Just how long will a marine engine last before it quits and/or needs a major overhaul? That is a bit of a loaded question, because there are many variables that can either shorten or extend the life of your motor yacht’s engines. However, generally speaking, typical marine gasoline engine should run for a good 1500 hours before needing any kind of major overhaul. An average marine diesel engine, on the other hand, will tend to live a lot longer, and could go as long as 5000 hours before running into any serious trouble. Of course, both of these numbers assume that either engine will be operated properly, under normal conditions, and will receive regular routine maintenance.

If you are more familiar with your car’s engine then you are with boats, that 1500 hour number on a marine gasoline engine may seem a little low. After all, a typical well maintained gasoline car engine should last 3000 hours or more, without any major problems. But, that is because a car engine is rarely subjected to the adverse conditions that a marine engine is.


When does an engine start to show its age?

As we said earlier, a typical marine gas engine should run about 1500 hours worry free. However, it hits its “mid-life crisis” around the 1000 hour mark. This is when a marine gas engine will start to show some little signs of wear and tear. If these issues are not taken care of as the begin to arise, they can develop into costly repairs later on, and significantly reduce the life of your engine.

Diesel engines are built to last longer, but they have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Diesel engines, since they have been primarily designed for commercial and industrial marine applications, have been built to take much more abuse and general pounding than are gasoline engines. It is not unusual for a well-maintained marine diesel engine to deliver 8,000 hours, or more before, needing a major overhaul. It is likely that well-maintained diesel engines could last you for the life of your yacht!

a Yachts Engine Room

Extending the life of Your Engines

Regardless if your motor yacht has diesel or gasoline engines, there are things you can do to help them live longer. While it may seem counter intuitive, marine engines actually last longer the more they are used, and run continuously. Laying fallow for a while, and frequent starts and shut-downs, prevent a typical marine engine from delivering its maximum number of hours.

If you are not planning on using your yacht very often, besides for the opportunity to offset expenses, this is a good reason to consider a charter income program. As a charter yacht, your boat will have an opportunity to “stretch her legs” more often and see that her engines and other critical systems get the workouts they need.

Also, when your boat is in a charter program, and a member of our On Demand Yachting platform, you can be assured that all routine maintenance is done on a planned and regular basis, ensuring that your yacht is always healthy and ready to go for you, or your charter customers!

outboard power


Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.