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Tilt and Trim: There is a Difference


If you think it’s enough to just tilt the motors down, accelerate, and leave them in the same position all day, you’re missing out on a better ride and overall performance from your boat. Here’s some information to get you started.

There is a difference between trim and tilt.

Tilt is the range of motion that includes the highest level the engine can go up. This position takes the propeller out of the water and should only be done when the engine is turned off. This is useful at the dock if you want to prevent marine growth from forming on your engine and for additional clearance when trailering. When you are lifting the engine up you will hear a distinct sound difference as it goes from trim to tilt mode and the speed at which the engine moves will increase.

Trim relates to the position of the engine relative to the transom when the propeller is in the water and affects the running angle of the boat. Trimming the engine can vary the amount of the hull that is in contact with the surface of the water.

When you are getting your boat on plane, you’ll want the engine tilted all the way down and trimmed as close to the transom of the boat as possible. This allows the propeller to push the boat and minimize the bow rise while getting on plane. As the boat planes out, the stern of the boat will lift, and you will want to trim the engine up slowly to bring the bow up, and more of the hull out of the water. As you trim the engine up, you’ll actually hear the pitch change as the drag is reduced and the efficiency improves. If you trim the engine up too much your bow will start to slightly bounce or the prop could lose its hold on the water causing it to slip.

If you’re boating in choppy or rough conditions, you’ll want to trim the engine in towards the transom, so that the bow is pushed down. The boat will have more contact with the water, allowing it to cut through the waves. While this reduces your speed, it also produces a smoother ride.

This informative video will help you better understand how to get your boat on plane and improve your fuel economy and handling.

For the best results, take some time to get to know your boat and engine. Start by reviewing your boat model and engine’s performance report to find the optimal RPM range for peak performance. Then take the boat out for testing. Go into protected waters and experience the various settings in calm conditions, then go into a large body of water and experiment with choppy conditions. With a little practice, you can learn the optimum trim settings to operate your boat at the highest efficiency.