regularly

Make sure the oil and fuel lev­els are at the cor­rect lev­els. If the oil lev­el is too low, the engine can over­heat and cause seri­ous dam­age.

Clean the motor

Make sure to clean the motor reg­u­lar­ly to remove any dirt or debris that may be clog­ging the motor or its com­po­nents. You can check our arti­cle about fiber­glass boat clean­er.

Check the spark plugs

If the spark plugs are fouled or worn out, they can cause the motor to run inef­fi­cient­ly. Replace the spark plugs when nec­es­sary.

Check the impeller

The impeller is respon­si­ble for push­ing water through the motor and cool­ing it. Make sure to check the impeller reg­u­lar­ly for signs of wear and tear, and replace it if nec­es­sary.


What is the minimum recommended motor size for a 16-foot fiberglass boat?

The min­i­mum rec­om­mend­ed motor size for a 16-foot fiber­glass boat typ­i­cal­ly falls with­in the range of 25 to 40 horse­pow­er. How­ev­er, it is impor­tant to con­sid­er fac­tors such as the boat’s weight, intend­ed use, and the num­ber of pas­sen­gers or gear you plan to car­ry.

Can I use a smaller motor than the recommended size for a 16-foot fiberglass boat?

While it is pos­si­ble to use a small­er motor than the rec­om­mend­ed size, it may result in reduced per­for­mance and slow­er speeds. A small­er motor may strug­gle to pro­pel the boat effi­cient­ly, espe­cial­ly if you plan to car­ry addi­tion­al weight or engage in activ­i­ties such as water ski­ing or tow­ing.

How does the boat’s weight affect the motor size for a 16-foot fiberglass boat?

The weight of the boat, includ­ing the hull, engine, and any addi­tion­al equip­ment or pas­sen­gers, direct­ly impacts the motor size required to achieve opti­mal per­for­mance. A heav­ier boat will require a more pow­er­ful motor to pro­vide suf­fi­cient thrust and main­tain desired speeds. It is essen­tial to con­sid­er the weight capac­i­ty of your boat, includ­ing fuel and gear, when deter­min­ing the appro­pri­ate motor size.


Choos­ing the right size motor for your 16 foot fiber­glass boat is an impor­tant part of ensur­ing your boat is safe and enjoy­able to use. Out­board motors of between 25 and 50 horse­pow­er are usu­al­ly suit­able for most 16 foot fiber­glass boats, although heav­ier boats may require a more pow­er­ful motor. It is also impor­tant to install the motor cor­rect­ly and main­tain it reg­u­lar­ly for opti­mal per­for­mance.