by Conrad & Judy Kreuter
Q: Dear Boat Talk: My father who is 78 years old complains about getting several things up, one of them is his 9.9 HP kicker motor. Is there any advise that you can give to help him out? PP, Manorville NY.
A: Dear PP: Unfortunately there is no little blue pill we could give to his outboard motor, but there are a number of ways that may lessen the load and make it easier to wrestle that motor up.
One solution is a rather simple outboard bracket, whose design includes a large spring. The spring takes most of the weight of the outboard motor when pulling the motor out of the water. These brackets are rated by weight to hold the typical horsepower weight ranges of kicker motors. Kicker motors are small secondary motors usually up to 25 to 30 horsepower used as insurance motors to get the boat back to port when the primary engine fails.
Choose the appropriate model bracket for the horsepower and weight of the outboard motor. Outboard brackets are generally mounted to the transom of the boat on the port or starboard side of the main motor. These brackets are thru bolted with large washer or backing plates to spread the load over the transom area.
To lower the outboard, release the control lever and gently push the outboard down until the lower unit is submerged. To raise the outboard, grasp the control lever, and with a slight pull upward, the outboard will return to its raised position.
Another style of outboard bracket uses a hydraulic piston instead a spring. The function and ease of raising and lowering the kicker outboard is about the same as the spring type. The operation is the same as the spring type bracket.
Kicker outboard brackets cost between $140-$300 for the types mentioned above. Installation can be complicated. If you are wary, consult a marine service professional.
For the ultimate solution to raise and lower the kicker outboard, you may want to consider installing a power tilt bracket. These are units that use a hydraulic piston, electric motor, and control system to raise and lower the motor. Operation is simple-- just press the toggle switch up and the kicker outboard tilts out of the water.
Installation is somewhat more complicated than the mechanical bracket due to the wiring of the control circuit between the tilt switch and battery. Additional brackets may be required to increase the setback of the power tilt bracket so that the outboard clears the transom of the boat in the raised position. Mounting of the power tilt bracket to the transom is the same as the spring type. The cost of the power tilt unit will be about 3-4 times that of a simple mechanical bracket.