How to Choose Rigging for Your Boat

Rigging has come on a long way since the days when wind-and-sail was the only method of travelling across water. Now rigging involves everything from electronics to accessories like coolers and paddleboards.

Rigging Defined

Back in the day, rigging was simply "lines and chains used aboard a ship especially in working sail and supporting masts and spars," as defined by Webster's dictionary. These days, you could define rigging as any point at which you interact with your boat, be it working on, monitoring or adjusting it. For example, any controls you use to manipulate the boat, or any gauges you use to get information and feedback from your boat, would be considered rigging.


Yamaha boat rigging components

Yamaha marine audio rigging equipment


The three main points of interaction with a boat are:

  • Controls: Steering, shifting, throttle
  • Gauges: Instrumentation relaying information about the boat and the surrounding environment (RPMs, temperatures, voltages, fuel levels, etc.)
  • Displays: Instrumentation relaying information about the surrounding environment (depth finders, GPS, radar, fishfinders, etc.)

Determining What Rigging You Need

Boats require control rigging — steering, shifting and throttle controls — but from there on exactly what other rigging you'll need depends on how you use your boat. 

Does your vessel require control rigging for both the main console and a flying bridge as well? If it does, how do you determine what you'll need to accomplish that? 

The simplest way is to use our Online Yamaha Outboard Rigging Catalog. We compiled the entire Yamaha Outboard Rigging and Parts Catalog into one easy-to-use online interface to make choosing rigging for your boat an effortless experience.

Boat rigging measurements diagram

The Online Yamaha Rigging Catalog lets you compare and select the rigging that best suits your boat. For example, using the Online Rigging Catalog, click on Rigging Estimate Guide, then select the engine rigging guide that matches your boat. From there, select your control method and scroll through the rigging kit options. Having chosen a kit, simply add the harness length you need and you're all set.

PRO TIP: To determine the main harness length, measure an unobstructed path from the control to the centerline of the outboard, then add an additional 4 feet, and round up that figure to the next highest harness length that's available.

Rigging Gauges

Which gauges you'll need largely depend on how you plan to use your boat. For example, if you have a pontoon boat you only use on a lake, you probably won't need a satellite GPS system. However, if you have a triple-outboard V-hull you take offshore, you'll want a lot more information about your boat and the surrounding area.


Boat rigging gauges

Yamaha boat starter kit


At the very minimum, you should consider adding engine RPM, engine oil pressure and engine temperature gauges, regardless of how you use your boat. These gauges provide invaluable information on your motor's health, help you identify small issues, and allow you to fix them before they become major problems. A gauge or display that shows you the time on the engine is also useful, as it helps you keep up with the routine maintenance schedule.

Boat rigging controls instrument panel

Invest in an LCD screen display if you'll be taking your boat offshore. Unlike a couple of gauges, an LCD display will give you all the information from the engine, and could make the difference between getting back to shore or getting stranded out on the ocean.

Watch the video above to learn more about how to use the Yamaha online rigging catalog. If you need help with rigging parts or any other OEM boat parts or accessories, give us a call at 877-408-1587 and we'll be happy to assist you.



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