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Help me figure out best motor for my 14' inflatable

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  • Help me figure out best motor for my 14' inflatable

    I'm sure you folks get sick of answering questions like this, but I'm relying on some advice to know what I need to buy. I have a 14' inflatable dinghy that was given to me. It's capable of up to a 7 hp max motor, weighs 70 lbs, and can handle a weight of up to 850 lbs.

    My limitations are that I can't use a trailer (many reasons), and I need to be able to use a motor I can mount to the boat at the dock. My planned usage is short recreational trips with my two young children, maybe camping on local river and lake islands, or fishing. No outing would be more than about 8 miles in a single excursion. In addition to the boat weight, might be hauling a max of 300 pounds worth of people and gear. I'm thinking my best option is an electric trolling motor with at least a 100 mAh deep cycle battery, but I still worry about the distances I'm thinking of. I know there are many options for sub 7 hp gas powered outboards out there, but I'm concerned whether I can handle the weight of that sort of outboard at the dock. Not to mention I have an SUV where I'd have to lay a gas motor down on its side. Thoughts on my best options?

  • #2
    Full size marine battery going to be same weight as a 3.5 HP OB I would say? Do you have back problems and or limited with lifting? I used to go six mile round trip with a big marine battery and medium sized trolling motor in a 12' boat. I have no idea what was left for juice and I always went upriver first to drift back if the battery died.

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    • #3
      Welcome to Iboats,

      Are you 100% sure that that 14 footer Sib can only handle a max 7 HP motor ? Any 14 footer is rated for as much as a 30 HP motor, best if being a 2 strokes one. Is that a inflatable, wooden or alum deck ?

      Personally would go for a portable min 5 max 9.8 HP short shaft motor to have extra fun and cruise with extended range...

      Happy Boating


      Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers

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      • #4
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        How heavy of a motor are you comfortable lifting??

        The 6HP four strokes are around 68 lbs, which isn't too bad and they're very economical to run. The 4, 5 and 6 HP all weigh the same (at least with Tohatsu and Mercury) so if you're going smaller than that a 3.5 would be it.

        A trolling motor would also do, but how fast are you going to want to be on that 8 mile journey? At 4MPH you'd need two hours worth of battery, which shouldn't be too hard to do.

        I have an 8.5' inflatable with a 6HP 4 stroke. We frequently go to a place about 3 miles away and often load the boat with 350-375lbs and sometimes can even get up on plane. Not sure if yours will plane out though, as it really depends on what type of bottom... is it soft, inflatable floor, inflatable keel or otherwise? Even if we can't plane out - or don't want to because it's rough - the 6HP is plenty of motor to get us down there and back with ease. I also added a charge coil to it for lights and power while underway.

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