Many boats use motors that are more powerful than the engine in the vehicle that towed the boat to the water. There are, however, several boats that can use as little as a 2hp outboard motor for power. These are typically small, inflatable boats and canoe-type vessels that are easily portaged by a single person. Some of the folding survival-style boats are also easily powered by a 2hp outboard motor. Many small sail boats choose to use a 2hp outboard to power through the marina and maneuver in and out of a slip without the aid or dependency of the wind.
One benefit of a 2hp outboard is the relatively small quantity of fuel that is required to operate the motor for a long period of time. In a camping or backpacking situation, this is a welcome fact for most users. By utilizing the 2hp outboard, the operator is usually able to power upstream against the current when required to do so in order to make a link-up with another body of water. Photographers enjoy the small 2hp outboard when mounted on a canoe since it runs very quietly and is able to move at a very slow speed. This allows the vessel to slip in close to wild game, offering close-up shots of game animals within the wild.
For small, inflatable crafts, a large motor may actually cause damage to the vessel. In this application, the 2hp outboard is able to provide adequate power for the vessel while not overpowering the craft to the point of damaging it. Some models of the small outboard incorporate a fitting on the motor's head that is able to connect an air hose to the boat and actually use the motor to aid in the inflation of the boat. Some versions of the 2hp outboard used on backpack boats are air-cooled and allow the propeller to be changed to a pulley in order for the motor to power a generator.
This changeover feature is also used on small sailboats to charge batteries. The batteries are often used to power the vessel's lights as well as communication and weather gear. By running the 2hp outboard to charge the batteries, the range and use of the smaller vessels can be greatly increased. The limited room to store gasoline is aided by the light fuel consumption rate of the small outboard. The motor can also be used to power the boat in the event of low-wind periods.