Outboard Model Year FAQs

Why did Mercury eliminate model year designations for its outboard engines?

Eliminating the "model year" designation results in a host of benefits for consumers of our products and for the dealers who represent Mercury Marine.

In the past, Mercury waited for the model year changeover date before introducing new products and enhancements to existing models. But because the market continues to evolve, making new products and improvements available in "real time" is absolutely necessary. A major benefit of this initiative is that the very latest products are always available, often much sooner than in the past.

In addition, because our boat builder and dealer customers can more effectively manage their inventory levels, they generally will not have to deplete prior-year inventory before receiving the newest products. This also helps ensure consumers always have the latest models.

Finally, this is consistent with current trends within the marine industry. Mercury's MerCruiser sterndrive engines and MotorGuide electric trolling motors have not had model years for some time, and two other major outboard manufacturers have also eliminated model year designations.

How can I be assured I have the most up-to-date model?

Mercury uses a code to identify each outboard model it produces. In the past, the second-to-last character in the code was used to identify model year. Because Mercury had a model year, that character within the code was automatically updated every 12 months. For example, a 1-225V23DD model code referred to a Mercury 225XL Verado and the "D" in the second-to-last position represented the 2005 model year.

Going forward, that same second-to-last character will now be used to identify the "production era" of a given model. Further, by eliminating model year, Mercury will no longer arbitrarily update the model code every 12 months. Instead that will take place only when a significant product change occurs, such as a new model introduction where the newest variation replaces a prior version.

With this system, any models sharing the same code are physically identical, regardless of when they were built. Your Mercury dealer can help you identify the model code(s) on the engine(s) you are interested in and ensure you are getting the very latest product. This is also of particular importance if you are re-powering a boat with twin, triple, or quad engines.

How can I make sure I get the most current product to re-power my boat?

Outboards purchased individually (not part of a boat package) are normally pulled directly from your dealer's inventory. Dealers typically order a specific quantity of products up front in anticipation of selling them over the next several months. This helps to ensure they always have an ample supply of engines to fulfill your requirements quickly. That means you won't have to miss valuable fishing and boating time waiting for an order to ship from the factory. While these outboards are normally as current as the product shipped directly to boat builders, it is possible they were built 12-18 months prior to delivery. Your Mercury dealer can help you confirm you have the latest version by verifying the model code.

How can I determine when my outboard was built?

Every Mercury outboard has a serial number label located on the transom bracket area of the engine. The latest serial number labels display a 2-digit number in a box at the lower right portion of the label. These digits coincide with the last two digits of the year in which the outboard was manufactured. For example, if an outboard was manufactured in 2010, the number "10" would appear in the box at the lower right portion of the label.

How does model year elimination affect the resale value of my outboard?

Organizations such as NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) typically establish values for boat packages based on the model year of the boat itself. From a propulsion standpoint, they place emphasis more on the horsepower of the engine than the date it was built. This is common practice in many applications, including sterndrive boat packages and automobiles, because the engine is merely a part of the entire package. From this perspective, eliminating model year will not affect resale value.

What has changed on the Mercury Outboard Engine Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO)?

For Mercury outboard engines invoiced to U.S. outboard customers as of June 30 2008, a field called "Program Year" will be added to the MSO form.

What does "Program Year" mean?

"Program Year" uses the "Invoice Date" on the outboard engine MSO to reflect the current "Year" of Mercury Outboard engine pricing and programs.


  • Invoice Date of July 2008 through June 2009 = 2009 Outboard Engine Program Year
  • Invoice Date of July 2009 through June 2010 = 2010 Outboard Engine Program Year

Why is "Program Year" now included on the Mercury Outboard Engine MSO?

When completing the boat/engine registration and/or title paperwork, many states require the engine "Model Year" of the outboard engine. Since Mercury no longer has engine "Model Year," engine "Program Year" was created to provide customers an alternative.

I live in a state that requires me to title and register my outboard engine. Will the agency in my state accept engine “Program Year” in place of engine “Model Year” on my title and registration paperwork?

With the exception of South Carolina, all states that require the outboard engine to be both titled and registered (Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah) allow the use of the engine “Program Year” in place of engine “Model Year” on titling/registration paperwork. When titling an outboard engine in South Carolina, the “Manufacture Date” from the outboard engine MSO should be used.