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How to Mount a Trolling Motor on an Aluminum Boat?

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

How to Mount a Trolling Motor on an Aluminum Boat

Maneuvering an aluminum boat is exhausting, especially if you are in the water for a long time. For those who hate paddling, a trolling motor is a must-have. It helps in conserving energy and enjoying your time in the water. How to mount a trolling motor on an aluminum boat?

There are three main ways to mount the motor. It can be done on the bow, stern, or engine. Depending on the location, you will need to drill holes and screw the base of the motor or attach it to the boat using a clamp.

Read on and I will share some tips so you can install a trolling motor like a pro. This is an easy task even for someone without experience.


What You Will Need

Before you start, prepare the materials that you will need, which will depend on the type and the size of the boat, among other things. Below are some that you must have.

  • Trolling motor
  • Electric drill
  • Bits
  • Marker

A Step-by-Step Guide


In this section, I will break down the steps, depending on the specific part of the boat where you will install the motor.

1. Mounting on a Bow

For medium and large boats, the best place to install a motor is on the bow. This is the front part of the boat. It will pull the boat in the water, providing better control. In turn, you will also enjoy better precision when steering.

While there are many bow-mount trolling motors, one of the best options to consider is Minn Kota Ultrex.

For a visual guide to installing the trolling motor in front of an aluminum boat, watch this short video.

  1. Start by disassembling the motor. Out of the box, the top and the bottom parts are still attached.
  2. Pick a location in the front of the boat to install the motor. It should be large enough to pull the boat and when it is stowed on the deck. Leave enough clearance to move the boat without penetrating the hull.
  3. Put the motor on the top of the boat, aligning it to the specific spot where it will be installed. Mark the holes for drilling. Use the template of the mount to ensure that the holes are in the right place.
  4. Drill on the marks. The depth will depend on the requirements of the motor, but in most cases, it is 6.5mm or ¼-inch. Before drilling, check the bottom part for any obstruction.
  5. Thread the bolts on the top of every hole of the base.
  6. Install rubber washers under the base and in each bolt. This is important for creating a tighter fit, even if the motor moves.
  7. Put the motor’s base on the top, aligning it to the holes. Level it on the deck surface.
  8. Position steel washers under each bolt. Tighten until they are secure.
  9. After attaching the base, connect the motor. At a minimum, it should be five inches below the water.

2. Mounting on a Transom

For small aluminum boats, a good place to install the motor is on the transom. You can attach it to the stern using a clamp, which simplifies the installation. This is more straightforward compared to bow installation, which requires drilling.

If you are looking for a motor that you can mount in a transom, make sure to check out Newport Vessels NV-series Thrust Saltwater Motor.

  1. Look for the right spot to mount the motor. Pick a smooth and flat surface. It does not need to be in the middle.
  2. Release the clamp from the bracket by turning it counterclockwise. Most will have one to two clamps that hold the motor on the bracket.
  3. Fit the motor in the transom without interfering with any other component in the stern.
  4. Adjust the base to create a secure fit and turn the clamp clockwise. Tighten the screws until the base is snug. This will prevent the base from vibrating and loosening during operation.

3. Mounting on an Engine

As it implies, this kind of motor connects to the engine, which thrusts as you steer the boat. It is a great choice if the boat has no room in the bow or stern for a trolling motor. When the engine is off, the motor submerges. On the other hand, it floats when the boat is running. It is great in terms of space efficiency, but it is quite tricky to control.

  1. Locate the anti-cavitation plate of the engine and put the bracket on the top. This is the horizontal plate sitting on the top of the motor. As you do this, the motor must be up.
  2. Mark holes on the plate depending on the location of the holes on the surface of the trolling motor.
  3. Drill the marks with a bit that is sharp enough to penetrate through hard material.
  4. Put the motor on the top. Screw and tighten the bolts. See to it that they are secure enough to prevent unnecessary movements when the motor runs.

Pro Tips


Aside from learning the right steps for trolling motor installation, below are some of the most important tips to keep in mind.

Pick the Right Trolling Motor

Not all trolling motors are the same. Pick one that is suitable for the type of boat that you have and the conditions of the water.

For saltwater application, look for one made of rust and corrosion-resistant materials. A tough construction is a must to ensure durability. For freshwater use, you do not have to be as picky as long as it is long-lasting.

You can also choose a trolling motor depending on its mode of operation – by hand or foot. Hand-operated motors are easier to use and are not quickly prone to weed and debris accumulation.

Many modern trolling motors have innovative features, such as a GPS. This means that the motor will work on its own. It auto-pilots, knowing exactly where it should go when the motor is running.

The size is equally important. It dictates the thrust that the motor will generate. This should match the length of the boat where you will attach the motor.

Tighten all Components

Whether the trolling motor attaches to an aluminum boat through bolts or clamps, secure all the connections. If it is loose, the base and the motor will wobble. As a result, this will negatively impact the boat’s safety and performance.

Maintain the Trolling Motor

It is not enough that you install the motor properly. The exposure to dirt and debris compromises functionality. Inspect and clean regularly. Lubricate the moving parts to maintain them in their peak condition.


Say goodbye to paddling endlessly! Make it easier to navigate calm waters and enjoy fishing by adding a trolling motor to your boat.

Adding a trolling motor to an aluminum boat is intimidating at first. Nonetheless, it is an easy task that requires only a drill and the motor itself. You can screw or clamp it on the boat, depending on where you will install it.

Looking for a trolling motor for your boat? Check out Minn Kota Ultrex and Newport Vessels NV-series Thrust Saltwater Motor. Besides, you also can refer to marine antifreeze that can help you winterize an outboard boat motor.

Did you enjoy reading this tutorial on how to mount a trolling motor on an aluminum boat? Do you have any tips to share about the installation of a trolling motor? Make sure to let us know in the comment section.

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