How To Keep Your Fishing Boat Quiet - Trout Unlimited (2023)

There are many considerations when getting into a boat. These obviously include safety, comfort and logistics. This list goes on and on, but the one thing anglers need to think about that other boaters do not, is noise.

It’s is a much bigger problem in hard boats versus rafts, but these quick tips can work for a multitude of different boat styles and are great starting points to generate ideas on how to keep your boat quiet while fishing.

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1. Use a felt doughnut in between your rubber oar-stop and the oar tower to minimize squeaking. It really works. This is pictured above. Yes, I also have I have my oar towers on ball bearings, but that’s another story altogether …

2. If you have trays seat-side where you lay fly boxes, tools or anything else, simply line these areas with it marine felt, boat carpet, or Hydrafelt (Google any of these). SeaDek is an even better product that is specifically made for this kind of thing on boats and it’s a phenomenal product.

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3. Are your floors loud? Simply cut up some commercial kitchen mats and viola, problem solved. Again, using Seadek here is a classier and better option, but could be more expensive depending on size. Plus, you can take rubber mats out whenever you want.

4. “Pro-tip” your oar blades with Sawyer’s Dynel/kevlar tip protector. Not only do they make less noise when hitting rocks, they make your oars last infinitely longer.

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5. If possible in summer, simply go barefoot. It’s not always the safest thing to do, but if you’re in a relatively calm piece of water it drastically reduces the amount of noise on the boat.

6. Does your boat consistently scrape the bottom in very shallow water? Consider having one angler get out and walk with the boat when casting to feeding fish. This lightens the load. Said person can also double as a human anchor.

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7. If you’re getting “hull slap” on the front of your bow from waves smacking what is essentially a flat bottomed boat, simply cant the bow a degree or two to the port or starboard and it should help some.

8. If you use a jon boat frequently where “hull slap” is a major problem, consider this ingenious idea called “The Silencer” I found over at Coastal Angler. It seems to be an amazing DIY fix.

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How can I make my inboard boat quieter? ›

If you need to soundproof an inboard motor compartment, you can install a high-quality soundproofing foam barrier to lose up to 35 dB of noise. Also, you'll want to seal panel joints with a soundproofing sealant or tape to keep sound from leaking through and to make sure panels fit tightly together.

How should you pass a fishing bot? ›

When you're passing a fishing boat, it's the same. According to the US Coast Guard, you should always make an effort to pass on the port side (left) of the vessel. This means you must steer toward starboard, that way both vessels are passing each other on their port sides.

How can I make my aluminum boat quieter? ›

The quickest methods for making a boat quiet include installing soundproofing and or sound dampening materials into the boat's cowling. Materials including rubber (self-adhesive or non-adhesive) and anti-vibration membrane in addition to aluminum layer are highly advisable.

Why should boaters slow down while passing recreational fishing boats? ›

This is not only a courtesy, it's also an important part of maintaining safety on the water—as large wakes could cause a safety issue on the fishing boat you are passing. Someone could fall and hurt themselves, or they could be tossed overboard.

How do I quiet my engine? ›

Add Automotive Sound-Deadening Insulation

Companies such as Dynamat and B-Quiet manufacture and supply superior sound-reducing materials specifically for automotive applications. These products actually absorb the sound waves created by the wind outside as well as from the engine and exhaust systems.

Can you modify engine noise on boat? ›

You must not modify the engine noise control equipment on your boat or personal watercraft (PWC). Noise can be disruptive – not only because of its volume, but also because of the type of noise it is.

What is the most effective fishing method? ›

LONGLINE: one of the most fuel-efficient catching methods, long-lining is used to capture both pelagic fishes (like tuna) and demersal (like flatfish.) It involves setting out a length of line, possibly as much as 80-100 km long, to which short lengths of line, or “snoods,” with baited hooks are attached at intervals.

What is the cause of most fatal boating accidents? ›

The majority of boating-related incidents and fatalities are caused by: Not wearing a lifejacket or PFD. Falling overboard. Capsizing, swamping, sinking, or running aground.

How does boat noise affect fish? ›

Recently, Ferrari et al. found that 2-stroke motorboat noise affected the ability of settlement-stage fish to learn the identity of novel predators, leading to a 70% decrease in survival in the wild over 72 h.

What makes a boat motor loud? ›

The propeller of an outboard motor is what creates sound. On smaller boats, like a zodiac, the small propeller produces a cavitation noise which is at higher frequencies than larger vessels. The smaller propellers also produce higher rotation rates which also causes the propeller to make higher frequency noises.

