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Electric trolling motors

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This is a bit of a 'newish' field

Electric outboards have been around for a long time, but only fairly recently as trolling motors and ancillary power for small dinghies and row boats.

The little ones are reasonably inexpensive but start getting up in price when 24v or 36v are required. Some of the top of the range ones seem eye watering expensive when viewing against performance.

I'm looking at fitting one to a 14' row / sail boat weighing around 80kgs. With say 2 adults and 2 little ones with gear, I would expect an all up weight of about 450kgs.

The alternative is buying a long shaft 2 stroke, but kind of negates the quiet of the estuaries and inlets. 

I just want something strong enough to take us home should we be caught in a foul wind or tide. (That 450kg row could be rather demanding!)

Anyone have any experience, advice, thoughts, guidance, or recommendations in suitability or selections?

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I think a trolling motor is something different. They can be hooked up to a gps fish finder, to keep the boat stationery over a sea mount, or move the boat with the school. You probably just want a standard electric outboard. Brands like Torqueedo and ePropulsion.

Have you seen this thread? 



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Well there was one of the Mudcrabs in Matauwhi Bay using a $180.00 trolling motor for sole method of propulsion to a way out mooring for a couple of years -worked well and very silent, how does that compare with spending $2500.00 on a Torqeedo? I know they are not the same -just saying it worked for her.

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On 4/10/2021 at 2:54 PM, Plato said:

I just want something strong enough to take us home should we be caught in a foul wind or tide. (That 450kg row could be rather demanding!)

This is exactly what a trolling motor isn't designed to do. People who are trolling for fish just want to move through the water at a low speed, they don't care if they are not moving over the ground or even going backwards with the tide against them.

A trolling motor is designed for trolling slowly, not as propulsion to get you somewhere. The propellers have a very low pitch designed to move the boat very slowly and not overload the very low powered electric motor. Consequently, if you try to go against the tide you'll not really get anywhere.

A trolling motor with the power and range that you need will be priced about the same as a real electric outboard which has the same power, but the trolling motor of the same power will be designed to move a bigger boat very slowly, not designed to propel a small boat fast enough to bash into wind and tide.

At the end of the day if you compare two motors of similar power then you don't get more for your money, you get something designed for a different purpose. Usually they are rather flimsy and not rugged or reliable enough as main propulsion - they are designed as an accessory to a main engine, not as propulsion you can rely on.

If you are only using it for a short distance on very sheltered water with no currents then a trolling motor can do the job and might be cheaper than a real electric outboard, just be aware that you get what you pay for and you might be buying another one every couple of years.

It's hard to find a real electric outboard less than 2hp equivalent (1kw) so if that's what you need then a trolling motor might suffice, but if you can afford it then just get a real electric outboard and don't use the maximum speed, then a small battery will go all days long.

Don't forget that the small electric outboards such as Torqeedo 1103 include a waterproof battery which accounts for half their value. The trolling motors generally don't include a battery and you'll need to build some sort of waterproof compartment to contain whatever battery you decide to use, which probably wasn't designed for the marine environment.

If the price of the Torqeedo 1103 puts you off then we are able to order in the Torqeedo 603 which is a derated version - looks identical but power is limited to 2hp instead of 3hp and it only has half the battery capacity. Saves you about $1000 if you don't need the 40km+ range of the 1103.

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