Do Sailboats Come with Motors?

By Matt Claiborne

Do Sailboats Have Engines?

It depends!

Small sailboats and sailing dinghies typically sail without the aid of an engine. However, the bigger the boat, the more likely it is to have a motor of some kind.

Why Have a Sailboat Engine At All?




Motoring Through Calms or Upwind


Maneuvering in Crowded Spaces

Can You Sail Without an Engine?

You can... But!

Sailing without an engine is entirely possible but limits flexibility; engines offer options crucial for maneuvering, weather challenges, and safety.

Types of Sail Boat Engines

Outboard Motor


Outboards are common on smaller sailboats that are 25 feet long or less. They are usually small, portable models of eight horsepower or less.

Diesels Inboard Engine


Diesel inboards offer reliability, safety, and maneuverability but come with higher cost and complexity compared to cheaper, simpler outboards.

Electric Inboard Motor


If you believe the sailboat motor is there to get you on and off the dock, then an electric engine with a moderate battery bank is more than adequate.