Repowering your boat? Start with these five considerations


Repowering your boat or entire fleet is an important decision, and a decision you will live with for a long time. These repowering decisions could deliver improved financials and customer satisfaction for your business, in addition to enhanced performance and efficiency for your vessel. 

For the best results for your business, consider all aspects of repowering before making your final choice.

To help you with this, we have compiled the five repowering considerations below for you and everyone else in the marine industry. Whether the boat is used for fishing, towing, ferrying or pleasure, these considerations will help narrow down the repowering options that you should consider. 

We also recommend you reach out to your local Cummins Inc. marine expert if you want to discuss these further.   

Identify the goals of re-powering your boat 

The first and most critical step is to clarify what your goals are in repowering your boat. 

Start with the mission of the vessel. A ferry boat or water taxi that carries commuters or tourists may benefit from reduced noise and vibration. Meanwhile, a trawler or seiner that generates revenue through fishing could value performance and durability over weight.

Often, fleet owners and captains look for one or a combination of the following outcomes from repowering. Check these out and determine which of these are your primary goals. 

Considerations while repowering your boat

 Reducing the emission of pollutants:

  • The need to reduce engine emissions is often the key driver for repowering boats. This need could be driven by new emission regulations or emerging customer, owner or governmental demands. 

Improving fuel economy:

  • Offers dual benefits of a reduced environmental footprint and lower cost. Improved fuel economy and a lower total cost of ownership is often a key goal of repower for commercial vessels ranging from tugs to fishing boats. 

Increasing cruise speed:

  • A common repower goal for vessels that generate revenue by shuttling back and forth on a route. These could be passenger ferries, commuter boats, offshore support vessels and beyond. 

Reducing noise and vibration:

  • For boats that have people as their primary source of income, providing a comfortable and quiet ride is key. Operators of water taxis, dinner cruises, tour boats, crew boats and river cruises can turn reduced noise and vibration into quantifiable financial gains. 

Increasing reliability:

  • This is a common repower goal among different types of vessels. For commercial vessels, the financial cost of downtime makes reliability an important consideration during repowers. If a boat is on the hard or in port waiting on parts or a service technician, it is not making money. In addition, minimizing the unplanned nature of downtimes is another goal of repowers, especially during a time when constrained supply chains could result in longer lead times for parts needed.

Better total cost of ownership (TCO):

  • For many commercial vessels, this is a key consideration during a repower. Things that factor into TCO include the upfront price of the engine, fuel economy as mentioned above, midlife service, and parts pricing.

This is a long list, but it is very important to think through the primary goals of your repower early on. Having this clarity will help you make better choices in the upcoming steps of repower process.

Engine emission considerations while repowering your boat

We all want to have less impact on our planet and leave a cleaner environment for our children. 

Reducing engine emissions also has economic benefits for many boats. Customers of a whale watching tour or passenger ferry often wouldn’t mind paying extra for being on a boat with lower environmental impact. Reducing environmental impact is also good for business reputation. 

Let’s look at two of the important emission aspects while repowering your boat: 

1. Compliance with emission regulations:

Most often when your vessel is under EPA regulations, you can repower your boat using an engine that has an equivalent or better emission level with the engine being replaced. Meanwhile, emission compliance often has local aspects depending upon the local regulations you face. You can contact a Cummins Inc. repower expert to discuss the unique requirements for your need. 

2. Geographies your vessel will operate:

Emission requirements for ships often change among different geographies, including different ports. If your ship is operating across geographies with differing emission regulations, then your ship needs to comply with each of them, independent of where it is built. This need to comply with different emission regulations will impact your repower choices.

Selecting mechanical or electronic engines while repowering your boat

Engines with mechanical or electronic controls is a very common decision boat owners face during a repower. This is a frequent choice as many boats that are approaching an overhaul still have mechanical engines. There is a good reason for it; Cummins marine diesel engines have long and productive lives. For example, Seaspan Cavalier got close to 60,000 hours of operation without ever removing a head.

