Smooth Sailing: Finding the Best Jack Plate for Your Gheenoe

For paddlers looking to enhance the performance of their Gheenoe boat, adding a jack plate can provide noticeable benefits. A jack plate is an accessory that lifts the outboard motor higher out of the water, which reduces drag, increases speed, and allows the boat to run in shallow waters more easily. When selecting the right jack plate, it is important to consider factors like the size and weight of your motor, the dimensions of the transom, and the type of conditions you’ll be boating in.

There are several high-quality jack plate options on the market that are well-suited for the Gheenoe. The Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Jack Plate is designed specifically for smaller boats and is made from durable aluminum that can handle high horsepower motors. For a more affordable but still high-performing choice, the CMC Manual Power-Lift Transom Jack Plate is an excellent option made from aircraft-grade aluminum. On the higher end, the T-H Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate provides superior lifting power and strength thanks to its hydraulic pump system and heavy-duty aluminum construction.

Ultimately, the ideal jack plate maximizes the performance of your individual Gheenoe setup. Key benefits paddlers can expect from adding a jack plate include increased top speed, improved hole shot, the ability to run shallower, better fuel efficiency, and the advantage of tailored engine height adjustment. Considering your budget, boating needs, and performance goals will ensure you select the right jack plate to enhance your time spent out on the water.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Jack Plate

  • Motor size and weight – Make sure to choose a jack plate designed to handle the size and weight of your outboard motor. This ensures proper support and stabilization. Jack plates are designed and rated for specific motor sizes, so choosing one matched for your motor is important. Measure your motor dimensions and capacity to select the right jack plate.
  • Transom size and shape – Consider the dimensions of your boat’s transom when selecting a jack plate. Ensure proper fit to avoid issues. An improperly fitted jack plate can lead to instability of the motor. Take transom measurements and compare to jack plate specs for the right fit. Also consider the material of your transom, as some jack plates specify transom material compatibility.
  • Water conditions – Think about the type of waters you typically boat in – shallow, rough, etc. Choose a jack plate suited for those conditions. Shallow water operation requires more lift, while a hydrodynamic plate shape handles rough water best. Select based on where you boat for maximum performance.
  • Performance goals – Your goals affect your choice. If maximizing speed is key, choose a jack plate that lifts motors higher. Higher lift reduces drag for increased speed potential. For shallow water operation, more lift allows clearing obstacles better. Determine your performance priorities before selecting.
  • Budget – Jack plates range widely in price from around $200 up to $2000 or more. Select one that provides value for your budget. More expensive models typically offer higher performance and durability. But there are quality jack plates available for under $500 that will enhance your Gheenoe.
  • Ease of installation – Consider how easy the jack plate will be to install on your transom. Some require simple bolt-on procedures, while others may need professional installation. Check required tools and assess your DIY capabilities.
  • Maintenance – Factor in required jack plate maintenance. Higher end models with hydraulic lifts require maintenance like fluid changes. Greasable units need occasional lubrication. Choose a jack plate that fits your maintenance abilities.

Top Jack Plates Recommended for the Gheenoe

After considering the factors above, here are my top jack plate recommendations for the Gheenoe:

Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series

  • Specifically designed for small boats like the Gheenoe
  • Durable powder coated aluminum construction
  • Integrated hydraulic lift system smoothly adjusts motor height
  • Up to 10 inches of lift improves speed and shallow water performance
  • Bolt-on installation process with included hardware
  • Greasable for low maintenance

The Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Jack Plate is my top choice for Gheenoe owners seeking a performance lift at a reasonable price. It’s made specifically for smaller boats, lifts plenty high to increase speed or run shallow, and the powder coated aluminum stands up to saltwater use. The integrated hydraulic system makes lifting your motor smooth and easy compared to manual lift plates. At around $500, it provides excellent value without breaking the budget.

CMC Manual Power-Lift

  • More affordable jack plate option at around $250
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum won’t corrode
  • Manual lift system is easy to operate
  • Lifts up to 5.5 inches to increase clearance
  • No maintenance required compared to hydraulic models
  • Simple installation with included hardware

For Gheenoe owners looking for an inexpensive jack plate, the CMC Power-Lift is a great choice. It may not lift as high as pricier models, but its 5.5 inches of lift is enough for many to improve their boat’s performance. The aircraft-grade aluminum resists corrosion from saltwater, and the manual lift is maintenance free. At 1/3 the cost of many hydraulic plates, it delivers great value for the price.

