How much horse power can my boat handle?
Well, it depends.
Back in the day, the Outboard Boating Club of America (OBC) developed a simple method to determine how much horsepower a boat can handle. Manufacturers had their own ideas of course.
Some boats may be able to handle more horsepower than OBC-certified or manufacturer's rating. Other boats may not. Above your maximum rating, a gain in top speed may be negated by poor high-speed handling. A heavier motor on the transom might also cause trim problems. Structural problems may become exacerbated. A hook in the hull or weak transom might become outright dangerous at high speeds.
To aid in your selection of an outboard motor, please examine the following chart and table developed by OBC to help boat owners safely equip their outboard boats.