“Boat operators loved the mechanical engines due to simplicity in troubleshooting and ease of working with simple tools like a screwdriver,” says Brian Pinkstaff, Marine Market Leader - Cummins Sales and Service, North America. “Meanwhile, today’s modern electronic engines are more self-sufficient. A combination of sensors and displays make it much easier for the captain or the crew to monitor the engine performance. There is not much to adjust with these electronic engines, giving more time to focus on the operation of the vessel,” adds Brian.

Electronic engines bring a long list of advantages over their mechanical counterparts. Here are three of these advantages: 

Improved power density:

Engines with electronic controls are often smaller than their mechanical counterparts while producing the same or higher power output. This favorably impacts both the space claim and weight of the engine. The smaller displacement also often results in lower fuel consumption for electronic engines. 

Improved torque:

Engines with electronic controls can continuously change the fuel injection rate based on the load. This improves the engine’s ability to respond to changing load demands. This means the boat operator can benefit from the higher torque produced by the electronically controlled engine. 

Reduced noise and vibration:

Electronic engines can also operate at lower speeds than mechanical engines. This is thanks to the ability to control the injection events mentioned above. As a result, electronic engines create less noise and vibration for those onboard. This is especially critical when the ships mission is to carry people. 

Mechanical engines also have their unique use cases. They could be the right solution if you prefer not to make any additional work in your vessel and need to swing a new engine and go.  

Physical fit while repowering your boat

Boats have expertly designed engine rooms with high precision. It becomes the ultimate challenge if your new engine has significant physical differences than the existing engine or if you need to add an aftertreatment. 

“Start with checking the space available for the new engine. Newer engines often produce the same power output using less space. Then determine whether you are replacing any of the other components such as transmissions, air intake systems and beyond,” says Cedric Merveillaud, Director of Cummins Marine Europe. “Then review the weight differences, as this could impact the overall performance and stability of the boat. Finally check for differences in noise generated by the engine and power system. Engines with electronic controls often help on the noise and vibration front,” adds Cedric. 

The need to be within these physical parameters will likely help you eliminate several options. This will make it easier to choose the right repower solution.

Partner with the right company to repower your boat

Repowering a boat is easier said than done. There are lots of parameters covered above to work with while repowering a boat. To ensure repowering goes as smooth as possible, it is critical to partner with the right company. 

By partnering with a company like Cummins, that has a strong marine heritage dating back to the company’s start in 1919, you are signing-up for peace-of-mind. The right partner can help you through vessel surveys, sub-system analysis and decisions around whether to re-use various power system components. 

As you consider different partners and system integrators for repower, also check out four topics mariners should consider while evaluating partners. 

Repowering your boat doesn’t need to be a stressful decision. The considerations outlined above will get you started in your thinking. Meanwhile, your unique situation likely requires more in-depth discussions. The next step is to have a discussion with a partner local to you, with a deeper understanding of your business.

To learn more about marine power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.


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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Hurricane Sally no match for Florida couple and their home standby generator

Family with dog standing next to Cummins home standby generator

Three months. That’s how little time Macy and Sherry Summers had between the installation of their new Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generator and its first major test: the arrival of Hurricane Sally.

The Category-2 hurricane stalled over the Pensacola, Fla. area for nearly 12 hours in September 2020, bringing 110-mph winds, torrential rain and major power outages. While many of their neighbors worried about their home flooding during the storm, the Summers were secure, knowing their Cummins generator would help pull them through.

“I was very concerned that if too much water got near the house, it could come in,” said Macy. “Without power, we couldn’t run our pumps, we couldn’t take the water away from our pool. That was the big fear for me.”

The new Cummins generator came through big time, powering their home and three sump pumps during the storm and running nearly 90 hours with one break for an oil change before power was restored.