What should I coat the bottom of my aluminum boat? ›

Epoxy-based barrier coats are generally one of the few recommended primers for aluminum when used below the waterline (such as on jon boats and pontoon boats). These primers have very good adhesion to properly prepared aluminum, and are designed to resist water penetration that could cause it to release from the metal.

What is a yellow buoy used for? ›

Yellow buoys indicate special markings such as traffic separations, international boundaries, anchorage areas, dredging, fish net area, etc.

What does a buoy with red and green bands mean? ›

Red and green colors or lights are placed where a channel splits in two. If green is on top, keep the buoy on your left to continue along the preferred channel. If red is on top, keep the buoy on your right. These markers are sometimes called “junction buoys.”

How should you move in a boat to avoid falling over? ›

Balance the load of all passengers and gear. Keep your center of gravity low by not allowing people to stand up or move around while underway, especially in smaller, less-stable boats. In a small boat, don't allow anyone to lean a shoulder beyond the gunwale. Slow your boat appropriately when turning.

Will thicker oil make engine quieter? ›

Adding more oil will make the noise go away, but it won't solve the underlying cause of the noisy engine – the oil leak.

What does Sea Foam do in oil? ›

Added to oil, Sea Foam liquefies heavier petroleum residues and deposits back into the fluid so everything drains away when it's time to replace oil and filter. Pour it in every oil-change interval to keep oil flow passageways cleaner and help the engine last longer!

Does synthetic oil reduce engine noise? ›

No. It simply makes the engine noise more apparent. When you use the conventional oil, it will tend to stick to your pistons more completely.

How long can you run a boat motor on muffs? ›

For larger engines, use the flush port or a set of flushing muffs. Water pressure should be set to one-half or more to ensure adequate flow to the intakes. The engine should be run for five to 10 minutes.

How many hours is too many for a boat engine? ›

Well-maintained inboard engines, inboard outboard engines (unless diesel), and outboards have a serviceable, average life of about 1500 – 2000 hours. If you are looking at a gas-fueled marine engine close to or exceeding 1000 hours, inboard or outboard, proceed with caution. It may be a deal, or it may be a money pit.

How many hours can a boat engine last? ›

The average marine gasoline engine runs for 1,500 hours before needing a major overhaul. The average marine diesel engine will run for more than three times that long and log an average 5,000 hours under the same conditions.

What is the most harmful fishing technique? ›

Trawling: It consists of throwing big nets into the seabed, which are ballasted and then pulled for their collection, so they capture everything in their path. This includes species which will be of no use, coral destruction, etc. It is one of the least selective fishing methods, and very harmful to sea bottoms.

What fishing practice is most damaging? ›

Overview. The narrowest definition of destructive fishing practices refers principally to bottom trawling over vulnerable habitat (shallow corals, deep sea corals, or seagrass, for example), as well as practices such as shark finning, blast fishing, poison fishing, muro-ami, and push netting.

What is poor fishing method? ›

1. Bottom Trawling. Bottom Trawling is one of the most damaging methods of fishing. It is an industrial technique that uses huge nets weighed down with weighty ballast that gets dragged down the sea bed, collecting and squashing everything that is on the way, from fish to aquatic plants.

Which state has the most boating accidents? ›

Florida ranks No. 1 nationwide in both recreational boating accidents and deaths on the water, according to a United States Coast Guard report released this week.

What makes up 40% of boating deaths? ›

Alcohol consumption is a factor in 40% of boating deaths.

It also lowers the body's resistance to cold, meaning that hypothermia can set in more quickly. Environmental stressors on a boat can increase the effects of alcohol, meaning that operators who imbibe are often much more impaired than they realize.

What is the most common boat accident? ›

Falls overboard – This is the most common cause of boating accidents that result in death. It's where a passenger or operator accidentally falls off the vessel. This is also the most common cause of fatal boating accidents that involve hunters and anglers.

What depth are trout? ›

Fish at the proper depth.

Thermocline-level fish dwell approximately 20 to 35 feet below the surface, and include trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass. They are attracted to hot spots such as drop-offs and sunken reefs. Once you've found them, fish natural baits within inches of the bottom.

Is fishing more luck or skill? ›

While the skills necessary to catch a couple fish might be easy to learn, they're still skills and there are so many levels of competency within fishing. Like anything, with practice, training, and experience, one can get really good at fishing.

