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What Size Motor for 16 Foot Aluminum Boat? Here is Your Answer!

Fact checked by William Hart

what size motor for 16 foot aluminum boat

Owning a 16-foot aluminum boat will take your fishing game to the next level. Not to mention, an aluminum boat is one of the easiest to install a motor and customize the interior. Isn’t that exciting?

However, it can be hard to choose the right motor size that maximizes the boat’s performance and lasts well for an extended period. Look no further, as right here in this article, we’ve got the answer for you.

In short, a 60 HP motor is recommended for a 16-foot aluminum boat. However, the motor size depends on other factors, such as the boat’s use, the number of people it carries, the manufacturer’s limits, and the level of fuel efficiency. Dive in for more details to the question of what size motor for 16 foot aluminum boat.

Table of Contents

What is 16-Foot Aluminum Boats for


Most people use 16 ft aluminum boats for fishing, but these boats are versatile. Some boat owners use them to travel from one island to another, for family leisure activities, or even for tourists. It is because aluminum boats are lightweight, long-lasting, low-maintenance, and easy to customize.

Federal Regulations on Overpowered Boats

Before proceeding to the fun part, please be aware that it is illegal to overpower a 16-foot boat. You can read more about the definition of overpowered boats here in the Code of Federal Regulations.

In the manual or the description of a boat on the website, manufacturers always publish the maximum horsepower. If you own an old boat or lost the manual, you can determine this by doing some calculations following federal laws.

In short, for a 16 ft aluminum boat, firstly, you will need to calculate a factor by multiplying the boat length (which is 16) by the transom width. To figure out the transom width, you must measure by hand. Now that you have the number, match it to table 183.53 – Outboard Boat Horsepower Capacity on the website to know the maximum horsepower allowed.

Size Motor for 16-Foot Aluminum Boat

Aluminum boats can have a range of 50 to 300 horsepower motors. But don’t be too excited, as this range considers the size and usage of the vessel. For a standard 16-foot aluminum boat, a 60-horsepower motor is recommended. With this motor, the boat can speed from 25 to 30 miles per hour.

We recommend the 60-horsepower Mercury outboard, one of the brand’s finest outboards. Watch this video on Mercury 60 HP 4-stroke review for more details. However, there is no one exact answer for the right motor size as it depends a lot on other factors like a load of your boat. Consider the following factors when choosing motors.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Motor Size


1. Manufacturer limits

Never take a fishing boat to the water with too many people or appliances. When being loaded over the capacity, boats can be out of control easily and will swamp or capsize. The average weight capacity of a 16-foot aluminum Jon boat is 990 pounds.

You can find information about manufacturer limits on the boat’s capacity plate or in the owner’s manual. This plate indicates the highest weight and number of people the vessel can carry safely in good weather conditions.

Federal law requires manufacturers to attach a capacity plate on boats less than 20 feet in length (if your boat is more than 20 feet, this post is made for you). However, if your vessel is from overseas or built before 1972, chances are they don’t have the capacity plate attachment. You should look for similar model manuals online. Once you have the numbers, ensure safety by:

  • Never exceed the stated maximum weight and number of people.
  • The maximum weight of one boat is the combination of people, appliances, fuel, and motor.
  • In many states, it is a violation of the law to exceed maximum capacity.

In addition to those, the capacity plate will indicate the maximum horsepower of the boat. Your boat’s motor is not allowed to exceed this number. A tip on choosing the right motor size is to go slightly below or at the recommended maximum horsepower for the best performance.

2. Boat use

As mentioned above, 16 aluminum fishing boats are versatile in their usage. Before purchasing a motor, think about what your boat is for. For example, if you transport heavy appliances from place to place regularly, your boat will need a more powerful engine.

However, if your vessel is for solo fishing, extra horsepower is not only unnecessary but can also cost you dearly. It is because the oversized engine will cause your boat to lean to the stern, which makes it hard to control, or even swamp by its wake.

Water conditions should also be considered carefully. If you intend to navigate rough water, the motor must be powerful enough to push the boat through the bumpy ride. Also, if you plan on fishing in the open sea, a slightly more powerful motor is recommended.

Besides, think about the frequency of your boat use. Is it worth investing in an extremely high-quality motor? Or is your boat just for fishing in a relatively small lake once in a while? In some cases, maybe a less pricey motor can serve your purpose. But always remember to put safety first, only choose a reliable motor.

3. Number of people

After considering the use of your boat, you will need to think about the number of people it will carry. A regular 16-foot aluminum boat can hold more than four people. Again, check the capacity attachment for the exact number.

Obviously, the more people the boat carries, the larger the engine should be. Even when you are the only individual who will use the boat, we recommend buying a motor that can be for at least two people.

4. Fuel efficiency

Last but not least, choose the motor that provides optimal fuel efficiency. When it comes to the 16-foot jon boat motor size, it’s not about bigger being better. It’s rather about what suits your needs while being cost-effective and fuel-efficient. As said above, large engines in the wrong place can do more harm than good. Sometimes, lower horsepower options will suit you better and save you some fuel. Also, you need the marine fuel stabilizer to make your engine more efficient to operate.


Boat motor sizes vary a lot depending on the boat’s materials, usage, capacity, etc. Before purchasing a motor, learn carefully about the size that is best for your vessel to maximize its performance.

We hope you’ve gathered enough information on what size motor for 16 foot aluminum boat to make the smartest choice when buying the right motor for your boat. Feel free to leave a comment should you have further questions. We are more than glad to help. See you then!

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