T-H Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate

  • High-end choice delivers superior performance
  • Heavy duty billet aluminum stands up to frequent use
  • Integrated hydraulic pump lifts up to 12 inches
  • Smooth, fast lift operation via electric switch
  • Withstands constant impact from rough water
  • Higher cost around $1200 but excellent quality

At the top end of the price range, the Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate is for serious Gheenoe enthusiasts seeking maximum lift and performance. With an aircraft-grade billet aluminum frame, integrated hydraulic pump, and 12 inches of lift, no other plate compares for pure performance. It allows running in the shallowest waters while providing a smooth hydraulic lift at the push of a button. The Atlas is a premium investment for those who demand the very best for their Gheenoe.

Comparison Table

Model Lift Height Construction Lift Type Price
Bob’s Action Series 10″ Powder Coated Aluminum Hydraulic $500
CMC Manual Power-Lift 5.5″ Anodized Aluminum Manual $250
T-H Marine Atlas 12″ Billet Aluminum Hydraulic $1200

This summarizes the key distinctions between these three top jack plate options recommended for the Gheenoe. The Bob’s Action Series hits a nice sweet spot between performance, quality, and value. But the Atlas truly stands out if no-compromise performance is needed. And the CMC provides an affordable manual option. Use this comparison to choose the best model for your needs and budget.

Key Benefits of Adding a Jack Plate

Installing a jack plate on your Gheenoe provides noticeable benefits:

  • Allows running in shallower water without propeller damage – By lifting the motor higher, a jack plate increases the clearance between the propeller and the bottom, enabling running in skinny waters without risk of damage. Even gaining a few inches of clearance makes a big difference for shallow water operation.
  • Increases top speed by reducing drag – Lifting the motor higher removes more of the lower unit from the water, greatly reducing drag. Less drag means you can reach faster top speeds for watersports and fun. Even 2-3 mph faster has a big impact on enjoyment.
  • Improves hole shot – less time to get on plane – Hole shot is the time it takes for your boat to accelerate onto plane from a standing start. By lifting the motor for reduced drag, a jack plate enables getting on plane significantly faster – critical for water sports.
  • Adjustable engine height to tune for performance – Dialing in the ideal motor height for your boat and conditions maximizes performance. A jack plate enables easily testing motor heights to find the “sweet spot” for your Gheenoe.
  • Better fuel efficiency from less drag – Reducing drag with a higher motor position improves fuel mileage. Tests show 10-15% gains in MPG are common with a jack plate, saving you money at the fuel pump.
  • Reduces overall drag by lifting motor higher – In addition to improved speed and fuel economy, less drag also means better handling and a smoother ride. Less drag reduction equals enhanced performance and enjoyment on the water.
  • Higher motor position improves steering – Raising the motor also helps steering, as leveraging the engine’s weight higher on the transom increases responsiveness. Better steering makes driving your Gheenoe more agile and fun.
  • Decreased boat wake – Lifting the motor up lessens the disruption of the water behind your boat, reducing wake. For watersports like wakeboarding, a clean wake is essential, so a jack plate helps tune wake size.
  • Easier mounting of trolling motors – Installing a trolling motor on your transom is easier and more stable with a jack plate, as the additional height provides more clearance and mounting options.
  • Peace of mind in shallow water – Running the skinny waters that Gheenoes are designed for brings the risk of hitting bottom and damaging your prop. A jack plate gives peace of mind that your motor is safe, even when pushing the limits in shallow creeks and flats.

What To Look For When Buying a Jack Plate

Now that you know the many benefits of a jack plate for your Gheenoe, here are a few key things to look for when choosing the right model:

  • Lift capacity – Select a jack plate rated to handle the weight of your motor without flex or instability. Under-capacity plates are dangerous.
  • Maximum lift height – Plates that lift 6-8 inches or more enable running shallower and increasing top speed.
  • Material durability – Marine-grade aluminum stands up to saltwater corrosion best. Stainless steel is also very durable.
  • Ease of installation – Look for plates with comprehensive instructions and all included hardware.
  • Hydraulic or manual lift – Hydraulic models are faster and easier but cost more than manual lifts.
  • Setback – Some plates let you position the motor farther back. This may improve performance on certain boats.
  • Construction quality – Closely inspect welds, metal thickness, and hardware quality. Avoid cheaply made bargain plates.
  • Warranty – Look for at least a 1-year warranty. Better jack plates offer 2 years or more.
  • Reputation – Stick with established brands known for quality like Bob’s, CMC, and T-H Marine.

