Save Fuel & Optimize with Trim Tabs
Trim Tabs aren’t a new product to the boating world, but the introduction of intuitive new technologies and advanced features makes the installation of a modern Trim Tab System even more beneficial to a wide variety of vessels. Properly matched and installed Trim Tabs can provide a more comfortable, dryer ride in changing sea conditions, enhance vessel performance and even increase fuel efficiency. To fully appreciate the many benefits of Trim Tabs, it helps to first have a basic understanding of how they work.
What are trim tabs and what do they do?
Trim Tabs are moveable metal tabs of various sizes that extend beyond the edge of the hull bottom at the transom. Adjusting their position up or down can help to level the boat in changing sea conditions and loads and “fine-tune” the ride, resulting in improved control of the vessel for the skipper and a more comfortable experience for everyone onboard.
A quality Trim Tab system will also enhance overall boat performance and increase fuel efficiency. It does this by helping the operator achieve the vessel’s optimum running angle — the specific configuration where ride and engine performance are optiimsed. Since it is a dynamic system that can be adjusted “on the fly” for changing conditions — changes in weight load and distribution, wind/wave angle, running up or down swell, etc. — Trim Tabs can keep a boat performing at peak efficiency in any situation.
Here are some additional key benefits to Trim Tab use:
- Get out of the hole and onto plane faster. A boat that gets on plane quickly is more efficient and more effective for water sports, shallow water fishing and other activities.
- Stop boats from “porpoising.” The bow of a poorly trimmed boat can rhythmically rise and fall (like a porpoise jumping and falling below the surface). Trim Tabs can be used to eliminate this uncomfortable and inefficient hull behaviour.
- Stay on plane at lower speeds. A boat’s ability to remain on plane when speed is reduced makes it more efficient, more comfortable and easier to control.
- Reduce listing. This is the side-to-side roll/tilting of the vessel due to propeller torque and/or uneven weight distribution. Adjusting the Trim Tabs can eliminate this, even as people move and weight is shifted around the vessel.
How do I know if my boat needs Trim Tabs?
Every powerboat with a planing style hull will receive a ride, performance and efficiency upgrade with the installation of a quality Trim Tab system. A quality Trim Tab system can transform your entire boating experience and help ensure ease of control in a variety of conditions.
How do you use Trim Tabs?
Most systems will be switch or dial controlled, used to deploy and adjust the Tabs to the desired position. In most instances, you will first utilise your tabs on acceleration to get you out of the hole and up onto plane in the shortest time and with a minimum of bow rise. Tab deployment will push the “bow down” and assist you in adjusting your vessel ride to the optimum running angle, allowing you to see the horizon and what is in front of you.
When up and running, trim tabs can be adjusted to level the running attitude (bow up or down) and roll (side to side), to find the best position for the given conditions. This reduces pounding and spray in the cockpit, while optimising performance and fuel economy.
Is the installation of Trim Tabs difficult?
The Standard Dometic Trim Tab System can be installed by a competent DIY boat owner — but this would depend on the capability of the boat owner, and whether they have the required tools. A new install can actually be much easier to do yourself than replacing a system (older systems can often rust together). For the Dometic Adaptive Trim Tab System, we recommend installation by a trained marine dealer.
How do trim tabs improve fuel economy?
Fuel savings result from reducing the time and engine power it takes for your boat to get on plane, because the vessel spends less time running at an inefficient angle. The use of Trim Tabs also allows your boat to remain on plane at lower engine speeds. These two factors, combined with reducing hull drag in a wide range of changing running conditions, help result in reducing overall fuel consumption.
How do you determine the Trim Tab size you need?
It’s best to talk to a marine dealer about your vessel requirements but you can apply general Trim Tab sizing rules to get a general idea.
Note: many experts will advise on fitting the largest tabs that will fit on the transom.
Want to know more about picking the right system for you? Check out our comprehensive guide here.
What Makes Dometic Trim Tab Systems Different/Better?
The intuitive dial controller is what makes the Dometic Adaptive and Standard systems unique. The dial allows for easy and extremely precise adjustment, removing any guesswork from levelling your boat. The controller allows you to easily adjust the pitch and roll to get your boat on plane quickly and efficiently. The controller works by simply turning the dial in the direction you want to level the boat. When you do, the actuators respond quickly and precisely to adjust the ride. There are also single-press Bow Up and Bow Down buttons for manual adjustment of running attitude, and a Favourite Button that lets boaters easily save the desired tab position. This makes it easy to return to a boat’s “sweet spot” ride position with the touch of a finger. The system’s Home Button quickly moves tabs to the home position.
You can read more about the Dometic trim tab systems here.