Is there a trick to fishing? ›

Add or subtract weight when bait fishing, go to a sink tip or sinking line when fly fishing, use a jig or a spoon, or a metal-lipped jerk bait. If varying lures and depths doesn't improve your situation, your other tactical choice is to change locations. Move around to find the fish. Cover the water with a fan cast.

Do boats disturb fish? ›

They won't get spooked or scared. However, sound that occurs underwater is loud and travels fast. So jumping up and down in a boat, especially an aluminum boat, is loud and can spook the fish. Even dropping pliers in the bottom of the boat can scare fish.

Does boat noise scare fish? ›

Although fish can hear, they tend to rely on vibrations to understand their environment, for example, to identify potential predators. While noise and talking may not scare fish away, the noise produced by your boat's generator could spook the fish.

Do loud noises disturb fish? ›

Sounds have the potential to harm fish physiologically. They have the potential to mask biological sounds and alter behavior." Popper said the behavioral and physiological effects on fish may depend on sound intensity and duration and a range of factors that scientists are only beginning to learn about.

How can I improve my boat speakers? ›

Let's look at six tips to make your marine audio system sound great and last for decades.
  1. Use Proper Marine Audio Equipment. ...
  2. Ensure That the System is Designed Properly. ...
  3. Proper Installation is Crucial. ...
  4. Large Speakers Improve Efficiency. ...
  5. Get the Music Sources You Want. ...
  6. Subwoofers Make Everything Sound Better.
Aug 3, 2018

Why do boats honk? ›

Horns can warn boats away from ships, structures and areas where they might run aground. And mariners can use the sounds along with their charts to navigate when their view is impaired by fog, smoke and heavy rain.

Which boat makes a loud noise? ›

Another kind of boat is called a motorboat. The motorboat moves when the motor is running. The motor runs on fuel and makes a loud noise.

How do you keep aluminium boat shiny? ›

Use an Aluminum Boat Cleaner

Although soap and water are adequate for surface cleaning, it isn't going to restore the luster of the aluminum nor offer a coat of protection to the boat. A low-micron cleaner is going to both brighten and protect it. You will also get a nice shine from it.

How do I protect the bottom of my aluminum boat? ›

To protect the bottom, apply 4 thin coats of Alumetron. It can last up to 10 years and comes with a 3 year warranty that can be extended up to 5 years if you protect it with VS721. It bonds chemically to the aluminum and is recommended for use below as well as above the waterline.

Should I bottom paint my boat every year? ›

If your boat is in the water year-round, the bottom should be painted every year. For boats that go in and out of the water, every 2-3 years is sufficient. Many boaters that use ablative paint will alternate bottom paint colors so they can tell when the newest paint layer is thin and becoming ineffective.

What does a black buoy mean? ›

All Black: This buoy marks one side of a well-defined channel.

What side do you pass a red buoy? ›

Federal Lateral System

The expression “red right returning” has long been used by seafarers as a reminder that the red buoys are kept to the starboard (right) side when proceeding from the open sea into port (upstream). Likewise, green buoys are kept to the port (left) side (see chart below).

What do orange balls in a lake mean? ›

To other people, this might look like four, small, orange triangles that are put together. This is a keep out buoy. It's incredibly important for everyone to stay far away from this area.

Which side do you pass a boat on? ›

If you meet another boat head-on: Under the boating rules of the road, vessels approaching each other head-on are always supposed to pass each other port to port — or left to left, just like on the road.

How do you drive a boat through a wake? ›

approach the wake at a 45-degree angle.Do not turn into the wake, but continue heading parallel to the other boat. This allows the boat to roll a bit over the wake rather than jumping over it. By staying parallel to the other boat, it also keeps you positioned correctly on your side of the channel.

What does a black striped buoy mean? ›

Inland Waters Obstruction Markers: These are white with black vertical stripes and indicate an obstruction to navigation. You should not pass between these buoys and the nearest shore.

Which boats are more likely to capsize? ›

Capsizing occurs most often with small boats like canoes, kayaks, and sailboats.

What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard on a boat? ›

Common causes of falls overboard and boat capsizing include: being caught off guard by a wave or sharp turn when moving around in the boat, carrying too much weight in the boat or unevenly distributing weight in the boat; and bad weather conditions.

What does a distress flag look like? ›

The distress flag must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background. It is accepted as a day signal only and is especially effective in bright sunlight. The flag is most distinctive when waved on something such as a paddle or a boat hook or flown from a mast.

Are inboard motors quieter? ›

The Inboard

Weighing the pros and cons is difficult as those that enjoy inboard motors like them for a few vital reasons. While they require a large box in the middle of the ship to hold the engine, they are quieter than their outboard counterparts and better for entertaining guests.

