Gas Powered RC Boats

For RC boat enthusiasts seeking the ultimate in speed and performance, gas powered models are the way to go. Gas boats can reach thrilling speeds over 50 mph and run continuously for up to an hour on a single tank of fuel. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about getting started with gas RC boats. You’ll learn the benefits of gas power, how to pick the right boat, operation and maintenance tips, safety advice, and answers to frequently asked questions. Whether you are a beginning RC boater venturing into gas for the first time or a seasoned veteran looking to step up your game, this guide will provide insider details to help you have the most enjoyment with gas powered RC boats.

What are gas powered RC boats?

Gas powered remote control (RC) boats are model boats that use gas engines as their power source, rather than batteries or electricity. The gas engines are usually small 2-stroke nitro methane engines, similar to the ones used in gas powered RC cars or airplanes.

The engine is installed and connected to a propeller shaft that rotates the propeller to propel the boat through the water. The output of these little engines can range from .15 horsepower up to 3 horsepower or more. This gives gas RC boats the ability to reach high speeds and race competitively.

While electric RC boats rely on battery power that eventually needs recharging, gas boats can run continuously as long as they have fuel in the tank. This gives them extended runtimes of 30 minutes to over an hour per tank of fuel. Their range is only limited by the capacity of the fuel tank.

Gas powered RC boats come in many different hull styles, shapes and sizes, from scale replicas of full-size boats to high-performance racing boats. Popular styles include mini offshore powerboats, deep vee hulls, tunnel hulls, hydroplanes, catamarans, and more.

They are challenging to control and require advanced skill to operate, so they are best suited for hobbyists with experience. Gas boats allow for realistic throttle control and high speeds up to over 50 mph that appeal to RC enthusiasts looking for excitement.

Overall, the speed, long runtimes, and performance of gas RC boats make them a thrilling choice over electric models for advanced RC boating hobbyists who enjoy the frenetic fun of high-powered boats.

What are the benefits of gas powered RC boats?

Speed and Power

The biggest benefit of gas RC boats is the raw speed and power output you can get from the gas engines. Small gasoline engines can produce horsepower allowing the boats to reach speeds over 50 mph. This high speed capability makes them ideal for racing and high-performance boating applications.

Extended Runtimes

Another major advantage is the extended runtimes compared to electric RC boats. While electric boats must be recharged after each use, gas boats can run continuously for up to an hour on a single tank of fuel. This allows for longer outings and more time spent actually running the boat.

Reliable Power Delivery

Gas engines provide consistent, reliable power delivery and smooth throttle response. The consistent torque and revving allows for precise control over the boat’s speed. Unlike batteries, the engine’s power output does not fade over the duration of a run.

Realistic Sound and Feel

The sound and feel of a gas motor more closely mimics a real boat. From the motor noise to the engine vibrations and exhaust, gas adds a realistic boating experience. This realistic operation appeals to scale boat modelers.


With gas boats, no time is wasted recharging batteries between uses. As long as you have fuel on hand, you can continue launching for repeated runs. Gas powered models are always ready to hit the water at a moment’s notice for convenience and spontaneity.

High Performance Potential

The combination of speed, power, and run times allows gas boats to be used in high-performance applications like racing and speed trials. Their output gives them performance potential well beyond most electric RC boats.

Overall, gas provides the speed, extended runtimes, and power that make it a top choice for RC boating enthusiasts looking for high-intensity, high-speed thrills.

What features should I look for when buying a gas powered RC boat?

What features should I look for when buying a gas powered RC boat?

Engine Type

One of the most important considerations is the type of gas engine. Small 2-stroke nitro methane engines are the most common. They produce high power levels and high rpm speeds. For longevity, a 4-stroke gas engine may be preferred.

Hull Design

The hull style affects performance and handling. V-hulls provide stability and work well for offshore boats. Catamarans are fast and stable. Deep vee hulls slice through water and are good for racing. Consider water conditions and boating style.


The hull and other components should be durable and impact resistant. Fiberglass, ABS plastic, or marine ply composite are common materials. Metal parts like rudders and prop shafts should be stainless steel or anodized aluminum.

Radio System

A high quality 2.4GHz radio system provides interference-free control at long ranges. Multiple channels allow control of throttle, rudder, and other functions. Waterproof electronics are a must for RC boats.

Speed and Power

The engine size, propeller, and other factors determine speed. Look for the highest speeds for racing or high velocity boating. Scale boats focus more on recreating real life speeds.

Fuel Tank Capacity

A larger fuel tank provides longer run times, up to 45 minutes per tank. But also consider the boat’s weight; large tanks affect performance. Detachable tanks allow for quick refueling.

Easy Maintenance

Look for boats with access panels and removable parts to make inspecting, cleaning, and replacing components simple and straightforward. This will help keep it running smoothly.

Extra Features

Consider convenience features like onboard electric starters for the engine, plug-in fast battery charging, and bundled tools. Beginner boats should include training guides.

With research and comparison, buyers can find gas RC boats well suited for their needs whether speed and racing performance or scale realism. Test runs also give first-hand experience with handling and speed.

How do I maintain and care for a gas powered RC boat?

How do I maintain and care for a gas powered RC boat?

Here are some tips for properly maintaining and caring for a gas powered RC boat:


  • Use fresh fuel and fill the tank after each use to prevent stale fuel issues. Use fuel designed for nitro engines.
  • Prevent dirt or debris from entering the fuel tank. Use a filter when filling up.
  • Inspect fuel lines, the carburetor, and tank for cracks or leaks. Replace any damaged parts.


