How to Figure Out What Year My Boat Motor Is

How to Figure Out What Year My Boat Motor Is

Explore America's Campgrounds

Finding the year your outboard motor was built may be as simple as looking at a document. For some motors, the clues are on the motor, waiting for you to decipher using a key word. For at least one, you have to ask the dealer, if you want more than a range of years in which that particular model of motor was produced, because neither the model number or the serial number will provide a clue.

Inspect the registration certificate issued by the state, if you live in a state that requires registration, or on the title, if you live in the states of Utah, Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, Oklahoma or Missouri. The model year or the date of manufacture is plainly displayed on both registration and title. If you own a Honda outboard, this may be one of the only two ways to find the information without contacting the Honda dealer.

Open your motor operator's handbook and look for the information the dealer included about your motor. If you don't have the motor operator's manual that came with your motor when it was new, you must use another method.

Go to the motor and look on the motor's swivel bracket for an embossed, metalized tag or plate that has the name of the motor's manufacturer boldly stamped at its top. This manufacturer's tag also shows the year the motor was built, or the model year on all motors except Honda.

Lift the top cowling from the motor. Some popular brands of outboards have this information engraved on the top, center of the engine block and others may have it on a tag, usually found on the right side of the engine block.

Read the model number, if you have an Evinrude or Johnson outboard. The last two letters of the model number are taken from the 10-letter word "introduces." Each letter corresponds to a number -- the first letter is "1," the second, "2," the third "3," until the letter "E," which equals 9. The final letter of the word, "S," which stands for "0," and the numbers are the last two numbers of the motor's year built. Thus a model number XXX-XX-XXX-XYX-X SE was built in 2009, since "S" is "0" and "E" is "9."


  • If none of these methods is available to you, your best option is to ask the nearest dealer selling the brand of outboard motor you own. While several outboard-parts websites have a "lookup capability," their primary purpose is to sell parts, not hand out information.
Gone Outdoors