We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Hydraulic Outboard Steering?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hydraulic outboard steering is an option offered on power boats. This system uses a hydraulic cylinder attached to the outboard motor and allows the operator to steer the boat with less effort. The hydraulic outboard steering uses the hydraulic cylinder's ram to push and pull on the outboard in conjunction with the turning of the boat's steering wheel. Much like power steering in an automobile, hydraulic outboard steering makes turning the motor from side to side a very easy task. The torque applied to the steering action of a power boat is tremendous, and without hydraulic outboard steering, turning a boat or just maintaining a straight line would be nearly impossible at full throttle.

Boats using small outboard motors of less than 50 horsepower can operate without hydraulic outboard steering. Many of these boats are even tiller-equipped, meaning that they have no steering wheel. With outboard motors larger than 50 horsepower, hydraulic outboard steering is mandatory. Older boats used a system of cables and pulleys that allowed the operator to have a mechanical advantage when turning the big outboard motors. Modern boats use the hydraulic system, which is typically operated off of an electric hydraulic pump motor.

Much in the same manner hydraulic tilt and trim features have replaced the manual systems, hydraulic outboard steering has replaced the older system of pulleys and cables for turning the large outboard motors. Even with the pulley and cable system's use of leverage, the hydraulic cylinder-assisted turning mechanism allows for a much smoother and easier turn. In multiple outboard configurations, the hydraulic outboard steering is a must. The torque steer produced by twin outboard motor set-ups makes any type of steering other than hydraulically-assisted steering futile at best.

In a twin outboard configuration, two equally-sized outboard motors are teamed together to achieve greater power potential. While this type of configuration will typically pair outboard motors with opposite-turning propellers to equalize the torque steer that the engines will produce, hydraulic outboard steering aids the operator in turning the big outboards as they power through the water. As with a single outboard configuration, the hydraulic steering also makes the task of holding the vessel on a straight line a much easier one.

The use of an electric hydraulic pump to power the hydraulic steering makes turning a kick motor with the boat's steering wheel possible with the primary outboard turned off. A kicker motor is a smaller outboard motor used primarily for trolling on a fishing boat. These small outboards are usually 20 horsepower and less and are typically linked to the main outboard motor through the use of a steering rod. As the large motor is turned, the steering rod acts like a tie rod on an automobile and turns the kick motor as well.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.