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Measure in the center of the boat, from the top of the transom to the bottom of the keel. Short shaft 15-17", long shaft 18-20".
 

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You should be able to buy a pretty good motor for that price, in that range. Check Craigslist. Just make sure that they start the motor for you, and make sure, above all, that they put water to it or start it in a bucket of water. I've known people to start a motor without putting water to it. Any boater can tell you that you'll blow an impeller, a water pump, and even the motor itself in just moments. Whether they blow it or not, what it tells me is that they probably didn't take good care of that motor. That, the shape that the prop is in, whether or not the hoses are cracked, etc...Just look it over well and make a good choice. I use a 1979 mercury that I bought a few years ago. It makes too much noise, but I baby that motor constantly, and it still runs like a charm. A lot of people will buy motors this year that will be seeing the shop before mine needs to again(or so I hope). Good luck.
 
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