We have both a Tohatsu 3.5 and an 18 for our 3.1 RIB
, because there are times when each engine is best, and we want a backup if one won't run. We use the 3.5 more than 90% of the time, due to its lighter weight--not only putting the engine on the dink, but pulling the dink up on the beach (not all cruising places have dinghy docks). Thats why we bought an aluminum
RIB which weighs about 50 pounds less than the fiberglass
The local fishing
boats are too heavy to push around with 3hp engines, so the 3.5 is much less likely to be stolen. It also uses less than half the fuel
that the bigger engine does.
OTOH, the bigger engine is great for exploring and diving
and when the wind
is over 25k...its probably also better for surf, as its much easier to land with a planing dinghy which can follow a breaking wave in, and you might be able to power out before the next breaker.
Neither engine gets pampered with fresh water
rinses, and the Tohatsu's have been very reliable, with parts
readily available in most places (except the east coast
We have found that outboards are considerably cheaper to buy outside the US, and the 2-strokes are still widely available in the rest of the world. You can probably buy a 15hp AND a 3.5 for what a 15 costs in the US.