Those new to boating are often unfamiliar with the “trim.” While it simply describes the angle of the bow while the boat is under power, setting the proper trim given travel conditions can significantly increase your vessel’s efficiency, speed and comfort.
Novice operators of small and mid-sized outboard powered boats often look back toward the engine(s) when setting the trim since it is, indeed, the angle of the outboard motor or sterndrive gear case and propellers that moves in response to a trim toggle switch located either on the throttle or the dashboard. While the engine angle does change, the effect is truly measured by the bow either rising or falling at speed. A properly trimmed boat neither pushes a ton of water or porpoises by bounding off waves. Instead, it runs smoothly, with firm control on reasonable turns, and leaves a tight wake in its path.
To adjust a boat’s trim, begin with your vessel on plane and the engine shaft parallel to the water surface. This is referred to as a neutral trim position. From this point, pressing the UP button on the trim control will raise your bow. Pressing the DOWN button will lower your bow. Adjust your vessel as necessary for the smoothest ride possible using slight increments. You’ve hit the sweet spot when the engine runs smoothly and as quietly as possible. If you have a gas efficiency display on the dashboard, you should be able to confirm improvement immediately.