This may be a dumb question, but ...

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Oct 8, 2007
Vessel Name
Moon Dance
Vessel Make
1974 34' Marine Trader Sedan
I have an 8 dinghy that I refuse to paddle and am looking to provide with a motor.* An electric trolling motor appears to be the answer. But, being the lazy dog that I am I dont want to have to repeatedly hump a 50-60 lb battery off the boat and into the dink and back for every use.* So I was resigned to humping a 40 lb 2.5HP gas outboard instead.
Then I realized Im not using the dink to explore fjords in Alaska, I only need it to get me, at most, a few hundred yards from my anchorage to the overcrowded dock at a waterfront restaurant or bar or to the beach.* So . maybe I can get a really lightweight 12V battery with the capacity to run a trolling motor for what? 20 minutes or so between charges?
What am I missing?* Any better ideas?* And, any suggestions on lightweight 12 batteries?* Can I get a 6V trolling motor?

I went that direction once. 12v trolling motor pushed the dingy well. The then 6-8 year old daughter loved it because she could use it without having to have someone pull the starter rope for her. The problem became bringing the battery aboard to charge, remembering when it was charged, not being able to charge when on the hook, (no generator on that boat), battery dying unexpectedly, etc.

Our solution was a 2 hp gas engine. It had an integral fuel tank, we could estimate range, Daughter could start it, "charging" was the 2.5 gallon plastic can on the swim step, weight was one hand. It turned out to be the perfect choice for us for about 10 years.

If I was doing it again I'd go with the tiny gas motor.

Yep, that's the kind we had. I think ours was a Suzuki 2 hp. There is no shift on these tiny guys, it only goes forward. To back up you just turn the engine around until the prop is pushing you back. Very simple operation.

In 1982 we bought a Mariner two/stroke, 2 h.p. outboard motor for our dinghy and it is still running like new. That is over twenty six years of faithful service and I can still get parts for it. How is that for product support?
If you want a real trip down memory lane and a little motor at the same time, find yourself a Seagull. They were all the rage with sailboaters way back when. Noisiest damn things you ever heard but I think they were very reliable. Or if not were incredibly easy to work on.
I have a two HP Seagull for sale if your interested. I have a donut dingy and the sea gull (or any gas motor ) is more weight and power than the tie on bracket can stand.
The electric motor option with battery is good but then install a`small solar panel for charging.
If you don't use the boat all the time then it will probably keep up.
I did this with my dinghy crane on top of the wheelhouse instead of running cables all the way back to the battery bank.
In 2 years I have not had to top up the battery via electric charger.
With heavy use you may have to pull the charger out and give it a top up.
Why not get one of the new electric dingy "Torquedo" motors and a small solar panel to keep it topped off? No gas aboard!
Solar panel, smolar panel. In the PNW we can go for weeks without seeing the sun, much less having enough sunlight to keep a battery charged. Here's an example. My bride has solar powered LED lights around the planting spaces in the yard. They have 2 AA batteries inside and a solar panel about 4" on top. For 4 months of the year there is less than 30 minutes of light from those units each day. For some weeks there is no light at all. There simply is not enough sun to keep them charged. During the summer they just make it through the night. Now, how would that solar panel do if I tried to use the dingy in the spring or fall, not to mention the winter cruises.

Best to go with gas unless you are in the sun belt.

Don't know the USCG rules look at a electric motor , but you may be able to do without the fire extinguisher ect.

I would install the battery , LASHED down, in the dink and just get an extendion cord to charge from the mothership.

IF you use the Home style small 240V plugs on the connection , there cheap, polarized , and can handle 20A .

Big advantage to electric is the ladies are not scared of a no start, and will use the dink more often.And no gas dieing by the day.

The Torqeedo's are very, very nice, but did you see my boat?* Ain't no $1,600 outboards happening in my current boating style!

Why not get one of the new electric dingy "Torquedo" motors and a small solar panel to keep it topped off? No gas aboard!

and a small solar panel to keep it topped off?

Depending on use and weather you may be rowing more than motoring.

What you take out in 1/2 hour may take a good week to refill.

We went through this same delimma in the last 2 months. We purchased an Avon rib 340 about a year and a half ago and just recently mounted it using a weaver set up. This meant installing and removing the engine. The SO was insistant in having a setup she could handle by herself in an emergency. I also felt a trolling motor is a good option. Final decision was a new Mercury (Tohatsu) 3.5 HP*4 stroke at about 40 lbs.. This is all the weight I want to swing on a transom. We had to order it to get the 20" version necessary for our dink.I am very happy with the way it handles- runs about 5.5 MPH with a good load in the boat. Built in tank holds about 1/3 gallon. Runs a long time on this. Plenty of power for us.
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