If you’re a fishing boat owner or are thinking of buying a fishing boat, then you have probably heard of offshore brackets. They’ve been taking the salmon fishing and northwest boat community by storm, and many fishermen think that they are a mandatory feature for fishing offshore. But are Offshore brackets worth the extra money? And what is the point of an offshore brack anyways?
Were here to answer these burning questions and more! We’ve owned and fished on boats that both have an offshore bracket and don’t. In this article, we’ll go over exactly what offshore brackets are, catalog the pros and cons of offshore brackets, and explain some common questions on offshore brackets.
Let’s get started.
What is an Offshore Bracket?
An offshore bracket is a large metal bracket either welded, bolted, or designed into the back of the transom of a boat for the motors to be mounted. Offshore brackets are most common on aluminum outboards (as opposed to jet boats) salmon fishing boats, such as Alumawelds or Hewescraft.
What Does an Offshore Bracket Do?
The point of an offshore bracket is to mount the motors away from the transom of the boat. This allows the stern of the boat to be designed to be taller, preventing water from splashing into the boat. The name comes from boats designed to go offshore, where swell and waves are more likely to splash water into the boat if the walls aren’t tall enough.
Offshore brackets also provide an easy place to mount outboard motors that makes them more accessible when performing maintenance on the boat out of the water. If you want to do an inboard to outboard conversion, you’ll most likely use an offshore bracket. Having a dedicated spot for the motors also give you more room for the steering actuator and any other additional hardware (like auto trolling equipment) you might want to add later on.
Pros and Cons of Offshore Brackets
The most common questions we get about offshore brackets revolve around whether or not they are worth the money. To answer these questions, we often like to explain the pros and cons of offshore brackets. So we’ll do the same here.
Pros of Offshore Brackets
Here are the pros of offshore brackets that may be reasons why you want to get one.
- They allow the stern of the boat to be taller. As we mentioned above, a taller wall in the stern of the boat prevents water from splashing onto it. This is great for rougher conditions or when fishing or boating offshore.
- They put the motors ~2 feet farther away from where you are sitting/fishing. Keeping the motors slightly farther away makes your boating experience less smokey and loud. Motors running super close to where you are fishing can be annoying.
- They add a flat platform you can use when enjoying water sports. If you have kids or friends who enjoy other boating activities like swimming or tubing, having an offshore bracket can be useful for getting in and out of the water. Most fishing boats without an offshore bracket are notoriously hard to get in and out of.
- They give you more room to mount additional motors. This can be useful if you want to add a trolling motor or upgrade the size of your motor for more power. Offshore brackets give you a dedicated platform to add more power sources to.
- They look cool. Most fishermen would agree that adding an offshore bracket or buying a boat with an offshore bracket built into looks aesthetically pleasing. It makes your boat longer looking and more legit.
Cons of Offshore Brackets
Now that we have gone over the pros of offshore brackets, let’s go over the cons. Despite what you might have heard, there are actually a lot of cons to offshore brackets.
- They can mess with your boat’s performance and design. The biggest issue with offshore brackets (especially if you are adding one after the fact) is that they mess up the engineering and performance of your boat. Offshore brackets effectively make your boat 2 feet longer, and put the heaviest thing in your boat (the engine) that much farther in the back. This can seriously mess up the handling of your boat causing it to porpoise more often and ride rougher. This can also damage the keel of your boat if you don’t have a keel guard.
- They’re expensive. Adding an offshore bracket can be expensive. If you are adding one after buying a boat, expect it to cost several thousand dollars or more to have one installed. If you are buying a new boat with one built-in, it effectively makes the boat longer which drives up the price as well.
- They can fill with water. A known issue with some offshore brackets that are hollow is that they can fill with water. This adds even more weight to the back of your boat, messing up the weight distribution even more. More weight in the back means porpoising and poor handling. It can also be pain to clean or prevent corrosion.
- They make it harder to get to the motor. If you have ever had to perform maintenance on your outboard while on the water, having it ~2 feet farther away from the back of the boat won’t make your life easier. If you get fishing line tangled around the prop or something stuck back there, it becomes that much harder to get to or fix.
- They make your boat 2 feet longer without any additional interior room. We touched on how this can make your boat more expensive, but it also makes it more difficult to store. Adding 2 more feet onto your boat means you need a bigger space to store it and makes it more unwieldy when parking and towing. On top of that, you won’t see the benefit in interior space at all either since it’s all coming from outside the boat hull.
Are Offshore Brackets Worth It?
So now that we have gone over all the pros and cons of offshore brackets, do we think they are worth it? The short answer is that depends on what you plan on using your boat for, and how you get one installed.
If you plan on actually taking your boat offshore (like to go king salmon, halibut, or coho salmon fishing) and buying a boat that has an offshore bracket built into the design, then we absolutely think they are worth it. Many of the pros then outweigh the cons, and with the bracket built into the design, you won’t have to worry about it messing up the telemetry of your boat.
Author Note: If you plan on adding an offshore bracket after the fact or are size conscious of your boat (you have limited storage), then we don’t think they are worth it. Adding an offshore bracket after the fact is going to mess up how your boat handles and could frankly be hazardous to operate.
They also cost a significant amount of money to install, which we think is better spent on a litany of other items for your boat. If you are a boat owner, you know that they are one fo the easiest things to spend money on. Not having an additional excuse to dump cash into your boat is a good thing.
Lastly, if you plan on using your boat for other water activities like tubing or swimming, we think that having an offshore bracket is worth it. Giving people an easier way to get in and out of an aluminum boat is very helpful, and makes them worth the money and effort.
Deciding whether or not to get a boat with an offshore bracket can be a tough decision. Buying a boat can be one of the most expensive items you purchase and making sure everything you buy for it is worth it can help you save money.
We hope you found this article informative and that it helped you learn the value of offshore brackets, as well as if they make sense for your boating situation. If you have additional thoughts on offshore brackets or want to share an experience of your own, feel free to shoot us a note in the comments below.