How Does a Boat Speedometer Work? Everything To Know

Owning a boat feels pride, especially if you are more of a water persona like me. But to hoard your boat for long, you gotta know how different parts of your skimming wonder work.

Wondering why?

I can give you tons of reasons, but for the time being, let’s just skip all of that except two. Firstly, you partake take better care more efficient overhauling sessions.

Then, most importantly you become capable of fixing your boat components all by yourself. Particularly when uninvited trouble kicks your ass in the middle of the water.

Anyways, enough with the boring intro. Today you are gonna step into the working principles of a boat speedometer. I’m gonna keep it real simple and easy, trust me - I’m an engineer.

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How Does a Boat Speedometer Work?

In fact, it is not just a speedometer. You might have learnt that way, but it’s Pitometer to be accurate. Because when you are talking about boat speedometers, they mostly rely on a pitot tube mechanism. So, you now know where the name Pitometer came from.

However, it works just like your car’s speedometer, but in a different way.

Cars run on stationary roads while a boat flicks through water, which has its own motion. So, in plain words, the vehicle and the surface have their unique set of speeds. In this case, Pitometer compares the speed of your boat to the speed of water your boat is moving on.

Here’s how it really works.

The gauge of the system requires a constant supply of two unique data to give you an accurate speed of the boat.

  • Water speed
  • Air pressure created by water

Therefore, a pitot tube connected to the system passes through the boat’s keel (underside of your boat) into the water. As the boat glides along the surface (forward, backward or at any geometric alteration of course), water gets pushed into the hose connected at the back of your speedo.

When water travels through the pitot into the tube area, the speed is measured. Water flow gets nowhere into the hose, as there is no exit whatsoever. This brings a change in the air pressure in the hose. Needless to say, the pressure fluctuates as your boat moves at different speeds.

Combining the water speed and air pressure, the gauge indicates your boat’s speed.

To conclude, the system puts together two certain numbers for water speed and pressure. The pressure increases in proportionate to the water speed. And, an increase in air pressure tells the meter to show faster speed. Contrarily, lower speed indications refer to decreases in air compression.

That is it. This is how a boat speedometer works. Well, this isn’t obviously a technical autopsy from mechanical engineering perspectives by any means. But for your basic know-how, this will be okay.

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