Guide To Trim Tabs
How Will Trim Tabs Affect My Kind of Boat?
Small vs. Big
While in the past, trim tabs were most often found on cabin cruisers and sport-fishers over 25 feet, today they have become common equipment on boats 17-25 feet. You see trim tabs on everything from bass boats to bow riders, ski boats to center consoles.
Many still believe that trim tabs are less important on smaller boats, but in fact the opposite is true. Trim tabs improve the ride of even the largest planing hulls, but on a smaller boat you will notice the difference much more. For instance, bigger boats are much less affected by weight distribution than smaller boats.
After decades of use on the water, it’s been proven that all boats, large and small, benefit from trim tabs for the same reasons – they improve planing and fuel efficiency, they correct for uneven weight distribution, and they improve speed, safety and overall boat performance.
These boats are designed for skinny water (shallow) and speed. Therefore the hull is often flat which means that any chop on the water creates a very bumpy ride. Fishermen use tabs to bring the bow down and smooth the ride out. They also need to get up on plane quickly without digging into the bottom. They put their tabs down and literally pop up on plane.
Ocean Going, Cuddy Cabin and Center Console
They use trim tabs to smooth out rough rides (and go faster than they could ordinarily). Having a deeper V, they are more susceptible to listing. Tabs obviously come in handy here.
Standard tabs on the family runabout allow the boat to pull heavier or multiple skiers, and slow down for the smaller kids without going bow-high. Safety is a real advantage with tabs here. You can use your tabs to improve visibility and avoid running over something you didn’t see.
The bigger ones all come with tabs, but a few of the smaller day cruisers may not. Since these boats are heavy for their size, they all should have tabs. Otherwise they plow and struggle to get up on and stay on plane.