Proper Jack Plate Installation

Installing your jack plate correctly is critical for proper performance and safety. Here are some best practices:

  • Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation procedures. Never skip steps.
  • Use the provided hardware or upgraded marine-grade hardware if needed. Stainless steel is best for saltwater.
  • Apply an anti-seize compound to threads before installing to prevent galvanic corrosion.
  • Slowly raise the motor in stages, checking for stability and alignment. Don’t max it out on the first lift.
  • Confirm no hydraulic leaks if installing a hydraulic lift plate. Address any leaks before operating.
  • Perform a test run in an open area before full operation. Gradually increase throttle while checking for vibration or anomalies.
  • Carry the proper mounting tools and spare stainless hardware on-board in case you need to make adjustments while on the water.

Maintaining Your Jack Plate

Like any marine accessory, proper maintenance is required to keep your jack plate operating flawlessly for years:

  • Rinse the jack plate with freshwater after each use to prevent salt buildup and corrosion.
  • Lubricate all grease points as directed by the manufacturer – usually every 20-30 hours of running time.
  • Check for loose bolts and hardware before each trip and tighten if needed.
  • Periodically inspect the hydraulic fluid level if you have a hydraulic lift plate. Top off as required.
  • Annually inspect welds closely for cracks. Repair any cracks immediately to prevent worsened damage.
  • Avoid banging the jack plate on docks, trailers, etc. Dents can affect the alignment.
  • Consider removing the jack plate when trailering your Gheenoe to avoid unnecessary stress on the transom.

Troubleshooting Common Jack Plate Issues

If you experience any problems with your jack plate, here are some common issues and solutions:

  • Loose mounting bolts – Stainless hardware can vibrate loose over time. Inspect and tighten all mounting bolts if you notice the jack plate shifting or any instability. Use thread locker on the bolts.
  • Hydraulic fluid leaks – Visually inspect all hoses, fittings, seals and connections on hydraulic plates for leaks. Fix any leaks before operating. Keep hydraulic fluid topped off.
  • Lift jams or sticks – If the lift mechanism is not operating smoothly, lubricate pivot and lift points per manufacturer instructions. Inspect for debris interfering.
  • Corrosion – Rinse with freshwater after use and apply corrosion inhibitor annually. Replace hardware with stainless steel if needed.
  • Cracked welds – Inspect welds closely for any cracking annually, especially around mounting feet. Repair/re-weld any cracks immediately to avoid worsening.

Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing the Best Jack Plate for a Gheenoe

What are the main benefits of adding a jack plate to a Gheenoe?

Key benefits include increased speed, improved fuel efficiency, ability to run in shallower water, faster hole shots, and adjustable engine height for performance tuning.

What size motor can the Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Jack Plate handle?

The Bob’s Action Series Jack Plate is rated for outboard motors up to 60 horsepower.

How much lift does the CMC Manual Power-Lift Jack Plate provide?

The CMC Manual Power-Lift provides up to 5.5 inches of lift capability.

What materials are used to construct the T-H Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate?

The Atlas is constructed from high strength billet aluminum for maximum durability.

How much maintenance does a manual lift jack plate need?

Manual lift jack plates do not require regular maintenance like hydraulic models. Just occasional inspection and lubrication of pivot points.

Can I install a jack plate myself or do I need a professional?

If you are mechanically inclined, installation is straightforward for most jack plates using the included instructions and hardware.

Does adding a jack plate to a Gheenoe require any modifications to the transom?

Most quality jack plates are designed as bolt-on accessories requiring no transom modifications.

What is the approximate cost range for jack plates for a Gheenoe?

There are quality jack plates ranging from $200 up to $1200 or more. Set your budget and choose accordingly.

Should I remove my jack plate when trailering my Gheenoe boat?

Yes, removing the jack plate reduces stress on the transom when trailering.

How can I prevent my jack plate bolts from vibrating loose over time?

Use stainless steel mounting hardware, apply thread locker compounds, and regularly inspect/tighten bolts.


Adding a quality jack plate to your Gheenoe provides major performance enhancements you’ll notice every time you hit the water – increased speed, ability to run in ultra-shallow water, improved fuel economy, and more. Follow this guide when selecting the right jack plate for your boat’s specific needs. Consider key factors like motor weight ratings, materials used, lift height, and construction quality in your buying decision. Proper installation and ongoing maintenance will ensure your jack plate delivers trouble-free performance. And be sure to follow the troubleshooting tips above if any issues do arise. Invest in one of the top-rated jack plates discussed here to unlock your Gheenoe’s full potential.

Leave a Comment