An outboard motor is a propulsion system for boats, consisting of a self-contained unit that includes engine, gearbox and propeller or jet drive, designed to be affixed to the outside of the transom and are the most common motorized method of propelling small watercraft. As well as providing propulsion, outboards provide steering control, as they are designed to pivot over their mountings and thus control the direction of thrust. The skeg also acts as a rudder when the engine is not running. Compared to inboard motors, outboard motors can be easily removed for storage or repairs.
When boats are out of service or being drawn through shallow waters, outboard motors can be tilted up (tilt forward over the transom mounts) to elevate the propeller and lower unit out of the water to avoid accumulation of seaweed, underwater hazards such as rocks, and to clear road hazards while trailering.