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I'm having that same debate Jack- both for safety and for trolling.  Looking at something in 15-20 hp range 4-stroke.  Any good recommendations are welcome.

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I really wasn't considering one until I got stuck deep in Canada last year when big motor died.  That was not a fun day and ever since then I've been thinking more about getting a kicker.

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I was able to limp back into port at 1 mph - took over 4 hours in bad weather on the river.  The issue was the main oil sensor was broken so the engine *thought I was out of oil but I wasn't.  As a safety measure the engine then doesn't allow the RPMs to go high because it could damage the engine with if there really was no oil.  Of course, my big 2-stroke engine doesn't like to go 1 mph for extended periods of time and about a mile out it fouled up with oil and died.  I took the boat in the rest of the way on the trolling motor so I didn't need a tow that day, but I do have BoatUS (probably should have just called them from the beginning and saved myself the time).

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When I had single I/O boats, I was towed twice.  Once a failed coupler, once for a timing chain failure.  Both incidents occurred where commercial towing was available.  That was no problem but very expensive if not insured for that (something to the tune of $200/hour many years ago).  If you have no alternate source of power and need assistance, expect to wait quite some time if depending on the USCG.  They will first broadcast a marine assistance request and wait for a volunteer to assist.  If you are in a port with commercial towing available, you will be referred to that service.  Tow insurance is cheap and I'd recommend that service to anyone boating on the Great Lakes.  Some coverages will even cover the $100 bill you give to "Joe Fisherman" for his trouble to tow you in.  A kicker saves hours on a V8 and provides emergency power, but I think I'd still carry the towing coverage.

 

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You will not be disappointed with a kicker. If you are running the heavier glass boats get at least a 15 or 20 hp. I run a 9.9 on my 2025 tin boat and it will push it 6 mph with no head wind. That could still be a long trip in on a large lake. Just my thoughts.

Have a great day.

JIM  

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I’d put one on. You never know when your engine could fail and how long before help can arrive. 

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Dead before launch, cracked manifold currently breaking out another thousand lol. Ill seemingly never get on the water

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