Pods vs. Straight Shaft: Advantages and Disadvantages

Pods vs. Straight Shaft: Advantages and Disadvantages

When it comes to Pods vs. Straight Shaft, there are benefits and drawbacks. There’s not question that over the past 5 years, Pods have grown in popularity as well as the number of boat manufactures adopting Pod technology. As a boat buyer, you may be on the fence deciding whether to go with the traditional straight shaft or Pods. We have compiled a list of pro’s and con’s that could help you make a more informed decision.


Maneuverability – the Pod concept uses joystick technology to control and maneuver the boat, the Pods are located in a similar location as a conventional propeller system and are able to rotate at approx 270 degree’s making it much easier to maneuver forward or backwards, left or right or any diagonal direction. After just a few short minutes of practice with the joystick, even your average Joe Captain can park the boat in the slip with relative ease.

Cost efficient – in many cases due to the advanced technology associated with the Pod concept, boat owners find that it is not as necessary to hire a full time captain to run the boat, this can help reduce or eliminate the more upfront costs that pods impose.

Fuel Efficiency – the Pods drives have increased fuel efficiency by as much as 15- 25% compared to the standard straight shaft technology.

Size advantage – the Pods are significantly smaller than traditional diesel engines therefore enabling most boats to gain an extra sleeping berth or additional cabin space. We see this especially in boats ranging from 30 – 40 feet long where there is naturally not as much cabin space.


Cost – as a whole, the Pod system is between 10-15% more expensive up front than your traditional straight shaft technology.
In custom built boats it will cost more as well due the necessary reconfiguration of the engine room and layout of the boat. With Pods, they will have to redesign the layout and displacement of the hull taking into consideration the weight and extra room that pods require.

Speed – contrary to popular belief with Pods you will loose speed as compared to traditional straight shaft technology.

Repair Cost – Pods are designed with the outdrive portion underwater rather than the conventional shaft, struts, and rudders system. This allows more opportunity for the outdrive to be damaged which is very expensive to repair, as well as the fact that there are not as many people in the industry currently that can service the Pods system.

Overall, the big advantage in going with Pods is that it allows the weekend boater to comfortably be able to take their boat out, without fear of tearing up there boat during the docking process and also prevents them from having to hire a full or part time captain.The joystick technology makes it much easier and safer to maneuver the boat for your more inexperienced captains.

For further information, please contact Off the Hook Yachts.

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