Why is my boat engine so loud? ›

A loud engine could mean a malfunctioning exhaust system, says Rob Davidson, the coordinator for the Marine and Small Engines Program and Apprenticeship at Georgian College, and owner of Rob's Marine Service in Orillia.

Is an inboard or outboard quieter? ›

As this factor will vary greatly based on countless variables, one thing experienced boaters know, an outboard being in the stern and outside the boat is simply much quieter than an inboard.

Are outboards quieter than Inboards? ›

Despite its many pros, outboard engines also have a few cons. The first is that they are louder than inboard engines. Therefore, they may not be ideal for people that are looking to boat peacefully and quietly with their friends and family.

Should I leave my boat motor up or down? ›

The best way is to either leave the motor on the boat or on an engine stand in an upright position, not tilted. If neither of these are an option, try to make sure that the engine is in an upright, self-draining position. If you can't do this, be sure that the cooling system is drained completely.

What is considered high hours on an inboard boat? ›

Well-maintained inboard engines, inboard outboard engines (unless diesel), and outboards have a serviceable, average life of about 1500 – 2000 hours. If you are looking at a gas-fueled marine engine close to or exceeding 1000 hours, inboard or outboard, proceed with caution. It may be a deal, or it may be a money pit.

How many hours is alot for an inboard boat motor? ›

Most experts agree that a gas boat engine with over 1,500 hours is a lot. A boat engine goes through a lot. Most people use their boats infrequently throughout the year. The engine may have a lot of years on it, but not too many hours – this can be a great deal if you can find one!

What is the life expectancy of a boat engine? ›

The average marine gasoline engine runs for 1,500 hours before needing a major overhaul. The average marine diesel engine will run for more than three times that long and log an average 5,000 hours under the same conditions.

How many years does a boat engine last? ›

This can change depending on the owner's location. A place where the boating season lasts longer can mean more hours on the motor. This means that a motor that lasts even 1,000 hours can last 20 years with the proper maintenance as long as you do not ride it too hard.

Which outboard motor is the quietest? ›

5 Quietest Outboard Motor Brands
  • Suzuki.
  • Mercury.
  • Yamaha.
  • Honda.
  • Torqeedo.
Nov 30, 2022

What type of boat is easiest to maintain? ›

Pontoon boats

They run in length from 10 to 30 feet. Most pontoon boats are powered by low maintenance outboard engines. Many of them are made of aluminum so they're durable and relatively lightweight. These boats make an excellent starter boat for a family.

Is it OK to lay a boat motor down? ›

2-stroke outboards can be transported on both sides, but it's better to transport them lying on the tiller side. 4-stroke outboards should only be transported lying on the tiller side. For longer breaks in use and for wintering, outboards should be stored upright, for example using a transport stand for outboards.

How do you reduce outboard noise? ›

How to reduce noise from a boat engine? Reduce noise from a boat engine by installing some sound dampening material into the cowling. Self-adhesive butyl rubber anti-vibration membrane w/ aluminum layer is what I recommend. Of course, this is just one solution in reducing boat engine noise.

What type of boat is most fuel efficient? ›

If you plan to fish on rivers and small lakes, flat-bottom planing hull boats are some the most fuel efficient boats you can use -- just remember that these types of boats aren't suited for large, choppy waters.

What's more expensive inboard or outboard? ›

Initial Cost Comparison

This rule of thumb holds true as you move up and down the horsepower scale. However, even with less horsepower the outboard-powered boat will often cost a little more—2 to 4 percent—than a similar boat with a sterndrive.

What's more fuel efficient inboard or outboard? ›

Inboard Diesel Sterndrive has Greater Fuel Efficiency

With both boats running at 25 knots, the outboard-powered petrol boat burned 15.8 gallons (60 litres) of fuel per hour. In comparison, the inboard sterndrive-equipped boat burned through only 10.6 gallons (40L) per hour.


1. Ultimate Labrador Brook Trout Fishing
(The New Fly Fisher)
2. How to Fish for Shad on the Potomac and Elsewhere - John Kuriawa
(National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited)
3. How To Catch Endless Trout On Grass Flats (Without Live Bait)
(Salt Strong)
4. Connetquot River State Park - A Fly Fishing Tour
(Tom's Fishing Stories)
5. How To Catch Tons Of Trout (Even If There's Lots Of Boat Traffic)
(Salt Strong)
6. An evening with Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited CEO & President
(Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited)


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