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as “bow steering” when the vee of the bow
digs into the water and makes the boat difficult to control. A boat with its thrust angle
trimmed too far up (drive out) will cause the
stern to squat and the bow to rise, creating
problems with hull pounding and visibility forward. Extremes in either attitude can
cause the boat to swamp.
Here are the steps to properly trim a
1With the engine in neutral, use the trim switch to tilt the drive down as far as it
will go. Monitor the engine trim gauge (if
present) or note the change in sound from
the tilt motor that signals that the engine is
trimmed fully down.
2Put the engine into forward gear and throttle up steadily to cruising speed,
noting the reading on your speedometer,
GPS, or tachometer.
3Using the trim switch, slowly tilt the ngine up. You should feel the boat’s
attitude toward the water change, with a
slight rise of the bow, a lift of the entire boat,
and an increase in speed.
4Continue to tilt the engine up until you note a slight drop in speed from
the GPS or speedometer, a sharp rise in the
engine’s rpm, or until you hear your propeller
begin to cavitate. The boat may also begin to
“porpoise” or pound the water in a rhythmic
pattern when the drive is trimmed too far up.
5Tilt the engine down in small incre- ments until the maximum speed/con-sistent rpm is again reached, and/or no
cavitation is noted. At that point, the boat is
properly trimmed and operating at maximum
From there, you may want to make adjustments to the trim to offer a more comfortable
ride. For example, trimming the bow down
a bit in a chop may decrease pounding from
waves – but may also increase the amount of
spray. Experience and experimenting with the
engine’s trim functions will soon show you
the best attitude for your boat and its load on
a given outing.
Dan Armitage is a licensed Coast Guard Captain,
full-time freelance outdoor writer, and syndicated
radio show host ( buckeyesportsman.net).