If you are here, it only means one thing. You are curious to know: how does a jack plate on a boat work?
Don’t worry guys, as we are all in the same boat. We will be exploring the working of a jack plate together. Whether you are a beginner or experienced in boating, it’s essential to understand the functionality of a jack plate.
Let’s start from the basics and find out what’s a jack plate and what’s its use in the boats.
Table of Contents
What Is a Jack Plate?
Consider the jack plate as a hydraulic mechanism that goes between the boat’s engine and the transom of the boat’s hull.
It performs three main functions:
- Provides a setback to ensure a distance on the outboard from the transom to allow the propeller to run in rather less-turbulent water.
- Moves the outboard up and down to optimize the performance, thus allowing the boat to venture into shallower water.
- Allow the operator to raise and lower the engine’s height on the transom without changing the engine’s mounting height.
A jack plate is mostly used in bass boats, tunnel hulls, bay boats, and flats skiffs.
Use of Jack Plate on a Boat
Now we know that a jack plate creates space between the engine and transom to use the motor in shallow waters. You must be wondering about the effect of the jack plate’s presence on the boat’s performance.
It substantially aids in the overall boat’s handling.
When you put the engine as far downs as the jack plate, the propeller gets more traction in the water.
However, you can reduce the drag by lifting the engine, thus helping the propeller to minimize the boat’s turbulence while venturing through the water. Consequently, the boat consumes less fuel in the absence of the drag.
So, it’s a win-win situation for you. It not only stabilizes your boat in the water but also saves fuel costs.
You can smoothly adjust the length and depth of the engine while moving through the water.
By the way, you can also notice an increase in RPM and overall speed by slightly raising the jack plate. It’s genius how you can enhance the speed without increasing the throttle.
Types of Jack Plates
The jack plates are divided into the following types depending upon your fishing requirements:
- Fixed – As the name suggests, a fixed hydraulic plate ensures a specific fixed height on which you can mount the engine. It’s an ideal choice to mount a long shaft outboard with a short transom.
- Manually Adjustable – You should opt for a manually adjustable jack plate if you fish with the same setup every time. It provides a continuous range of height, allowing you to move the mounted engine up and down.
- Electric/Hydraulic Adjustable – If you fish with different gear, then it’s better to go for a hydraulic adjustable jack plate. It allows you to make quick changes before fishing.
How Does a Jack Plate Works in Rough Waters?
No one likes to swim in rough waters. However, you may sometimes forget the weather before going fishing.
A jack plate will surely help you in case the weather takes a nasty turn with you ending up in rougher waters.
You can keep your bow up and avoid smacking into waves if you trim down the jack plate. It increases your reach in rough waters allowing you to maintain control while moving forward.
You can lower down into the water to increase the drag, thus making the boat slow and stable in rough waters.
How Does a Jack Plate Works in Shallow Waters?
Do you know that a jack plate allows you to go in even shallower water than a standard engine mount?
It’s a universal fact that the propeller represents the boat’s lowest part in water. So, you have to push the throttles in the forward direction and use the trimming tabs to keep moving in shallow waters.
The propeller is the main driving force here to push you up so that you can move out of the shallow water at full speed.
However, with a jack plate, you don’t have to worry about tilting the engine. Why?
It raises the skeg and propeller higher on the boat.
Meaning, you can smoothly run your propeller in shallower water without damaging the bottom habitat of water or your boat.
A jack plate doesn’t let the propeller hit the bottom bed and stir up the sediment. Implying, you can quickly look for your favorite fish that lives in shallow water.
How Does a Jack Plate Improve the Speed?
The speed is directly proportional to the boat’s size. But a jack plate enables the boat to achieve its maximum speed by adjusting the propeller’s height.
For instance, if you are venturing in calm water, you can easily pull the propeller out of the water to gain more speed. How?
A jack plate lifts the engine in the water to bring the propeller close to the water surface.
By the way, putting the propeller up in cleaner water improves the engine’s performance and durability.
It provides a setback by making the engine sit further away from the water. In this case, the water is less turbulent as compared to water right behind the boat.
The propeller doesn’t fight the turbulence, thus increasing the boat’s efficiency.
By the way, efficiency here can be translated as either speed or better mileage.
The boat covers more distance for the same amount of work done by the engine.
You can easily add a jack plate to your old or new boats if you want to improve your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency.
Not only that, you can optimize your boat’s performance in both shallow and rough water.
One of the most significant advantages of having hydraulics is to quickly adjust the engine’s height to improve your boating experience.
After reading this article, you have more insights into the functionality of a jack plate on the boat. You can opt for a manual or an electronically adjustable jack plate depending upon your boating requirements.