How do boats make rooster tails?

Rooster tails usually occur when the propeller shaft is facing upwards. Therefore, the boat is trimmed up too much.

Additionally, when the prop rides high in the water, the water comes off its tip; this forms a rooster tail.

While writing this post, I also discovered that the faster the boat moves, the taller and more robust the rooster tail becomes.

Many people often wonder how vessels form a fountain of water that shoots in the air as the boat moves.

Well, I wrote this post to satisfy your curiosity. I hope you find this interesting.

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that a boat produces a rooster tail when the trim is sub-optimal.

When the boat is on a plane, the prop shaft becomes parallel to the water surface in an ideal setting.

In that case, when the propeller shaft becomes parallel, it propels that vessel forward.

When a rider trims the boat too much in one direction, up or down, this decreases its efficiency.

In this scenario, the vessel’s thrust is directed more towards one direction (upwards or downwards) rather than backward.

This makes the vessel less efficient and may inflict excessive stress on the motor assembly and prop.

Jetboat rooster tail

Apparently, jet boats produce rooster tails. However, they are different from rooster tails made by other boats like power or motorboats.

Jet boats gather water to propel themselves. This water is pulled from beneath by intakes. They then proceed to expel this water through the nozzle found in the stern.

Thus, the jet boat rooster tail is a normal component of the operation, and it is not harmful to the vessel.

Powerboats and motorboats’ rooster tails might have undesirable side effects on the vessel’s performance.

It is also possible to adjust the size of the rooster tail in a jet boat. This process is done similarly to the motorboat or powerboat. You only need to trim the motor.

How to throw the rooster tail

Many people want to have fun with rooster tails but do not know-how. I took the liberty of compiling a step-by-step guide on making one with ease.

Here you go:

  • Trim the propeller downwards as much as possible – if you are a boat owner, you must know about the trim gauge. It is found near the helm. Use it and keep a keen eye on the angle of the motor while trimming.

If your boat does not have any trim gauges, do it the old-fashioned way. Listen to the tilt motor. It will go silent if the engine has been trimmed downwards.

  • Slowly accelerate- when you put the engine in a forward gear, slowly begin to accelerate. In this step, the objective is to achieve a steady cruising speed.
  • Continue trimming up the engine to a point when the propeller starts to ventilate, the speed lowers, or the RPM increases. – By this step, you should already be seeing a nice big rooster tail forming behind the boat.

However, check to see if half of the propeller is sticking out of the water.

What you need to make a boat rooster tail

You may not know this, but you do not need many things to form a boat rooster tail. You only need a sterndrive motor or an outboard which can be trimmed up or downwards.

If you are having trouble adjusting the motor, then sadly for you, you will have to stick with whatever rooster tail your boat can make.

Many experienced sailors throw more prominent rooster tails when they run inches of the pad on the boat.

A thick pad that is combined with a high trim makes significantly beautiful and large rooster tails.

Not every boat can run inches of the pad. Hence, before trying this move, contact the manufacturer or conduct some research.

There are also boat rooster tail devices. The devices are made to be mounted to the transom of the boat. This has been proven to enhance the height and width of the rooster tail.

Boat rooster kits are readily available in online stores.

Not throwing a rooster tail? You might be doing something wrong

Here are a few things you may be doing incorrectly:

  • You have not properly trimmed the motor
  • You are going too slow
  • The engine might be trimmed too far up


  • Rooster tails happen when the propeller shaft is facing upwards. Therefore, the boat is trimmed too far up.
  • Jet boats produce rooster tails. However, they are different from rooster tails made by other boats like power or motorboats.
  • You can make a rooster tail by; trimming the propeller as much as possible, gaining some speed, and trimming the engine until the motor starts to ventilate.
  • If you still cannot make a rooster tail, you might be going too slow, you have not properly trimmed up the motor, or the motor is trimmed too far up.