An old outboard put to pasture in the Bahamas

All the flats skiffs at the Andros South bonefishing lodge in the Bahamas hang Mercury tiller-steered two-strokes off the transom. The reason? “Maintenance,” said lodge owner Andrew Bennett. In remote situations, many four-strokes are too complicated and/or expensive to repair in the field. The basic simplicity of a carburated two-stroke can keep you in the game.

At lower horsepower–the two flats skiffs I spent a day on had 55-hp outboards–the fuel consumption difference is usually not extreme enough to overcome the purchase price and maintenance costs over the length of ownership. The lodge flies in a mechanic from Nassau once a year for overhaul and the staff does the rest on its own.

Four strokes have a lot of positive attributes, but there times when a simple carburated two-stroke wins.