Whether you’re a tournament bass pro, weekend warrior or an offshore fishing enthusiast, you always want your boat to perform at its absolute best. The same holds true for family pleasure boaters who find their on-the-water thrills racing across the lake or pulling skiers, tubes and wakeboards.
Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to make sure your rig runs strong and fast, while squeezing the most range out of every gallon of gas. And remember, there is more to performance than just acceleration and top-end speed. Easy starting in cold conditions, smooth, even idling and trouble-free trolling are just as important to a great day on the water.
Here are some helpful tips to optimize your boat’s performance:
Keep Your Bottom Smooth Anything that interferes with the flow of water over the hull bottom can negatively effect acceleration, top-speed and fuel efficiency. If your boat is stored in a slip, make sure to regularly have your hull bottom and running gear professionally cleaned, and apply a fresh coat of bottom paint (which impedes marine growth) every two years, at least. If your boat has a thru-hull transducer, consider installing a modern in-hull flush mount that sits flush with the hull surface. Even boats on trailers can see performance benefits when you fill and sand smooth any cracks or gouges in the boat’s gelcoat surface.
Get Properly Propped A bent or damaged prop will greatly reduce boat performance. In addition, having the ideal propeller size, type and style for your boat can make a huge difference in both acceleration and overall performance. Engine manufacturers will usually provide recommendations as to which size (diameter), pitch and number of blades might perform best. Pitch — sized in inches and indicating how far the boat is propelled forward with each revolution — is especially important. A low-pitched (or “short”) prop is like low gear on a car. It will provide fast acceleration or “hole shot,” but may cause the engine to over-rev before reaching optimal speed. A high-pitched prop can deliver top speed, but a prop that is “too tall” can result in a boat that has a hard time getting up on plane. It can also make it hard for the boat’s engine to reach it optimal operating range. The ideal prop for each boat is one that provides strong acceleration while allowing the engine to reach the recommended maximum RPM range at wide-open throttle.
Properly Trim Your Boat The performance of any boat — particularly high-powered outboard rigs — can be greatly affected by adjusting the trim. Trim is essentially the running attitude of the hull. A boat that is “trimmed down” too much will ride with the bow low in the water, decreasing speed and efficiency. Think of it like driving a car uphill all the time. A boat that is “trimmed up” too much will tend to get airborne, pound over the waves or “porpoise” when running at a consistent speed. Operators can fine-tune a boat’s trim by adjusting the tilt/trim mechanism on the outboard motor or outdrive to a position where the boat rides smoothly and level. Simply by adjusting engine trim, you can see the boat pick up RPMs and speed without touching the throttle. Boats with hydraulic or electric trim tabs can make much finer adjustments to the overall trim angle and even adjust each side of the boat individually to accommodate weight balance. A well-trimmed boat will be running level (not listing to either side) and should fall within maximum operating RPM when running at full throttle.
Keep The Engine Clean A clean engine is a strong running, smooth and efficient engine. But how do you keep your boat’s engine clean and protected against corrosion in the harsh marine environment? New Techron® Marine Protection Plus Fuel Treatment restores power and performance and optimizes fuel efficiency by cleaning fuel injectors, throttle bodies, carburetors and combustion chambers. This exclusive formula, designed to clean up gasoline engines and keep them clean with every fill-up, removes intake valve deposits in port fuel injected engines for smoother idling and enhanced throttle response. Techron’s proven cleaning power also helps minimize cold starting problems while removing gum and varnish in the fuel system. If your boat has to sit for any amount of time, you also have the confidence of knowing that Techron Marine stabilizes fuel up to 24 months.
These are just some of the ways fishing and boating enthusiasts can get the most performance, efficiency and fun out of their vessels. To learn more about optimizing boat performance with the cleaning power of Techron, visit www.TechronClean.com