how to trim a bass boat

How to Trim a Bass Boat Motor (4 Steps + What You Need)

‘Trimming the motor’ essentially means tilting the propellers up or down into the water, depending on the situation. There are a number of reasons why a bass boat owner might do this, but for the most part, it’s really about optimizing the way you glide over the water.

And while trimming the motor can be an instrumental strategy for optimal boat performance, not a lot of boaters actually know how to do it. And because you’re reading this, we take that to mean you might be one of the many looking to learn. Find out how to trim a bass boat motor safely and properly with this short guide.

Why Should You Trim Your Bass Boat Motor?

Ever struggle to meet choppy waters? Or have you ever felt like your boat could probably go a little faster and smoother, but just didn’t know how? Well, trimming your motor should let you do that. But there are more reasons than just efficiency on the water.

Protecting Your Propeller

When you find yourself in shallow water, jagged rocks at the bottom of the waves could cause damage to your propeller if they get too close for comfort. Trimming the motor up means lifting the propellers slightly out of the depths so as to create a bigger space between your prop and the rocky bed below.

Streamlining Performance in Rough Waters

As you push through choppy water, you’ll notice that your boat might get flooded at the bow as the waves crash against you. Trimming in lowers the outboard motor and therefore lowers the hull into the water. The end result is that this lets you slice through the water for more streamlined performance in rough conditions.

Trimming out means lifting the lower unit out of the water and raising the bow end of the boat. This is best for achieving a smooth ride over a plane, particularly when the water is calm and relatively wave-free.

Economizing Fuel Consumption

Adjusting your trim so that you run more efficiently through the water also means lowering your fuel consumption. A boat owner who knows how and when to trim their motor can expect to spend less on gas since they won’t overwork their engine and motor especially when faced with rough or otherwise difficult water conditions.

What Will You Need?

blinker trim system

If we’re being realistic, you don’t really need to buy anything to trim your motor. The motor itself should have an outboard switch for trimming the motor up or down. But even then, there are a few things you might want to consider to make it easier to control the trim, since it is such a delicate process.

A blinker trim system is called a ‘blinker-style’ trimmer because it installs at the sides of your steering wheel, making it look like a blinker switch on a car. The purpose of the trimmer is to make it easier for you to adjust your boat angle without having to leave your position at the wheel.

We recommend the Dometic SeaStar Protrim Control.

To install one, you’ll need:

There are lots of videos online that talk about installing a blinker style trimmer. The manufacturer might also provide instructions on how to do it yourself. But if you don’t have the time or the patience to do the job on your own, you might be able to hire a private mechanic or pay your local boat shop to do it for you.

How to Trim a Bass Boat Motor

And now we get to the main event - actually learning how to trim a bass boat motor. Remember that you might be able to skip through some of these steps if you have more experience. But if you want to do it the good old fashioned way (guaranteeing both you and your boat’s safety) then following these steps should put you at an advantage.

Trim the Motor All the Way Down

Trimming the boat motor all the way down lets the hull sink down into the water which should help you stabilize your speed as you go. But before you do that, make sure that you’re in deep enough water before you trim all the way into the water. This should prevent you from the propeller from hitting anything.

Once you reach deeper water, you can start to trim your motor down. Remember that during this phase of the process, you probably won’t want to go too fast just yet. The purpose is to achieve a steady plane at a reasonable speed.

Accelerate Your Boat

Now that your motor is trimmed down and you’re in deep enough water, you can start to accelerate. The speed that you’re going to want to aim for will be the speed you desire to travel at while you move through the water. As you accelerate, do not adjust the trim just yet. Wait to reach your desired speed before you even think about touching your blinker style trimmer.

Start Trimming Up

When you’ve reached the right speed, slowly trim your motor up. As you go, you’ll notice that your stern will start to dip deeper into the water as your bow lifts up out of the waves. A good way to know if you’ve trimmed just enough is that the wake at the side of your boat shouldn’t be as prominent.

Then again, you don’t want to trim too much that your bow doesn’t create a wake. Once you get this combination of wake sizes, you can be sure that you’ve trimmed your boat just enough, and you can let go of your blinker trimmer.

When Is It Too Much?

How exactly do you know if you’ve trimmed too much? Well, your motor has an open cooling system that takes the water from around the boat to cool the motor. This shoots a jet of water that comes out of the sides of the motor. If you notice that these jets of water are no longer seen, then that means you’ve trimmed too high.

Mastering the Trim

Learning how to trim a bass boat motor might seem a little confusing at first, but the simple practice can save you from tons of damage and overspending on fuel. Keep these tips in mind the next time you take your bass boat out for a spin and find out how trimming that motor might just change the way you cruise forever.

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