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Trim on PWC like Jet Skis (What Does It Do?)

Trim is one of the most important skills to learn for beginner jet skiers. Trim enables you to control your speed, avoid overcorrection and maintain a straight line through the water.

This article will discuss how trim works on a jet ski, what it does, and how to use it properly.

The role of trim is to enable the drivers’ ability to adjust the running angle by changing the thrust nozzle higher or lower than the standard base position. Trimming the nozzle up brings the bow up, lowering the amount of hull in the water while increasing the top speed.

The reason overall that a rider likes the trim is that it makes maneuvering easier as you can raise or lower your bow to gain more control when necessary. Like choosing to lower the hull before cornering or to help limit overall bow rise in full acceleration.

Trimming can be done manually or automatically. Manual trim is simple, but high speeds may make it difficult to change because of the pump’s force or water flowing out of it.

Electronic trim has no such restrictions; however, a driver must look away from the water to check the trim position on a display.

Jet ski running at high trim flying along clear pretty blue water.

What is Trim on a Jet Ski?

All modern jet ski models have an adjustable trim system, also known as a variable trim system. This feature is intended to modify the jet ski’s trim and allow for better control in the water.

A jet propulsion system on each boat comprises a jet pump with a nozzle at the end of it.

The water rushing out from the jet nozzle is what propels and steers the boat. Unlike other vehicles, the pump uses the actual water you ride on to power motion!

The waterjet nozzle may be adjusted both vertically and horizontally to direct the stream. The handlebar is turned in one direction, which causes the jet nozzle to spin in that direction and guide the machine.

This nozzle, on the other hand, can move vertically as well! You may alter the vertical position of this nozzle with the touch of a button thanks to the adjustable trim system.

Why is this trim system so essential on jet skis, and how should it be configured? Continue reading to learn more!

How Important is Trim on a Jet Ski?

The trim is unquestionably one of the most essential elements on jet skis, as it is designed to alter the handling for various riding styles and to compensate when needed to increase controls.

Trim settings are important because they have a big influence on how the ski handles. Different loads, riding postures, water conditions, and riding styles all necessitate varying trim settings.

Correct trim settings allow you greater control of the ski and enhance its stability.

This is why most modern jet skis include adjustable trim controls as standard equipment.

Improper trim settings may lead to a variety of problems, including:

Overall Handling

Trim helps you handle the jet ski properly. If the trim is not set correctly, then you will have problems controlling it and handling it in a safe manner while riding on or near water.

Limited Turning Abilities

Trim set badly will cause issues with the jet ski’s steering, which will cause problems when attempting to turn. This can result in accidents or falls if you are not being careful!


Porpoising is the up-and-down, leaping, and surging motion of a ski that makes it appear more like a bucking bronco than a smooth, sleek boat. When the trim isn’t set correctly this is a common side effect.

Spinning or Sliding Out

The last issue is around sliding out or spinning out of control. This may be caused by incorrect trim settings and should be treated with great care.

Where Are the Trim Controls on a Jet Ski?

The trim buttons on a jet ski can be used to adjust the trim. The primary trim controls are found on the left handlebar and include up and down symbols.

These trim buttons may be operated with your left thumb because they’re positioned on the left handlebar for easy access.

The present trim position can be determined by a variety of different methods, including a trim indicator that shows the current trim position on some models.

Finally, today’s technologically advanced jet skis enable you to manually adjust the trim or select pre-programmed trim settings.

These modes are frequently achievable with a double tap of the buttons.

How to Set a Trim on a Jet Ski

If you want better steering, you should lower the trim. This results in more aggressive turns and better overall control assistance.

Setting the trim up, on the other hand, elevates the ski’s front above water, resulting in higher top speeds and quicker acceleration.

The lower you trim your nozzle, the deeper the jet ski bow will be sitting in the water.

Setting the trim to the lowest setting makes the machine turn much harder in the water, which is perfect for short tight tracks and faster overall turning.

This is why when riders choose to race in closed courses they will set their jet skis to the lowest position before they even start riding!

Using this same trim position when on highly choppy water can help you not lose your jet ski and keep your personal watercraft glued to the water, no one wants to get thrown off in rough water!

Another frequent jet ski handling problem is that of sliding out, which is frequently caused by incorrect trim settings, basically that you have trim far too high.

However, more hull in the water translates to greater drag, which limits the speed and top speed. As a result, you’ll have to raise the trim as far as it will go in order to get the most out of your jet ski.

This adjustment raises the bow and lowers the hull in the water, resulting in faster top speeds and more aggressive acceleration.

A raised trim is good for doing tricks like jumps, spins, and power slides.

How You Should Set Trim on Your Jet Ski

There are many times when you would want to set trim in specific ways. Let’s discuss these below.

Times to Set the Trim Up

There are times to set the trim high that will yield better performance, and speed, while allowing for more fun:

In Calm & Flatwater Conditions – This results in a greater top speed because there is less drag on your machine due to it sitting higher out of the water.

For Higher Top Speed and Acceleration – Pushing the top end of your jet ski will be easier when the trim is high as this helps keep the nose from digging into the water.

When Performing Tricks: Spins, Power Slides, Jumps, and More – For jumps and tricks, you will want to set your trim very high. This is because the higher up the ski sits in the water, it acts as a ramp when doing aerial maneuvers!

When Carrying a Heavy Load In Front – You will want to set the trim high if you are carrying a heavy load up front. This is because this will counter the lower bow due to the weight added to the front.

Times to Set the Trim Down

There are reasons to set the trim lower because you are looking to get more of the hull in the water to ensure stability and control.

Rough or Choppy Water – lowering your trim can help keep you from losing control of your jet ski by reducing the amount of hull in the water.

Better Handling – Overall if you want better cornering and the ability to make tighter turns, you should lower your trim.

What does Extended Range VTS Mean on a Jet Ski?

Jet ski with an extended range VTS has a unique trim system designed for tricks. In comparison to typical trim systems, this feature provides a considerably larger number of adjustments.

It allows you to raise the bow considerably higher, allowing for skills like jumps, power slides, spins, and even wheelies on your jet ski.

Final Thoughts on Jet Ski Trim

Adjustable trim is present on the vast majority of modern jet skis. This technology allows you to raise or lower the jet nozzle, which adjusts the jet ski’s trim.

Trimming down lowers the bow of the jet ski while trimming up raises it higher in the water. The finest handling and maximum performance are achieved with a correctly tuned trim.

Learning how to manage this will lead to much more enjoyment and control of your jet ski.

As the author, I would like to thank you for reading this article! I hope that it was able to help and educate you about how trim works on a jet ski.