  • Change the glow plug periodically as they wear out over time. Check the manual for recommended replacement intervals.
  • Clean the carburetor to remove grime buildup affecting engine performance.
  • Check and adjust the engine timing as needed. Improper timing can reduce power.


  • Gas engines need lubricating oil mixed into the fuel at the proper ratios. This prevents engine damage.
  • Use quality synthetic oil made for nitro RC engines. Mix the oil into the fuel thoroughly.
  • Inspect the drive shaft and make sure to lubricate parts like driveshafts.


  • Rinse the boat with fresh water after each use to prevent salt, dirt, and grime buildup.
  • Remove the propeller before rinsing. Lubricate it regularly.
  • Make sure waste water drains out through the bilge area.


  • Empty the fuel tank before storage to prevent stale fuel issues.
  • Store the boat discharged of fuel and dried out indoors in a secure location. Use engine fogging spray.
  • Charge the radio batteries before storage and remove onboard batteries.

Proper engine break-in, keeping the hull clean and smooth, and timely replacement of components like glow plugs will also help maximize the boat’s performance and lifespan. Refer to the user manual for additional maintenance guidance. Proper care will keep a gas RC boat running strong.

What safety precautions should I take with a gas powered RC boat?

Here are some key safety precautions to take when operating gas powered RC boats:

Fuel Safety

  • Refuel only when the engine is cool and turned off. Avoid spills and fuel vapors.
  • Store fuel securely away from ignition sources. Dispose of old fuel properly.
  • Charge batteries away from fuel to prevent explosions. Use lipo safety bags.

Boating Area

  • Choose a safe boating location free of obstacles, wildlife, and foot traffic.
  • Ensure adequate water depth to avoid propeller damage from debris or grounding.
  • Be considerate of other boats and water users when running gas models.


  • Wear shoes and protect eyes from flying debris. Tie back long hair.
  • Use kill switches and retain a spare cutoff switch for emergencies.
  • Have fire extinguishers, first aid kit, and other safety gear on hand.

Engine Handling

  • Avoid contact with hot mufflers and moving propellers. Allow engines to cool before handling.
  • Inspect for fuel leaks, loose parts, prop damage before each use. Perform repairs.
  • Keep hands, tools, and loose clothing away from a running engine.

Weather Conditions

  • Check wind and water conditions before launching. Avoid whitecaps or storms.
  • Be prepared to retrieve boats from the water if winds pick up.
  • Don’t operate gas boats in cold weather; frigid water can crack the engine block.

Having another person present, using common sense, and boating defensively can help make the hobby safer and more enjoyable. Maintain your equipment and stay alert when running gas powered RC boats.

Are gas or electric RC boats better?

Are gas or electric RC boats better?

There are pros and cons to both gas and electric RC boats, so it depends on your boating interests and preferences:

Performance – Gas boats are capable of higher speeds, acceleration, and power output thanks to their combustion engines. Electric boats are slower overall, but modern brushless motors are closing the performance gap.

Convenience – Electric boats just need their batteries recharged, while gas boats require hauling fuel and filling tanks. But gas boats have longer run times between refueling.

Cost – Electric boats have a lower upfront cost, not counting batteries. But replacing spent batteries costs more over time versus fuel for gas models.

Maintenance – Gas boats need more mechanical maintenance like engine tuning, whereas electric boats just require battery care. But gas engines have a longer lifespan.

Noise – Gas powered engines generate loud noise that some consider intrusive. Electric motors run quietly, making them better for residential areas.

Eco-Friendliness – Electric RC boats have zero emissions and better suit eco-conscious hobbyists. Gas exhaust and fuel can pollute waterways.

Skill Level – Electric boats are better for beginner RC boaters, slower and less temperamental. Gas boats require advanced skill to control their speed and power.

In summary, electric RC boats win for convenience, eco-friendliness, and ease of use. Gas powered boats are superior for speed, runtimes, and performance. Consider your priorities – if you seek high intensity racing and speeds over 50 mph, gas is likely the better option. But for casual boating and beginners, electric is ideal.

What FAQs do people have about gas powered RC boats?

Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about gas powered RC boats:

How long does a tank of fuel last?

  • Tank capacity varies, but expect 15-45 minutes of run time per fill up. Smaller, more powerful boats use fuel faster than scale models. Bring extra fuel to extend outings.

How fast can gas RC boats go?

  • High-performance gas boats can exceed 50+ mph, even over 60 mph with modifications. More scale models typically run 10-35 mph for scaled speed.

What maintenance do gas boats require?

  • Gas boats need more maintenance like carb tuning, engine break-in, glow plug changes, lubrication, fuel line inspections, etc. Follow the manual.

Are gas boats hard to control?

  • Gas boats are more challenging than electrics, especially at high speeds. Practice operating in open areas until throttle control and steering are mastered.

Can you run gas boats in any water conditions?

  • Avoid large waves, choppy water or high winds for stable handling. Calm areas like lakes are best for recreational running.

How noisy are the engines?

  • Gas engines can be loud, emitting a high-pitched whine. Sound levels vary by boat, so check specifications. Consider others when running.

What license or training is needed?

  • No special licensing, but gas boats are complex. Operators should be experienced RC hobbyists comfortable with engine maintenance.

Do the boats require a trailer or vehicle transport?

  • Gas boats can be carried by hand or transported in a car to water access points. Trailering is not essential.

Can gas boats be upgraded for higher performance?

  • Yes, parts like tuned pipes, modified motors, air filters, and hardware upgrades can extract more power.

With research and practice, gas RC boating can be an exciting hobby. Understanding the ins and outs will help ensure it’s a fun, rewarding experience.

Enjoyed this guide of gas powered RC boats? Then be sure to check out our other RC Rating guides.