Going out into the water after a long week to relax is something that appeals to so many of us. The pontoon boat can cater to several of our demands, from fishing to just plain old chilling (in style).
But are you afraid to go on that boat again after it was pulling to the right the last time you took your family on it?
Also, it becomes worse whenever you increase the speed.
Sometimes so much that you have to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction just to overcome that pull. I know it must be terrifying, and if you relate, I suggest you read forward.
Why does my pontoon boat pull to the right?
Why does your pontoon boat pull to the right? The reason behind this is the propeller motion. It is a clockwise or a counter-clockwise spinning motion that drives the boat.
As it turns in a clockwise direction, the boat turns and leans in the opposite direction to balance it. It is why you might feel that the boat is moving to the right.
It is a serious issue that might lead to severe repercussions if not fixed. Some of the reasons responsible for this might be:
1. The propeller’s motion:
One of the most common reasons for a boat pulling in a particular direction is how the boat moves with the propeller’s motion.
The propeller uses torque as a shifting force that makes the movement of the boat possible.
When it produces a twisting motion in any direction, the boat tends to push itself into the opposite direction (Every action has an equal and opposite reaction).
Since removing the torque is impossible, we can at least try to reduce its side effects.
2. The steering system of the boat:
Another critical aspect of this problem is the steering used in the pontoon boat.
While driving, if we let go of the steering, the propeller torque tries to turn the boat to one side when the steering allows too much turning of the engine.
When mechanical steering is in action, the engine makes the wheel turn to one side according to the propeller’s movement.
3. Uneven weight distribution:
This is one of the easiest to solve problems that might cause leaning and feeling the pull to one side in boats.
The best way to figure out if this is the problem is by observing the boat in calm water. If it leans towards one side, we know we are dealing with this issue and working on fixing it.
(Well, duh!) If the wind is healthy, your boat may tend to be pushed to one particular side and lead to this problem.
It is more prominent in some boats than in others. It is mostly seen in V-hulls, although strong winds affect almost all of them.
As there’s not much one can do to fix the wind, we generally do not consider this a significant cause of our boat being partial towards one side.
5. Mounting the boat engine:
It is the least likely reason responsible for pulling the boat to one side. It can happen if the engine is crooked. If the engine is mounted unsymmetrically to one side of the keel, it can also make the boat lean or pull aside.
How to fix the issue?
When you own and drive a boat that shifts to one side, it can prove to be very dangerous if not fixed immediately.
The good news is, all of these are relatively easy to fix. Now that we have seen the probable causes of the problem, let’s see what we can do to fix it:
1. Moving the trim tab:
Trim tabs are the plates on the boat’s transom that allow us to adjust the angle of the boat. They help us with the balance of the boat and control of the boat’s position.
Since the propeller torque is the leading cause of pulling the boat to one side, trim tabs are the most common solution.
You can fix the problem by slightly moving the trim tab in the direction of the pull; that is, if your boat is pulling towards the right, move the trim tab a little bit towards the right and if it is pulling towards the left, move the trim tab towards left.
To move the trim tab, you have to loosen the bolts securing it to the cavitation plate. (And remember to tighten them back after your work is over). Make sure the movement of the trim tab is slow, steady, and small.
2. Using hydraulic steering system:
Unlike mechanical steering, hydraulic steering does not allow the engine to turn too much when you let it go, thus preventing the boat from being pulled from one side.
However, nowadays, some advanced mechanical steering systems use the No Feedback System (NFB). This feature prevents the helm from moving and thus reduces the pulling of the boat.
3. Adjusting the weight distribution:
If you realize that weight is unevenly distributed on the boat to an extent causing problems, you need to balance it.
The brute force approach will weigh the goods before placing them on the boat (Plus, you might piss off a lot of passengers if you ask to weigh them before onboarding!).
A better approach is to relocate some items you can move and move them around if there are passengers.
4. Solving the wind problem:
One obvious solution will be to change the following route (Not very convenient, I know.) You can adjust the boat’s weight according to the wind so that the pull acts as compensation.
Another way is adjusting the trim tabs to balance out the force caused by the wind.
5. Remounting of the boat engine:
Although it is rarely the scenario if the engine is incorrectly mounted, just remounting it will fix the issue of pulling the boat aside. Keeping in mind that the engine should be in the middle of the keel and not shifted aside.
Having a boat that pulls to one side can be alarming (and a real killjoy) at first and very risky next. Now that we have understood the causes of our problem and learned about how to solve them, I think you can safely take that boat out for a ride. Remember to have fun (and tighten the bolts on trim tabs after readjusting them).
- 1 Why does my pontoon boat pull to the right?
- 2 How to fix the issue?