Boats & Motors

The boats you will see at an SSOA event are between 10’ and 12’ long and divided into two categories of hull design; Hydroplanes and Runabouts. Both are powered by stock outboard motors from the Junior Class at 10 HP and about 40 MPH to the D Stock Hydroplane class of about 40 HP and 70+ MPH.


Many people are familiar with the term “hydroplane” from seeing the famous Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane on TV or in commercials. While the basic design is the same we race a scaled down outboard powered version. They are virtually an aerodynamic wing which floats just off the water surface. This requires precise balance and quick reflexes from the driver.



The Runabout category has the same engine classes as the Hydroplanes but the boat design differs because it has a completely flat bottom. Driving these boats takes a different set of skills from driving a hydroplane boat. Their speeds are slightly less than the hydroplane but that does not make for any decrease in their excitement.



Because the motors are basically just like their fishing boat cousins, they are not overly loud but have just the right sound to get everyone on shore revved up. The greater speed that these drivers obtain is due to their lightweight boats and special racing propellers. The trick of racing these boats is not just how fast they go, but how the driver has to maneuver them through the corners with other boats all around and mastering the flying clock start.


For more information regarding youth racing classes go to
For more information about adult racing classes please go to

Intro to Hydroplanes

Intro to Runabouts

We would like to thank our racing friends from the Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association for the use of these videos.