Pod Drives: Are They Right for You?

Whether we fish for bass in lakes, redfish in bays, or flounder in the inlets, most of us own outboard boats. So when we talk about powerplants on this blog, outboards rule the roost. But some Texans run boats that eclipse the outboard’s capabilities, and I don’t want to completely ignore those folks who own inboard boat. Especially because they shouldn’t…

Let me explain: in the past few years, inboards have given way in large part to pod drives. Pods, which were first rolled out for pleasure boats by Volvo-Penta with the IPS system, have steadily grown in popularity. But many anglers, who tend to be change-averse, are still sticking with straight inboards.  If you fall into this category, it’s time to do some serious soul-searching. Yesterday I ran a 44-footer rigged with IPS, and even though I’ve been running pod boats for about a decade, as usual, it took my breath away. Here are the up-sides to running with pods:

1. Efficiency goes up by between 20 and 30 percent.
2. Handling is vastly improved.
3. Dockside handling is far and away beyond easy, and you control the boat with a joystick. Push it sideways and the entire boat moves sideways; twist it and the boat spins in its own length; nudge it in any direction and there the boat goes.
4. Weight distribution is improved, since the engines can be located farther forward or aft as the designer desires.
5. Useable interior volume of the boat goes up, since you don’t need to make room for angled shafts.

Now, here are the down-sides:

1. Over the long-term, maintenance expenses may – may – be slightly higher than with straight inboards.
2. Ummm….. ummm…. ummm….

The bottom line? Pods are clearly superior drive systems. If you’re considering a new sportfish and inboards are in your future, you should try driving a pod-equipped boat, before stroking that check.  Smart money says no matter how change-averse you may be, you’ll change your mind.

pod drives

They may look a bit weird, but pod drives (like this Volvo-Penta IPS) are, simply put, the better choice.

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