Ridetheducks.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Short Shaft vs Long Shaft Outboard otor

short shaft vs long shaft outboard outboard motor

Outboard Motors are a popular choice for powering boats, both small and large. There are many factors to consider when purchasing an outboard motor, such as the boat’s size and weight, the type of water it will be used in, and your budget.

One of the most important factors to consider is the length of the shaft on the outboard motor. This article will discuss what outboard motor you should pick.

Short Shaft vs Long Shaft Outboard Motor

The difference between short and long shaft outboard motors is the length of the drive shaft, which connects the motor to the propeller. The short shaft design is more compact and easier to store, but has a shorter range because the propeller is closer to the water.

To decide which outboard motor to choose, we need to measure the boat’s aft transom first.

For your information, the length between the anti-caviation plate and the motor mount helps calculate the determied shaft length. In other words, it is the distance between the metal plate above the boat’s propeller and the propeller’s lowest point.

Now that you get the right number, you can decide on which outboard motor to choose, you can refer to this table:

Calculated aft Transom Shaft Length Outboard Motor
0 – 10 inches 30 inches
10 – 17 inches 36 inches
17 – 21 inches 42 inches
21 inches Seek professional opinion

A short shaft outboard is a type of outboard motor that has a shorter shaft length than other types of outboard motors.

What to Choose?

short shaft outboard outboard motor

Short Shaft Outboard Motors

A short shaft outboard motor is required if your boat has an aft transom that is less than 17 inches long. In fact, these outboard motors are compact, making them excellent for small boats because they take up less room and are easy to use.

These following boats will need a short shaft outboard motor:

  • Small Jon boats (8 – 10 feet long)
  • Small sailboats (12 – 15 feet long)
  • Sailboats featuring movable brackets
  • Canoes (15 – 20 feet long)
  • Zodiac boats
  • Most inflatable boats

Indeed, you will need to measure the aft transform to determine if the short shaft outboard motor is right for your vehicle.

Long Shaft Outboard Motor

If the length of your boat’s aft transom is between 17 and 21 inches, a long shaft outboard motor is recommended. Here are some of the boat types that should have a long shaft outboard motor installed:

  • Jon boats
  • Sailboats
  • Skiffs
  • Pontoon boats

Why Should we Choose the Right Length for an Outboard Motor?

long shaft outboard outboard motor

A shorter shaft outboard motor is typically much lighter than traditional motors, which makes it easier to transport and install. As it goes with a smaller boat, it will not become a drag.

A right outboard motor with proper length will make the boat easy to maneuver. Instead of going for a longer outboard motor than required, a compact one allows us to go fishing in tight quarters or navigate through a narrow channel.

A shorter shaft outboard motor also takes up less space on your boat, which can be a big advantage if you’re limited in storage capacity.

A suitable outboard motor prevents wasting fuel, making it more economical.

Choosing the proper long-shaft outboard motor ensures higher speed, allowing you to move huge boats quickly and powerfully through the water.

Choosing a longer shaft outboard motor than required will pose a risk of tipping the boat due to the extra weight.


Short shaft or long shaft – which is the right choice for you? It depends on your personal preferences and the type of boat you have. If you have a smaller boat, such as a shallow V-hull boat, go with a short shaft outboard.

If you have a large boat, such as a deep V-hull or fishing boat, go with a long shaft outboard. Remember to consider the cost and storage space requirements before making your decision. Thanks for reading!

Rate this post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top