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March 22, 2013

Shallow Thinking

Trim tabs and jack plates take small boats where few other craft dare venture

Combining Systems

Bobs Machine shop flats jac

Bob's Machine Shop's Flats Jac is designed especially for flats and bay boats.

(Courtesy Bob's Machine Shop)

Using the jack plate, trim tabs and outboard trim together can maximize the performance. To give you an idea, let’s return to the technique of ­accelerating in shallow water.


Put the trim tabs down, the jack plate up and the outboard trimmed in. Now throttle up. As the boat climbs out of the hole, start lowering the jack plate, raise the tabs and trim the engine out. Then, with the boat on plane, continue to apply throttle and trim to build speed. You also might raise the outboard with the jack plate to reduce drag and boost speed even further. Finally, redeploy the trim tabs a tad to control porpoising.

Each boat responds differently to tabs, engine height and outboard trim, according to Barker. “It’s really a matter of getting some seat time and using these features,” he says. “That’s how you learn.”


Bennett Trim Tabs
Deerfield Beach, Florida

Bob’s Machine
Shop Jack Plates
Tampa, Florida

CMC Marine Jack Plates 
Duncan, Oklahoma

Lenco Marine
Trim Tabs
Stuart, Florida

Maverick Boat Co.
Fort Pierce, Florida

T-H Marine
Atlas Jack Plates
Huntsville, Alabama

Yellowfin Yachts
Sarasota, Florida