Its performance was no surprise for Macy, a former Lockheed Martin engineer. Upon moving permanently into the home in 2019, he used his research acumen to find the best way to power their home through a storm. After 18 months, he decided on a Cummins QuietConnect Home Standby Generator because of the brand reputation, build quality and support.

“The brand was really important to us. We wanted to have a good support system from a large company we knew would be there if we needed it. It turns out that Cummins was the right one for us,” said Macy.

“I would certainly recommend Cummins over the brands that most people have heard of. Cummins is a stronger solution for somebody who wants that reliability.”

For the installation, the Summers contracted with Emergency Standby Power, their local Cummins dealer in nearby Fort Walton Beach, which also services and maintains the generator for them.

Said Raul Perez who oversees generator installations for Emergency Standby Power, “We try to partner with a product we know is going to be reliable that we’re comfortable servicing, that we’re comfortable installing and that we’re comfortable standing behind. That means a lot. We do like working with Cummins, because when we call and we need support, they’re always there.”

According to Sherry, the QuietConnect generator lives up to its name. “It’s amazing that when we hear it come on, we’ll always say, ‘Oh, there’s the generator. The power must be off.’ We just keep going about whatever we’re doing,” she said. 

After the hurricane, the Summers have complete confidence in their Cummins generator. Sherry says she no longer worries about food spoiling, keeping the house cool and keeping the pool pumps running. 

Macy adds, “If a hurricane comes, my peace of mind really is around these systems we’ve put in to protect our home. They’ll now have constant power, enabled by the generator.”

Find the perfect generator for your home by visiting Cummins generator size calculator.

To hear the Summers tell their own story, watch the video of them below.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins launches new twinpack rental power diesel generator

Cummins logo at the entrance of Fridley plant

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) has launched a new 1MW twinpack rental generator, the C1000D6RE, which offers a competitive rental power solution for a diverse range of applications throughout North America. Manufactured by Cummins, a company that has been synonymous with technology, reliability and service since 1919, the new C1000D6RE model will be built in Fridley, Minnesota.

As a twinpack, the C1000D6RE combines two Cummins 15L, 500kW generators into a single, 40ft power unit, complete with aftertreatment. This enables the C1000D6RE to meet Tier 4 final emissions regulation while delivering reliable, high output performance. The generator can be used in parallel with other rental power solutions and is capable of masterless load demand.

The C1000D6RE offers a 1000kW power rating as per ISO 8528 and is powered by 2 x U.S Tier 4 Final certified QSX15 Cummins engines. The QSX15 engine meets the stringent EPA standards without the need of a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which offers ease of serviceability, lower emissions and greater performance.

A new heavy-duty trailer and hitch design ensures even greater reliability for rugged mobile power applications. The generator’s container is capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions, while a full sound attenuation package minimizes the generator’s noise levels. For faster and cleaner oil changes, a ‘Quick Fit’ oil evacuation system option is also provided.

Weighing in at 69,000lbs with fuel, the C1000D6RE comes equipped with a front-end stabilizer and mobile air-ride to reduce the impacts of travel, minimizing potential down time.

The C1000D6RE is suitable for use across a wide range of large-scale industries requiring rental power, including: construction sites, emergency power, large scale events, industrial buildings and utilities located in remote locations or urban areas.

John Gibbons, Rental Power Markets Director at Cummins, said: “We’ve listened to our customers and developed the C1000DR6RE specifically to meet their demands. We also wanted to prioritize the production of a generator that continues to provide reliable power solutions, regardless of climate, location or industry. We believe this product will provide markets with greater reliability, improved performance and increased flexibility.” 

The 1MW twinpack model can be used for a diverse range of industries requiring mobile power; ranging from construction sites, industrial buildings and utilities located in remote locations or urban areas. The remote start and stop contact functionality allows the generator set to be switched on and off upon demand without the need of local maintenance support. As a result, customers can expect more stability, greater uptime and lower labor costs leading to lower total cost of ownership.

