January 05, 2022 / by Danny Mavis

Is there anything more calming than going on a nice little boat ride? You’re surrounded by the water, with no disturbances in sight. Serenity at its finest. Plus, if you take into consideration how stressful situations and busy schedules are difficult to avoid these days, you’re immediately able to appreciate this small part of paradise. It helps get your mind off things.

In any case, whether you want to try your luck with fishing or you just want to bask in the sun and get some fresh air, going out on a boating adventure has its perks. But it also has its challenges. Perhaps one of the biggest issues you’ll be dealing with is to check that everything is running smoothly to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Sure enough, you’ll be piling up on life jackets, floaters and all sorts of safety equipment all while forgetting the most important tool which is the boat itself. Or rather, one piece of equipment in particular – properly-sized boat trim tabs for better hull control.

How Do Trim Tabs Work?

Essentially, they’re two independent metal plates that can be adjusted through a panel at the helm. This, in turn, allows you to control the angle of your boat and avoid capsizing. You can trim both the hull and the prop independently, which means you can make lateral adjustments without tipping sideways. If you’ve ever sailed before, you know how unpredictable the current and waves tend to be. So there’s certainly a real chance that they might turn you over if you’re not careful.

But see, the likelihood of that happening is much lower when you invest in getting practical trim tabs. When you do this, there’s a significant improvement in the overall performance of your vehicle since it’s much easier to control, accelerates faster and it’s a lot safer for everyone involved.

Where Should You Place Your Trim Tabs?

Source: thefisherman.com

Since these flaps are supposed to balance the hull, these plates are usually attached to either side of the transom, which is located at the back of the boat, near the engine. The angle of inclination can be adjusted according to your needs and preferences.

Once you’ve got them in place, you’ll be able to control excessive bow rise on either side by deploying your tabs down to flatten the angle. This gives you the freedom to enjoy the boat ride without focusing on whether you need to tilt your engine or not every time you catch a glimpse of incoming waves. Instead, your boat trim tabs will do all the work for you.

Even if you do feel like your boat is starting to lean on one side more than necessary, you’re able to adjust each plate separately to provide compensation for any shifts in sea conditions. Luckily, you won’t have to make any adjustments to your original route or change the weight distribution on board.

Key Considerations when Buying Trim Tabs

Since we’re all familiar with the trim tab basics, it’s time to splash our way into figuring out which models are appropriate for you. Two key features should help you narrow down your choices, so without further ado, let’s dive in.

Type of Operating System

The main difference here lies in how the system is powered. This results in two main types – hydraulic and electric trim tabs. The former uses a hydraulic power unit or pump that must be installed within the boat itself. In this way, you’ll be connecting the trim plates and control panel for trouble-free operation.

On the other hand, electric trim tabs use an electric motor and gear unit to keep things going. Even though they’re much easier to install than their hydraulic counterparts, they’re sadly less durable and won’t last that long in comparison. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple, it’s rarely a good idea to put electric devices underwater since they might malfunction or break down. While manufacturers have indeed taken all the necessary steps to prevent this from happening, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, especially if you’re going into open water with no immediate help nearby.

Control Options

These go hand in hand with the kind of operating system you decide to install. In most cases, controllers designed for hydraulic trim tabs won’t be compatible with electric systems and vice versa. In other words, you need to be extremely careful when it comes to finding the appropriate controller because otherwise, it won’t be of any use to you at all.

The most basic models have quite a user-friendly interface, with two separate switches for each trim plate. But if you want to step it up a notch, you should check out the more expensive models which offer extra features such as auto-tab retraction (ATR) and position indicators. If you’re an experienced sailor, you of all people should know how crucial it is to be aware of the placement of your tabs at all times. Position indicators are quite precise which makes them an effective way of determining their location.

Tips for Using Trim Tabs on Your Boat

Source: boatus.com

Before we sail off into the unknown, we’ll be giving you a few final tips on how to manage your nautical equipment to get the best results.

Start the Engine with a Trim Down

Whenever you’re taking off from the dock, you should have your engine and bow trimmed down. In this way, the boat will be able to accelerate much more efficiently and make its way onto the plane. Once you’re there, you can adjust the trim according to your position.

Check Your Trims Regularly

Proper maintenance is the key to keeping all parts of the boat running as they should be and trim tabs are no exception. For this reason, you should always be on the lookout for potential performance issues before you set off. If you don’t act on clear signs of damage, it can be very dangerous to sail with such malfunctions.