In Boat School

What’s the Difference Between a Setback Bracket and a Jack Plate?

Lots of snooty so-called experts might act like boat features are easily understood; we’ll just say, naw – not so much. One common question and misunderstood topic from would-be buyers are the differences between setback brackets and jack plates. To be more specific, “Do we/I need either of those?”

What is a Setback Bracket?

A setback bracket in simple language: the outboard motor further away from the transom. The benefit of the setback is that it adds weight to the rear of a boat (and increases the overall length) which can help raise the bow.

What is a Jack Plate?

Similar to a setback, a jack plates also add weight and some distance (typically much less) between the engine and transom, but the primary goal of this feature is to raise and lower the engine within the water. The benefit of this ability is the pilot can set engine depth in the water which can be quite helpful when controlling a tendency to porpoise. Also, if you plan on running super shallow (i.e., bay boats, flats boats, or skiffs) a jack plate can be a real handy asset.

Do You Need Either?

The answer like so many boating questions is personal. If you’re uncertain how you’ll use your boat, then we’d advise seeking the expertise of your local boat dealer. (Ideally, they can assist you in making the right choice between must-have and like-to-have features on your new boat. (Hint: Only one Sea Born model as of the date of this post doesn’t include a setback bracket.)