Single vs Twin Engine

Single Engine on Cobra RIB

When choosing a boat to perfectly satisfy your needs, there are many factors to consider. Whether it be the model of boat, the size of the boat or even the correct engine size to optimize your boat performance. One question we find ourselves as a RIB manufacturer being asked over and over again, ‘what is the difference between a single and a twin engine’?

There is no straight answer to this, however from a buyer’s perspective, this understandably is a really important question. For an easy comparison, we have summarized the advantages and disadvantages of having a single and a twin engine on a Cobra RIB.


Suzuki 300 Single Engine


  • A single engine creates less drag in the water; this creates less friction and therefore makes for a faster ride.
  • A single engine consumes less fuel than two engines travelling at the same speed.
  • The purchase cost of a single engine is less than that of a twin engine.
  • Maintenance costs are less because only one engine needs to be serviced, winterized etc.


  • A twin engine boat is a bit more stable at rest compared to a single engine.
  • Not as easy as a twin engine to maneuver, particularly in smaller spaces like a port or harbor.
  • Redundancy factor of only having one engine.



Twin Mercury Engines


  • Two engines are easier to maneuver, by putting one motor forward and the other backward it makes rotating a boat into place much easier.
  • Performance – Twin engine boats offer better acceleration and better top speed.
  • Twin engines ensure greater safety. If one engine has a problem, you have the second engine to get you home. Twin engine Cobra Ribs have the ability to still get on the plane, even when only using one of the engines.
  • Twin engines offer larger fuel tanks which expand range possibilities.
  • With twin engines, they’re not being run as hard as a single engine when comparing the same cruising speeds.


  • Two engines cost more than one to buy.
  • Maintenance costs are higher as you have to service two engines at the end of the season instead of one.
  • When comparing boats that are rigged with the same horsepower e.g. one 300hp engine instead of two 150hp engines, the twin engine will create more drag. For the same amount of horsepower and the same boat weight the top end speed will be better on a single engine. 

I think to say that one is better or more advisable than the other would be incorrect as this is entirely subjective and a matter of personal taste depending on how the boat is going to be used. A single engine provides a lower cost element, whereas the twin engines provide greater security, better performance and improved maneuverability.

For further information or advice on how to make the best decision for you, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Blackbeard Marine or email us at Join the adventure today!