The Advantages of Sterndrive Engines

The Advantages of Sterndrive Engines

Volvo Penta sterndrive from a Volvo Penta dealer in CA Bay area

Boat engines come in various forms, and choosing the right one can be a daunting task. We at Helmut’s Marine are here to help!

As opposed to other options, sterndrive engines offer a number of advantages for all kinds of boats. In this post, we’ll cover what a sterndrive is, what its benefits are, debunk some myths about sterndrives, and hear from a respected boat builder about why their customers love Volvo Penta’s sterndrive package.

Farallon Boat with Volvo Penta sterndrive engine in the Bay

What is a Sterndrive Engine?

Sterndrives were introduced by Volvo Penta in 1957, and are a hybrid of inboard and outboard engines (they’re often called “inboard/outboards” or “I/Os”). Sterndrives combine the benefits of both inboard as well as outboard systems. This combination of benefits along with the counter-rotating twin propellers, the Duoprop, enables sterndrives to provide unrivaled, fuel-efficient performance with responsive handling and safe grip. 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.

Volvo Penta sterndrive being worked on by a Volvo Penta servicing company in CA Bay area

Benefits of a Sterndrive Engine

One of the biggest benefits of a sterndrive engine is that it provides better handling and maneuverability than other types of boat engines. They offer excellent fuel efficiency, and are quieter than outboard engines. They are also easier to install and maintain than inboard engines, and come with both gas and diesel. Sterndrive engines are also more versatile than other types of boat engines, as they can be used on a wide range of boats.

Volvo Penta sterndrive engine from Volvo Penta servicing company in CA Bay area

Debunking the Myths About Sterndrives

There are several myths about sterndrive engines that have swirled around, and it’s time to set the record straight.

Myth #1: Sterndrives corrode in saltwater

This used to be true, but thanks to modern technology and coatings, it’s not the case any longer.

Myth #2: Sterndrives are only meant for small boats

Sterndrives provide the power needed for large crafts. As soon as Volvo Penta introduced the sterndrive, it placed first in the famous Miami to Nassau race, which spans hundreds of miles.

Myth #3: Sterndrives are hard to service

Service points are high up or forward on the Volvo Penta sterndrive engine, so they’re easy to service. And certain maintenance tasks, like oil changes, come at twice the interval they used to be performed at.

Myth #4: Sterndrives are inferior to outboards

In reality, sterndrives offer the same weight and power as an outboard, without having to deal with climbing around the engine.

Myth #5: Sterndrives are too heavy for performance

Volvo Penta makes V6 and V8 all aluminum closed cool engines, with specialized controls, making sterndrives capable of excellent performance for a variety of boating applications.

Farrallon boat with Volvo Penta sterndrive from a Volvo Penta servicing company in CA Bay area

Boat Builders Love Sterndrives

You don’t have to just take our word for it. We asked our friend, Blake Carter, at Farallon Boats in Sacramento to weigh in on sterndrives. Farallon Boats is renowned for building great sport fishing boats that perform amazingly in rough seas, and are strong and durable, making them one of the most reliable off-shore boats on the water. We asked Blake a few questions about Volvo Penta’s sterndrive package.

1) What do you, as a builder, like about the Volvo Penta sterndrive package? What advantages does this package offer?

As a manufacturer, the installation of Volvo sterndrive is more streamlined than installation of other motors we do, whether that be inboards or outboards. The engine package comes with everything you need and it is very straightforward. We have had other builds where you have to constantly be in touch with engine companies sourcing different parts and trying to get the right pieces.

We love when a Volvo package comes because we know everything will be there as they know what our boats require. The other advantage the sterndrive offers is we are able to offer our flagship boat, the 2800 Walkaround, in a true flush deck. The fishability of this vessel is insane, with the ability to fully walk around the boat as well as not having a doghouse on deck or outboards off the back, making this model our most popular by far.

2) What have your customers liked about this package? What are the most common reasons they choose it?

The main thing I hear from our customers in regards to their new sterndrive is fuel economy! They are blown away at how efficient they are and how quick they are with the dual prop. Handling in and around the dock is simple and you get to where you want to go in no time without breaking the bank at the fuel dock. I’ve had customers fish with other Farallons built with outboards. The same model with twin outboards will be approaching empty after a day of running and fishing, whereas the Volvo will have not even burned a half tank. With rising fuel costs, it just makes sense to pick a motor that is efficient.

Volvo Penta sterndrive engine servicing by Helmut's Marine

Helping You Choose The Right Marine Engine

To sum it up, sterndrive engines offer a number of advantages. Helmut’s Marine is here to offer expert guidance to make the boat engine buying experience less daunting. We also offer one of the largest inventories of Volvo Penta engines at Helmut’s Marine, where you can get great customer care, parts, engines, and service.

If you want to learn more about Volvo Penta marine parts, engines, or Helmut’s Marine’s services, reach out or call us at 1-800-326-5135.