Since first appearing in the United States in 1967, Honda Marine outboards have been a reliable competitor to American makes such as Johnson and Mercury. Honda outboards follow a consistent model number system, making them easily identifiable.
Honda outboards will have the Honda name located on the engine cover. These decals are designed to last and rarely wear off, even with heavy usage. Horsepower designations will either be on the rear of the engine cover, the side or both. Honda's trademark "Mercury foot" logo will also be present. All Honda outboards follow this basic pattern.
The model number on Honda outboards is stamped on the left mounting bracket. The number will be a combination of letters and numbers, 9 to 11 digits long. An alternate frame number is found on the side of the engine shaft housing near the boat transom.
All Honda model numbers begin with "BF," which represents Honda, followed by the one to three digit horsepower designation. The year of manufacture is next, represented either by two letters, or a letter and a number. The shaft length, steering system, tilt and trim and "A" for American designations follow next. Year designations can be decoded as: "DX" for 1999, "DY" for 2000, "A1" for 2001 and so on, depending on which hp motor it is. Models from two to 20hp will begin with "D" and 25hp and up begin with "A." For decoding specifics, see Marine Engine in References.