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##The commission plate or decal found on most engines will indicate maximum horsepower output at a given rpm.

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##In most cases, engine manufacturers provide horsepower output figures based on test engines, which do not include belt-driven accessories such as alternators and water pumps.

to the higher end of that range. Therefore, the difference between BHP and SHP is typically small, though losses imparted by add on equipment and running gear can be significant. For instance, when belt and friction losses are taken into account, it’s not unusual for a high output alternator to absorb, at full output, as much as 10 hp. If it’s doing so while the engine is idling, then it’s worth considering that you may not have enough power for maneuvering or hydraulic thruster operation. A hydraulic power take off (PTO) can draw significantly more, enough to stop an engine cold if the gear is engaged while an engine is idling. This is why some vessels rely on smaller “pony” engines for hydraulic PTO use while at idle, or a PTO on each engine in twin screw installations. In short, the unit or method of measurement of horsepower for a marine engine is less significant than the importance of comparing like measurements and units. If you are comparing engines or completed vessel’s engine, make certain you are also comparing BHP to BHP or kW to kW, etc., and take into account add-on accessories such as alternators and hydraulic systems. Next month we’ll conclude this two-part series with an explanation of torque and how it’s applied to marine applications.

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800-213-9438 800-213-9438 32 September 2015

About the Author: Former boatyard manager, technical writer, and lecturer, Steve D’Antonio, consults for boat owners and buyers, boat builders, and others in the industry. Visit for his weekly technical columns.

PropTalk Magazine September 2015  
PropTalk Magazine September 2015  

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