Trimming Your Boat – Go Faster, Save Fuel

trimming your boat

Trimming your boat is miss understood by a lot of boaters - both novice and experienced.

Perhaps many people do not understand what trimming your boat actually means.

Trim is a safety issue. The consequences of a badly trimmed boats can be disastrous. Boats can be swamped and even over-turned as a result of bad trimming.


Trimming your Boat and Safety

This article is aimed at helping you trimming your boat to increase the safety profile while on the water.

Modern boats are built to make trimming your boat easier than it use to be. Most boats have trim switches within easy reach for outboard motors. and stern drives. The further out into open water you venture the more important trimming your boat becomes.

When you encounter heavy swells and larger waves, trimming your boat correctly can make all  the difference to staying in the boat or ending up in the drink.

Trimming your boat is best managed when you understand the principles of trim; which starts at the distribution of weight.

Trim Your Boat Before You Go

Before you get underway, spend a few minutes trimming your boat.

Position the internal weight evenly. This includes ice boxes, fuel tanks, gear and passengers. Particularly heavy items need to be secured to prevent movement. While the boat is stationary, it should be essentially level.

Consider also that weight may change through the journey. Fuel tanks become depleted. Ice boxes are gradually stacked with fish.​ Trimming your boat and keeping your boat trim becomes a task that should occupy your time throughout the day.

Place heavy items mid boat and keep secured. ​

Commonsense should tell that having the bow (the pointy end of the boat) sitting low in the water is not really a good idea. A heavy bow is the consequence of placing all heavy gear in the front.

The front cabin is a great stowage area for obvious reasons - except safety. A heavy bow is a recipe for disaster for a few reason.

Trimming Your Boat - the Problem With a Heavy Bow

A heavy bow will

  • Make the boat slower and difficult to get out of the hole onto the plane;
  • Will have the waves hit the front of the boat when heading into sees;
  • Make the boat difficult to steer;
  • Require more fuel to keep the boat moving forward than necessary;
  • Makes turning either port or starboard difficult, maybe even dangerous.
  • Makes being under tow extremely perilous.

Is it good to have the stern down?