Is There a Way to Make Your Boat Faster?

Racing boats

If you love the idea of hitting high speeds in the water, or if you just want to reach your next destination in less time, you may be interested in making your boat faster. But what’s the best way to do it? And is it possible for every boat?

Basic Ways to Make a Boat Faster

Let’s start with some high-level approaches you can use to make a boat faster.

  • Upgrade the mechanical features. First, you can upgrade the mechanical features of the boat. Upgrading the engine or changing the propeller could give your boat more power or enable it to do things it otherwise couldn’t do.
  • Avoid over-trimming. Adjusting the trim is important to control the angle at which the boat hits the water. Trimming can help you achieve more speed and reduce drag – but there’s a limit to how much speed you can gain this way, and over-trimming can have a detrimental impact.
  • Reduce onboard weight. Even without any prior experience in physics, you probably understand that the heavier something is, the harder it is to get it to accelerate. In other words, a heavier boat is going to be slower and a lighter boat is going to be faster.

Improving Your Propeller

One of the best and most reliable ways to increase the speed of your boat is to upgrade its mechanical features – most notably, its propeller. Of course, upgrading the propeller can be a major investment, costing several hundred dollars (and sometimes more).

If you currently have an aluminium propeller, transitioning to a stainless steel version can likely increase your top speed; stainless steel is a stronger, more durable material than aluminium, allowing you to reduce drag in the water with thinner blades. Additionally, they’ll be more resilient to damage over time, allowing you to maintain consistent performance over time.

You’ll also need to think about the pitch of your propeller. In some ways, changing the propeller pitch is like changing gears on a bicycle. Lower gears allow you to build speed quickly, but eventually, you won’t be able to transmit as much force as you need to climb speed, whereas higher gears require more force to get going but allow a much higher top speed.

Improving the Engine

It’s also possible to upgrade the engine of your boat itself. For example, you can “jack up” an outboard engine to raise the engine vertically and achieve less drag. However, this won’t result in a major increase in speed and could be an expensive improvement.

There are also a number of modifications you can make to your engine to make it operate faster; however, many of these can risk the wellbeing of your engine. Superchargers, for example, are capable of injecting more air and fuel into the cylinders of the engine using forced induction. You’ll be able to boost horsepower by as much as 50 percent this way – but you’ll also void your engine warranty and risk its safety in the process.

Alternatively, you could try to pull off an engine control unit (ECU) upgrade. Your ECU functions as a digital system that tells your engine what to do. If you replace or “reflash” the ECU to boost horsepower, you can make a marginal improvement to its performance. Again, however, this change may void your warranty and increase risk to your engine.

Ideally, your propeller will be a perfect fit for your boat’s power, hull type, and weight – which can be a tricky balance to strike. Consider talking to a propeller professional, or at least trying out multiple propeller demos before committing to a final decision.

Reducing Weight

There are many different ways to reduce the weight of your vessel as well. Every bit counts!

  • Empty your storage. Go through your boat from end to end and check all storage areas for items you might not need. Extra fishing supplies, old accessories, and other items may be adding dozens of pounds to your vessel unnecessarily.
  • Keep necessities in the aft. If you do have heavier items you need to keep around, like a spare propeller, try to keep them in the aft so they don’t weigh down the bow.
  • Limit passengers. Remember that each person on your boat is contributing to the total weight keeping it down. If you want to go faster, keep fewer people onboard.

Avoiding Over-Trim

Boat racers sometimes rely on the saying “when in doubt, trim it out!” But there’s a limit to how much value you can get this way.

Trimming out will lift the bow of your vessel, reducing the amount of the hull in the water and therefore reducing drag. And of course, reducing drag will increase your top speed. That said, as you trim, the propeller will get closer and closer to the surface of the water, eventually getting direct exposure to air. When that happens, it won’t be able to “grip” the water as much; at this point, the RPM of your engine will keep raising, but your speed will lower and lower.

To get the right balance, use a GPS speedometer to observe the changes in your speed as you adjust the trim. Add trim as gradually as possible, keeping a close eye on the changes in your boat’s speed. If and when the boat speed begins to decline, turn the trim back down until it feels right.

Buying a Faster Boat

Of course, if you’ve tried these steps and you’re still not satisfied with your boat’s speed, you do have another option: you can buy a faster boat. If you feel limited by your current options, this may be your best path forward.

Are you interested in upgrading your current boat or trading yours in for something faster? If so, TheYachtMarket can help. We’ve got new and used boats for sale of all varieties, from all over the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. Browse our boats for sale today and find something that fits your needs!

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