By: Aaron Justi

If an accessory existed that guaranteed that a boat would run drier, safer and with improved fuel efficiency, most boaters would jump all over it. One product can do exactly that. This is not some hot new item. It's not a miracle gadget still being tested or some kind of magic carpet, quite the opposite in fact. Trim tabs are an integral part of virtually every power boaters' must-have equipment list.

Anyone who has spent time at the helm knows about changing conditions. Rough seas, wakes from large vessels and even the size and weight of a boat's motor can dramatically affect the way it handles. Many boaters have taken guests out for a day on the water and ended up spending the entire time shuMing passengers around to avoid uncomfortable list. Trim tabs are specifically designed to make this and similar issues easier to deal with.

A pair of trim tabs extends the portion of the boat's hull that comes in contact with the water, creating additional lift in the back of the boat. By engaging the tabs, the bow is pushed down from the force of the water being deflected off the trim tab planes. This helps attain a more horizontal running position, which improves steering ability, visibility off the bow and overall top end speed.

Installing trim tabs will not only improve time on the water, but will also save boaters time and money at the fuel dock. As the hull moves through the water, the drag it creates affects how smoothly the boat runs and is a determining factor of how much fuel the engine burns. Heavier stern loads or porpoising increases the amount of drag. This increase forces the boat operator to use more throttle to get up on plane and stay there. In extreme cases, the boat may have so much weight in the stern that it doesn't achieve proper plane at all, which causes the motor to run at higher rpm's for longer periods of time, therefore consuming more fuel.

Through the use of trim tabs, the operator gains the ability to utilize a much smaller surface area, the trim tab planes, to decrease the overall amount of drag. Engaging the trim tabs also improves the hole shot and control over the angle of the boat. This reduces the overall amount of draft while operating at cruising speed. Thanks to the force acquired through deflection of water from the trim tabs, a level running position is obtained and less fuel is consumed to achieve optimal performance. The end result-greater fuel efficiency and a safer boat that is more comfortable and easier to operate.

Contact Lenco Marine Inc., 4700 SE Municipal Ct, Stuart, FL 34997. Phone: 772-288- 2662; Fax: 772-288-2566.;

(Editors Note- Aaron Justi is a sales representative for Lenco Marine. He has vast experience in the marine industry and a passion for fishing. Portions of this article were originally printed in the May/June 2005 issue of South Florida Sport Fishing Magazine.)

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