Growing up in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, our family budget couldn't quite swing owning a boat of our own. I loved to fish, and my dad knew it, so he came up with a cost-effective way for me to hop into a boat and fish without spending a whole lot of money. He bought a 5-hp outboard motor that he let me take to area marinas that would rent me a boat for a day. After all, when it comes to getting around on a small lake or trolling on a budget, all that's needed is a good 12- or 14-ft. aluminum boat and a small reliable outboard.
Now that I have kids of my own who love to fish, I've adopted a similar money-saving strategy. Last summer I rented a cabin for a week in the north woods of Minnesota on a small lake outside McGregor. The cabin came with an aluminum rowboat for the week, and I supplied the motor in the form of a new Nissan four-stroke 6-hp outboard. It was the first time I used the motor, and I can't say enough good things about it.
I won't say that the 6-hp motor is lightweight (about 55 lbs.), but I had no problems mounting it to the transom of the rental boat alone. It was simply a matter of opening up screws on the mounting bracket, slipping the motor onto the back of the boat, tightening everything down and connecting the fuel line to the 3-gallon gas tank. Oil was contained in an internal reservoir so all I needed was some unleaded fuel. After a few squeezes of the bulb on the fuel line, I opened the choke and pulled the starting rope. The Nissan coughed on the second pull and started right up on the third. For the rest of the week it was a first- or second-pull starter.
Comparing the old, smoky, noisy and gas-guzzling outboard motor I grew up using to the new line of Nissan four-strokes is like comparing different animal species. They aren't even in the same category. The Nissan was quiet-running, operated smoothly with almost no visible emissions after initial start-up and delivered fuel efficiency unlike anything I've every seen powering a boat. I fished for five days in a row averaging five hours of fishing a day in the boat, most of which was trolling. During that entire time I used about half the gas in the 3-gallon tank. Nissan claims that these motors typically use less than one-half gallon of fuel per hour, even when running wide open. In my case that fuel economy was exceeded.
In terms of technical specifications, the Nissan four-stroke outboards meet all EPA standards for 2008 and are equipped with thermostatically controlled cooling systems. They have heavy-duty crankshafts, bearings, connecting rods and pistons. Five layers of corrosion protection will keep the motor looking good and functioning reliably for years. A through-the-prop exhaust system makes them quiet compared to other outboards. All models 4hp and above have forward, neutral and reverse gears and lanyard-mounted cutoff switches are standard. My sole complaint about the outboard I used is that I wish the shifting lever on the side of the motor housing was just a little larger given the beefy nature of my hands.
If you are in the market for a reliable outboard to use on rental boats, an inflatable, a duck boat or similar small watercraft, I heartily recommend Nissan's line of tiller-steering outboards. One would also make a great kicker motor for a larger boat. Nissan motors are backed by a three-year factory warranty.
For more information on Nissan outboards, use the search bar on the top of this page, check the pages of your latest Cabela's catalog or visit your nearest Cabela's retail store.