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Quick Tip: Understanding the Four Modes of Operation of Active Trim

Know the ins and outs for a more efficient and comfortable ride.

Quick Tip: Understanding the Four Modes of Operation of Active Trim

Active Trim automatically optimizes trim levels, and quickly adapts to turns, hole shots and water conditions for smooth and efficient boating. The Active Trim system is compatible with Mercury FourStroke outboards from 40 to 600hp, Mercury SmartCraft®-capable two-stroke outboards and Mercury SmartCraft-capable gas and diesel sterndrive engines with digital trim senders.

For this Mercury Quick Tip, we offer an overview of Active Trim’s four modes of operation:

  1. Idle Speed
  2. Acceleration (Hole shot)
  3. Planing Speed
  4. Override

Idle Speed

  • In this mode, Active Trim maintains your engine’s existing trim position.

Acceleration Mode

  • Here, the engine is tucked in to minimize bow rise and improve the time it takes your boat to plane off.

Planing Speed Mode

  • Engine is trimmed based on the GPS speed so that the most efficient running attitude is maintained.


  • By manually trimming the engine, Active Trim is overridden and you are granted full control of the engine.

Override of the active trim system also occurs when:

  • Boat exceeds 50 mph
  • Engine exceeds 80% of rated RPM
  • Operator decelerates to idle from cruising speed

After overriding occurs, Active Trim will resume automatically under the following conditions:

  • Boat decelerates to below 50 mph
  • Engine decelerates below 80% of rated RPM
  • Operator accelerates from idle speed

More on Active Trim

It’s important to note that Active Trim cannot detect water depth and will not trim up automatically to avoid shallow-water obstacles. In these situations, you will need to override Active Trim by trimming the engine manually or pressing the off button.

Active Trim has five trim profiles. This lets you set the trim to account for changes in load, water conditions, etc. The higher the number, the more trim will be applied at a given speed.

As part of the SmartCraft family of digital technologies, Active Trim helps makes your boating experience easier and more enjoyable. To learn more about the Active Trim control options, click here.

Quick Tip: Understanding the Four Modes of Operation of Active Trim
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