To ensure continued performance, Cummins offers customers servicing and maintenance of its mobile power generator range. Cummins aftermarket capabilities are provided through a network of over 200 local sales and service locations across North America; supported by a global system of service technicians, engineers and part distribution centers, experienced in offering mobile power solutions to fit any power requirement.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Euro 7/VII - the missing puzzle piece for improving air quality in Europe

Euro 7/VII - the missing puzzle piece for improving air quality in Europe

The environment is facing an existential crisis and we need to act now by cutting emissions to address poor air quality and stop climate change. Policy makers, industry, academia, and thought leaders must work together to neutralise those threats. The upcoming Euro 7/VII regulation proposal, if ambitious, has the potential to make a significant difference. 

Melina Kennedy, Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at Cummins Inc.
Melina Kennedy, Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at Cummins Inc.

The EU is a trail blazer in climate policy and has set clear ambitions to be climate neutral by 2050, through the ambitious European Green Deal. The Fit for 55 Package has been an excellent set of measures to spur the transition, and the RepowerEU plan will now hopefully function as the catalyst needed to create change even quicker. The piece of the puzzle still missing to speed up the transition is the proposed regulations for Euro 7/VII for cars, vans, and heavy-duty vehicles.

At Cummins, we are committed to reaching zero emissions through our Destination ZeroTM strategy. We fully support a tough, clear, enforceable Euro VII regulation that allows us to compete on a level playing field and provides real benefits to the environment. Our technical experts are confident we can meet ambitious targets, and we hope the regulation proposal reflects those ambitions when published.

The European Green Deal strategy mirrors our own Planet 2050 plan at Cummins, where we hold ambitions for all our facilities, operations and products to become climate neutral by 2050. Cummins is a global technology leader committed to meeting the world’s sustainability challenges. We have been innovating for well over 100 years and have a strong footprint in Europe where we design, manufacture, sell and service a broad portfolio of power solutions for transport and energy applications.

On this path to a zero-emission future, adopting cleaner technologies today, like near-zero natural gas products and nearer-to-zero diesel, prior to widespread commercialization of zero-emission technologies for all markets, can make an immediate, positive impact. The Euro VII regulation and its interaction with the heavy-duty vehicle CO2 regulation, therefore, is critical for cutting emissions and improving air quality at the beginning of this journey to a zero-emission future. That near-term step is critical for the heavy-duty sector which, from an air quality and emissions perspective, is much harder to abate than other sectors due to their typical usage demands and weight.

For industry to innovate, we need a clear roadmap and timetable from policy makers on what regulations are approaching in coming years. As the world’s largest independent engine manufacturer in the heavy-duty space, knowing and understanding the Euro VII regulation in full detail is critical to our business and that of our customers.

The regulation timing determines our product planning, technology development, investment decisions and our path to zero-emissions. Any further delay to the proposed July publication of the Euro VII regulation proposal is very difficult for those in the industry who require time to innovate, develop and launch product. We hope the Euro VII regulation will remain on its latest updated schedule, as there is a high level of complexity and corresponding time needed to deliver a new engine technology platform. Cummins is ready to meet the demands of a stringent regulation, but it would require new base engine hardware, new software, new aftertreatment architectures and components, to name just a few. And we want to be sure the lead time is adequate so that the necessary innovation can take place to benefit the environment, our customers and end users with new and reliable technologies.

There is no silver bullet for the heavy-duty sector on the path to zero-emissions. A suite of different power solutions will be needed to meet Euro VII requirements and reach destination zero goals set out in the European Green Deal. Policy proposals taking a technology neutral approach are critical for innovation and will ensure that the Euro VII proposal will be successful. On our innovation journey for the heavy-duty sector, Cummins has unveiled the industry’s first fuel-agnostic internal combustion engine platform, which can be specified to run optimally on different fuels, including diesel, renewable natural gas, or hydrogen. These technologies can enable our customers and end users to step away from fossil fuels and affordably meet the Euro VII requirements.

