Four key things to consider when repowering a boat

Repowering a boat means fitting it with a new engine, for continued, reliable performance. Doing so means that you can improve the efficiency and convenience of your operation, as well as your comfort onboard. Here are four key things to consider when repowering a boat.

1. Operational profiles ensure that you get the right equipment for your boat

Whether it is a passenger ferry, fishing vessel, pilot boat or leisure boat, the first thing to consider when repowering a boat is its operation. Does it traffic a very short, fixed route, for example? Or, will it be used for longer, more varying operations? Will it operate in deep or shallow waters, with strong or mild currents, or with varying displacement? What are the weather conditions like in the boat’s operating environment?

These are but some of the factors that are taken into account when making an operational profile. Operational profiles are very helpful not just for finding the best engine for your boat, but also the best driveline, water jet, or propellers, and more. Merely making an estimate of your operation is not sufficient. As an example, operators often unintentionally exaggerate the boat engine load, while underestimating the amount of idling.

2. Your boat engine must comply with emission standards and environmental regulation

Many boat engines, particularly in Europe and North America, operate in NECA zones. NECA stands for NOx Emission Control Area. Any boat with a diesel engine with a power of more than 130 kW, and that operates on or passes through these NECA areas, must comply with the new IMO Tier III NOx regulations.

This puts new demands on boat engines and emissions control, for big and small vessels alike; not least in terms of engine efficiency, cost-efficiency and practical design. Repowering your boat with a more environmentally-friendly engine will not only keep emissions down; it will also reduce your fuel costs.

Visit our website to learn more about our IMO Tier III and EU Stage V Marine Solutions.

3. Repowering your boat improves its performance significantly

Repowering your boat will improve its performance in a variety of ways, including immediate response, better acceleration, and improved maneuverability.

Another major benefit of repowering is noise and vibration level reduction. Newer engines also tend to be more compact than older ones – thus, they occupy less space onboard. That, in turn, makes it easier to install an exhaust aftertreatment system in the engine room. Here is an example of a customer case in Sweden, where Volvo Penta repowered a passenger ferry with a new engine and an EATS exhaust aftertreatment system.

4. Your engine should work smoothly with the systems and controls onboard

Installing a new engine does not mean that you necessarily want to replace your plotters, screens, or other navigation equipment. Make sure that your engine and your systems are as compatible with one another as possible. Your controls and navigation instruments need to be user-friendly, and easy to operate. This not only to facilitate your navigation of the boat, but to ensure that you do so in an ergonomically suitable way.

Repowering a boat engine

Choose a boat engine that meets your actual operational requirements, in order to avoid overpowering

Modern boat engines have a very different torque curve compared to older engines. As such, you can gain a lot of power by replacing your older engine with a new one. The new engine will likely be smaller and lighter than the old one, yet have a lot more horsepower and a higher torque on the lower revs. In addition to the greater engine power, the new engine will comply with strict emissions standards, and likely reduce your maintenance costs too.

That said, many boat operators overestimate the amount of engine power they need for their operations. Fitting a very powerful engine in a boat with a generally low engine load will not benefit neither the vessel nor the engine – on the contrary. An engine with a load that is too light is more likely to malfunction than an engine with too heavy a load. One such typical malfunction is fuel dilution, where diesel leaks into the engine oil and damages its viscosity. Overpowering your boat can also add unnecessary weight to your boat.

This is why making a proper operational profile is so important, so that you can identify how much power your particular boat engine needs to have. However, you must also include a certain extra engine capacity for demanding conditions, like very strong currents and winds.

For more on how to repower your boat, contact your Volvo Penta dealer

If you want to know more about repowering, and what the best solution for your boat may be, you are always welcome to turn to our global Volvo Penta dealer network. They can assist you in finding and installing an engine that suits your needs, provide a total cost of ownership calculation, and answer whatever questions you may have about repowering.

As for our Volvo Penta marine diesel engines, they feature integrated functions to protect both operators and the engines themselves. They have also been carefully engineered to deliver impressive fuel economy to operators, no matter where and how these engines operate. They are compatible with the IMO Tier III NOx regulations, and thanks to their plug-and-play connectivity, your system will be up and running smoothly and quickly.

For more on our products, services, and the work we do, visit volvopenta.com. You will also find lots of other useful information and recommendations here on our Volvo Penta Professional Power Blog. Make sure to read the articles on our boat performance prediction software (MPS) and our exchange component system, too.

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