The workboat world is embracing outboard engines today more than it has in the past. More patrol boats, support vessels, special military crew carriers, and other boats that used to rely on small to midsized inboard diesels are moving to outboards.

Safety and convenience are the major reasons for the shift. If an engine has to be changed out, for example, it’s much easier to replace an outboard than an inboard engine. Or if an engine fails in hostile waters, there is more than one outboard engine to bring the boat out. It’s unlikely that multiple outboards across a boat’s stern will all fail at the same time.

Consequently, outboard manufacturers are anxious to show boat owners what their outboards have to offer the workboat industry. U.K.-based Cox Powertrain, for example, is scheduled to launch its new diesel powered CXO300 outboard before the end of the year.

David LeBlanc, director of sales and product development with U.S. Cox dealer Innovative Diesel Technology in Houma, La., will be presenting at this year’s International WorkBoat Show conference program in New Orleans in December. He will take part in the session, “Diesel Outboards — More Power & Lower Maintenance Cost,” as part of the Maintenance & Repair conference program track on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. (Click here to see the full WorkBoat Annual Conference lineup. And use code Workboat to receive 20% off of the WorkBoat Annual Conference Pass.)

WorkBoat caught up with LeBlanc ahead of the show to get some insight into the what sets the new CXO300 apart from other outboards.

WorkBoat: What do you see as the reasons that outboards are becoming increasingly popular in the workboat industry?

LeBlanc: The biggest rise in outboards is the convenience of access to the engine, should anything go wrong, meaning less downtime and disruption to operations. The CXO300 offers the same fuel saving benefits of an inboard engine so the economic advantages are not compromised. Also, with space on boats being more restrictive, having large inboard engines isn’t always convenient. There is also an increased interest in diesel outboards because diesel is more widely available. It is also safer to use and allows the mother craft the convenience of carrying a single fuel.

WB: What sets the CXO300 apart from other outboard engines — gas or diesel — currently on the market?

LeBlanc: The CXO300 is the world’s first 300-hp diesel outboard. With over $100 million invested into the development of the outboard, the CXO300 has been designed and built completely from a blank piece of paper, specifically for marine application. Users will see a 100% torque increased and a 25% better fuel economy, compared to a gas equivalent.

WB: What types of workboats would benefit from using the CXO300s as opposed to an inboard diesel? 

LeBlanc: Inland survey boats, charter companies, crewboats, oil response boats, patrol boats, rescue boats, etc. Basically, any vessel or company/individual that is running gasoline engines will greatly benefit by changing over to the COX engine with maintenance/fuel savings. The CXO300 has the performance of an inboard engine, with the convenience of an outboard. Cox has worked tirelessly to build a global network of dealers to offer the very best after sales support. If something goes wrong with your outboard, we endeavor to get operators back up and running with minimal downtime.

WB: What will owners and operators gain from the CXO300 in terms of maintenance and repair?

LeBlanc: The CXO300 requires less maintenance than a petrol equivalent, with the main service overhaul set at 1,000 hours. Should repairs be required, Cox has a network of 40 distributors and over 200 dealers globally to provide support.

WB: When will the CXO300 be available to the workboat market?

David LeBlanc: Full production of the CXO300 is planned to begin in November 2019. Orders are already being taken for delivery in 2020.



Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.