small outboard motor

How Fast is a 15 Horsepower Outboard Motor?

A good outboard motor will get us from A to B but of course, we all want to know about speed! So, I’ve researched the top speed of a very popular size of outboard for you.

A 15HP outboard motor can get up to 27MPH in an average size fishing boat or jon boat, but may only reach 16MPH if the same boat is weighed down with equipment or the conditions are rough.

As a general rule, one horsepower (or 1 HP), gives anywhere from 0.2-2 miles per hour (MPH) in speed for average-sized vessels, as per research done by Power Sports Guide.

A 15HP outboard motor could therefore theoretically get up to anywhere from 3-30MPH, depending on the size of the boat and conditions it is used in.

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small outboard motor
Some smaller outboard motors.

15 HP Outboard Motor Top Speed Examples

Here is the research I did into the top speed of 15HP outboard motors used by everyday people; note that these are not the top speeds given in the manual, but what users have recorded from their own boating outings.

As such, this reflects more accurately the kind of top speed you might expect from your outboard in similar watercraft if carrying similar items and in similar conditions.

BoatOutboard MotorTop SpeedSourceComments
15-Foot Tracker Topper Flat-bottomed Jon Boat ()15HP Mercury 2015 4-stroke22MPHBuck Creek TV (YouTube)3 people onboard, all adult males, average weight.
Modified 14 Foot 1436 Tracker Topper Jon Boat (14-feet long, 36 inches wide)15HP Tohatsu 4-stroke19MPHRenaissance Guy (YouTube)Old and dented.  Boat heavier due to added aluminium, welding and fishing gear including cooler, plus a dent.
Brand New (withou added weight) 14-Foot 1436 Tracker Topper Jon Boat15HP Tohatsu 4-stroke26.5MPHRenaissance Guy (YouTube)Brand new boat with 1 adult and minimal extra weight.
14-Foot 1436 Tracker Topper Jon Boat15HP 2006 Mercury 4-stroke16.3MPHSlaunch Outdoors (YouTube)750lbs of gear on the boat (including people). Calm lake conditions. 
14-Foot Aluminium Boat15HP 2022 DF 4-Stroke 20MPHLu Ran Outdoor (YouTube)Speed recorded immediately after break-in. 2 people in boat.
13-Foot Duranautic V-Boat15 HP 2020 Mercury EFI 4-stroke20.3MPHFlorida Fishing Channel (YouTube)2 adults and fishing gear. New engine with break-in done. Short shaft engine.

Top Speed for a 15HP Mercury 2015 4-stroke Outboard Motor in a 15-foot Jon Boat 

Buck Creek TV on YouTube pushed his 15HP Mercury 2015 4-stroke outboard motor up to 15mph in his 15-foot flat-bottomed Topper Tracker jon boat with 3 adult men on board in fairly calm lake conditions, tracking his speed with a Garmin GPS device for a car.

Top Speed for a 15HP Tohatsu 4-Stroke Outboard Motor in a Modified 14-Foot Jon Boat

YouTuber ‘Renaissance Guy’ recorded a top speed of 19MPH in his 14-foot jon boat with added weight from welded aluminium, cooler, fishing gear and also a dent, in what he described as an old boat.

It also had a dent in the bottom, which he noted affected it when planing on flat water, so that could have also been a factor in reducing the top speed of the jon boat.

Renaissance Guy also details the modifications he made to the boat used for the speed test above in the video below:

The 1436 Tracker Topper is 14-foot long and 36 inches in width, so it’s a standard size jon boat with a flat-bottom that are very popular for fishing and general recreation, as seen in the video below.

Top Speed for a 15HP Tohatsu 4-Stroke Outboard Motor in a Modified 14-Foot Jon Boat

A top speed of 26.5MPH with a 15H 4-stroke outboard in a brand new 14-36 Tracker Topper jon boat was recorded, also by Renaissance Guy on YouTube. He weighed ~170lbs, and had a few extra items on board.

The other items were:

  • small anchor
  • battery
  • gas tank
  • trolling motor
  • Cooler
  • Lifejackets

No outsize items but he thought the 15HP Tohatsu 4-stroke outboard could reach about 27MPH if the boat was lightened and had fewer items in it. You can see him testing it in the second half of the video below:

Top Speed for a 15HP 2006 Mercury 4-stroke Outboard in a 14-Foot Jon Boat

Slaunch Outdoors recorded a max. speed of 16.3MPH with his 4-stroke Mercury 2006 15HP outboard on a standard 14-foot jon boat with 3 adult passengers in calm but slightly choppy conditions.

As he notes, there is the usual fishing gear in the boat, so this again seems fairly representative of what to expect.

Max Speed for Suzuki 15HP DF 4-Stroke 2022 Outboard in a 14-Foot Jon Boat

20MPH was the top speed recorded for the Suzuki 15HP DF 4-stroke outboard (2022) in another standard 14-foot aluminium jon boat, as recorded with 2 adult passengers and minimal gear in calm conditions.

YouTuber Lu Ran Outdoor broke in the boat in the usual way and then put it up to max speed after the 7 hours of going through all the usual break in steps and achieved a decent speed.

Top Speed for 15HP 2020 Mercury EFI 4-stroke Outboard in a 13-foot V-Boat

20.3MPH was the top speed recorded with the 15HP 2020 Mercury EFI 4-stroke outboard on his 13-foot Duranautic v-boat in clean conditions with 2 adults on board and some fishing gear.

This was done shortly after the break-in and with an almost new engine, so gives a good idea of what to expect for such engines in peak condition on a v-boat of similar size.

Florida Fishing Channel

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