Categories: Boating

Twin Outboards, or Triples? The Pros and Cons of Each

Today’s big center console fishing machines have gobs of power, and in many cases, when buying one you’ll have to choose between twin outboards and triples. At first glance, bolting triple outboards across the transom of a boat may seem crazy. But as we described in The Triple Outboard Engine Craze – Is it Crazy? three outboards running together are actually more fuel efficient than twins. The three engines don’t work as hard as twins to produce the same speed, and there’s an ever-so-slight efficiency advantage.

Triple outboards on a fishing boat? There are up-sides, for sure, but there are down-sides, too.

This fact does not, however, tell the full story. In fact, there are several other considerations to take into account when you have to choose between triple and twin outboard fishing boats. Here are the pros and the cons to keep in mind, if you’re considering a triple engine rig:

  • PRO – If one outboard goes down for mechanical issues, the remaining powerplants should be plenty to get your boat up on plane and running for home. On many twin boat rigs, a single outboard will force you to putt-putt slowly back to the marina.
  • CON – Both initial cost and maintenance cost go up by a third. And forget about the money you’ll save thanks to the triple rig’s higher efficiency. It’s pennies, in comparison to maintenance costs.
  • PRO – There’s more space between the outer engines with triple-screw rigs, so when you oppose the engines, maneuverability is enhanced a bit.
  • CON – Three engines make more noise than two do.
  • PRO – With three props in the water you have oodles of “bite”. Sluggish hole-shots are a thing of the past.
  • CON – If you thought it was tough to work a fish around a pair of outboards, just wait until you try to work one around triples. The entire transom is essentially off-limits.
  • PRO – Running triples is just plain FUN!

With today’s high-horsepower options, in many cases you’ll be able to match horsepower-for-horsepower either way.  Consider, for example, that with a pair of Seven Marine 627 HP outboards you can break the 1,200 HP barrier with just two outboards. That’s significantly more juice than you can get with triple 300’s, and even more than triple 400’s (which is also an option, these days). Whether or not you can get “enough” power with twins versus triples is rarely the question. So when you have to choose between twin outboards and triples, consider the above pros and cons—and then you’ll have your answer.

Lenny Rudow: