Why Do Fishing Boats Have Outriggers? Answered

Outriggers are an important feature of many fishing boats. They are designed to improve the stability and buoyancy of the boat, allowing it to handle rougher waters. Outriggers also provide greater surface area, allowing the boat to carry more weight and hold more fishing gear.

In this article, we will discuss how outriggers work, the different types of outriggers, their benefits, how they are installed, and some maintenance tips.

Outriggers have been used by fishermen for centuries. They were originally made of wood, but today they are often made of metal and fiberglass. Outriggers are typically attached to the sides of the boat and extend outward from the hull.

This allows the boat to remain level and stable, even in choppy waters, making it a much safer experience for the fishermen on board.

How Outriggers Work

Outriggers are an integral part of many watercraft, functioning to increase stability, reduce drag, and enhance maneuverability.

Outriggers are typically constructed of two long, floating poles that extend out from the sides of the vessel and are attached to the vessel by either a rigid beam or a rope.

The positioning of the poles is critical for fishing boats and is often modified to fit the trolling technique being used.

By positioning the poles further away from the boat, the boat’s stability is increased, allowing it to stay upright in rougher waters and also reducing drag while positioning the poles closer to the boat increases maneuverability and helps the boat turn faster.

The different types of outriggers offer different advantages depending on the needs of the boat.

Some outriggers are made with a single pole, while others are constructed with two poles connected by a beam or rope.

Single-pole outriggers are typically used for smaller boats and offer an increase in stability, but may not provide the same level of maneuverability.

Dual pole outriggers are most often used for larger boats and offer increased stability, maneuverability, and the ability to troll more efficiently.

To conclude, outriggers are a key component of many fishing boats, providing stability, reducing drag, and increasing maneuverability.

The correct pole positioning and type of outrigger can make a world of difference in terms of the boat’s performance, making them an essential addition to any vessel.

Furthermore, the different types of outriggers offer different advantages depending on the needs of the boat, allowing the operator to customize the outrigger to their liking.

Types of Outriggers

By providing increased stability and balance, outriggers are a popular solution to many of the challenges faced by seafaring vessels.

Outriggers are designed to be used in different ways on vessels, depending on the size and purpose of the boat.

The most common types of outriggers are the traditional single and double outrigger designs, which are used to improve stability by increasing the vessel’s beam and providing additional surface area for the vessel to sit on.

These designs allow for a larger sail area as well as a greater range of motion for the boat, making them ideal for fishing boats.

In addition, outriggers are also available in catamaran, trimaran, and pontoon designs, which offer similar stability benefits while providing greater speed and maneuverability.

All of these designs can help improve the safety, stability, and performance of a vessel, making them a popular choice for fishing boats.

Benefits of Outriggers

Enhancement of vessel stability, balance, and safety can be achieved through the utilization of outrigging apparatus. Boats equipped with outriggers benefit from improved stability and balance in rough seas, as well as increased resistance to strong winds.

The main benefits of outriggers are:

  • Increased Stability:
  • Outriggers increase the width of the boat and make it more stable, particularly in rough waters.
  • This wider surface makes the boat less likely to tip or capsize.
  • Similarly, the outriggers help to lower the center of gravity, which helps prevent the boat from rocking or rolling.
  • Increased Wind Resistance:
  • Outriggers are also beneficial in windy conditions.
  • By providing greater surface area, the outriggers increase the boat’s resistance to strong winds.
  • This makes the boat more maneuverable and less likely to flip over in windy conditions.

Outriggers can also be used to attach additional equipment or fishing gear, such as additional fishing rods, reels, and lures. This provides an added benefit of improved storage and convenience.

By utilizing outriggers, fishing boats can become more stable, balanced, and wind-resistant, making them more suitable for use in a variety of conditions.

Installing Outriggers

Installing outrigging apparatus can provide enhanced vessel stability, balance, and wind resistance, making it suitable for use in a variety of conditions.

The installation of outriggers requires careful consideration of the vessel and the conditions it will be used in. This includes the selection of poles, the number of poles to be used, the installation location and techniques, and the type of rigging to be used.

The best poles for outriggers are those that have been designed for the specific vessel, as they provide the most stability and balance. Careful consideration should also be given to the installation location, as this will affect the overall balance of the vessel.

The techniques used for installation should also be carefully considered, as different techniques can be more or less effective for different vessels. Finally, the type of rigging to be used should be chosen based on the type and size of the vessel, as well as the conditions it will be used in.

By taking the time to properly install outriggers, the stability and balance of the vessel can be significantly enhanced.

Maintenance Tips for Outriggers

Regular maintenance of outrigging apparatus is essential to ensure optimum vessel stability, balance, and wind resistance.

Cleaning techniques such as periodic sanding and painting of the outriggers and mast will help to maintain the structural integrity of the vessel.

Additionally, preventive maintenance such as replacing any worn components, lubricating hardware, and examining the rigging for signs of wear or corrosion will help to ensure the longevity of the outrigging apparatus.

Inspecting the outriggers and mast frequently and regularly is also important to maintain the structural integrity of the vessel.

This includes checking for signs of corrosion, wear, or damage to the outriggers, mast, and rigging.

Additionally, checking the outrigging for loose connections and ensuring the hardware is properly lubricated and tightened are important steps in regular outrigger maintenance.

Doing this will help to prevent any potential damage or failure of the outrigging in the future.


Outriggers are invaluable tools for fishermen and are essential for those looking to catch large, deep-sea fish. Outriggers provide stability while trolling, increase the boat’s carrying capacity and make it easier to haul in large catches. With proper installation and maintenance, outriggers can last for many years, providing fishermen with a reliable tool for an enjoyable and successful fishing experience.

Though outriggers are an important tool for fishermen, many still wonder why they are necessary. After all, why not just use a larger boat? Ultimately, outriggers are necessary for fishermen because they provide stability, increased carrying capacity and make it easier to haul in large catches. In addition, outriggers provide a cost-effective way to increase the size of a fishing boat without having to purchase a larger one.

As such, they are an invaluable tool for any fishermen looking to have a successful and enjoyable experience on the water.

So, how can you make the most of your outriggers? With proper installation and maintenance, outriggers can last for many years and provide fishermen with the performance they need for a successful fishing experience. What’s more, by learning more about how outriggers work, types of outriggers, the benefits of outriggers and how to properly install and maintain them, fishermen can maximize their outriggers’ performance and ensure an enjoyable and successful fishing experience.