Cummins has been investing heavily in zero-emission technologies, spending over $1.07 billion (€1 billion) in research and technology each year. Cummins is now a world leader in battery and hydrogen technology, with much of this work taking place in Europe. Cummins has a fuel cell manufacturing plant in Herten, Germany, providing power solutions for trains and trucks. Cummins is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electrolyzers for green hydrogen production, with facilities in Belgium and a future plant in Spain. And we have a joint venture with NPROXX for manufacturing critical hydrogen tanks for storage and transport in Germany. These are all technologies essential to the creation of a hydrogen economy here in Europe, and to the success of the European Green Deal.

The heavy-duty engine and vehicle industry in Europe has faced more significant challenges over the past three years than in living memory. Brexit, Covid, significant supply chain shortages, and now the crisis in Ukraine. Having a period of regulatory certainty with clear deliverables, whilst meeting the challenge set out in the European Green Deal, will be key to the sector’s success. We ask that the impending Euro VII regulation proposal is timely, clear, ambitious, and technologically neutral in its approach. If so, it would address a missing puzzle piece in turning the corner for the sector, for a more sustainable and prosperous future in Europe.

Melina Kennedy

Melina Kennedy is the Vice President – Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for Cummins Inc. Prior to that she served as the Director of Executive Communications at Cummins Inc. where she developed and implemented high level strategies to meet the key communication needs of our senior leaders. Melina is a former candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis and Counsel at Baker and Daniels. She previously served as Director of Economic Development under former Mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson where she harnessed her talent as a leader and communicator.

Onan SD20 Generator powers mobile business in Richmond, Va.

Multicolored mobile business powered by SD20 Generator

Located in Virginia, The Sweet Xscape, formally known as Envy’s Whadder Ice, started in 2020 when the pandemic began. Owner and sole proprietor Tierra Mclaurin shared: “I’ve always wanted to get into the Italian Ice business, and this was the perfect time to start since we were on lockdown.”  

McLaurin started small with selling Whadder Ice out of her car with coolers. Once the city started to open up, she wanted to legitimize her business and purchase a truck. Now, McLaurin sells an entire line up of treats including her original Whadder Ice. 

“It’s not only about the quality of the product but it’s the unforgettable experience,” States Mclaurin. Sweet Xscape specializes in blending cereal-infused milkshakes, sundaes, Whadder ice, vegan treats and more.

Sweet Xscape’s premier item, “The Main Event”, is the reason Mclaurin purchased the Onan SD20 generator from Cummins. "We needed a generator with power, and big enough to operate our machine that runs at 16,000kw.  Cummins supplied exactly what we needed."

When Mclaurin began to ask around about generators, her ice cream vendor recommended the Onan SD20, sharing that she would need 16,000 watts in order to power her business. After having the opportunity to see the generator in action in a demo truck, she was sold and excited at the opportunity to realize her dream and bring a unique business to her city.

After thinking she would have to pull a string to crank the generator, Mclaurin was surprised about how easy the Onan SD20 was to operate. “The SD20 is very simple to operate. All you have to do is flip the switches on. After that, it prompts you on which buttons to push to get it running,” she explains. “Once connected to the system you no longer have to go outside the vehicle to get it started. It’s just the flip of a switch and the generator is up and running.”

Mclaurin sitting next to Onan SD20 generator placed inside the mobile business

Having the Onan SD20 allows Mclaurin to provide the ultimate soft serve ice cream experience. “The SD20 allows me to produce multiple cones which is the goal to get my customers served.”

Opening this summer, Sweet Xscapes’ season is just warming up. “Having a reliable generator, we’re not going to miss a beat. Imagine having peanut butter and jelly on an ice cream cone? Thanks to Cummins, we have it at The Sweet Xscape. This generator was well put together, easy to use, quiet and top tier.”

If you’re in need of a heavy-duty generator don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself to the Onan SD20.”

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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