Often overlooked because it sits below water, propeller problems can mean dire consequences for a boat’s performance on top of the water.
At a time when most boaters are tucking their vessels into storage for the winter season, avid anglers are revving up for cold weather fishing. But cold weather can be hard on boats and it’s worth taking steps to ensure you don’t find yourself adrift on chilly waters.
Jesse Boaz of FJ Propeller Midwest in Osage Beach, MO shares tips for protecting your prop no matter the weather.
Give your prop a gander before you drop in the water
“Regular prop inspections should be on a boater’s “must-do” list,” Boaz stressed. “This means inspecting the prop before the boat goes in the water and after it comes out – every, single, time.”
Boaters should carefully inspect their props for hairline cracks, particularly in the leading and trailing edges. These can be repaired, but if they aren’t fixed and fixed properly, you’ll eventually lose the blade and that’s damage that typically can’t be repaired.
Check the prop nut to ensure that it’s tight to the engine manufacturer’s specs, and make sure the cotter pin is secure. Prop nuts can loosen up during the course of a season and cause the propeller ring to fly off leaving you adrift on chilly waters.
Tangled up in Fishing Line
While fishing line is a vital tool for reeling in a big catch, it can cause big problems when caught in your prop. For this reason, Boaz stressed the need for in-depth prop maintenance at least two or three times throughout the boating season.
Start by completely removing the propeller from the engine to get rid of any stray fishing line that may have wrapped itself around the prop shaft. After removing the line, wipe off all the grease on the propeller shaft and the seal surrounding the prop shaft at the rear of the gearcase. Carefully examine the seal for any scoring or wear.
If you suspect fishing line has damaged the prop shaft seal, have the lower unit looked at by a certified technician before using it again. Otherwise, you can simply coat the propeller shaft with the manufacturer recommended marine grease, rubbing generous amounts of the grease onto the surface by hand. Reinstall the propeller; tighten the prop nut to spec and place a new cotter pin through the prop nut and prop shaft to keep the propeller where it belongs.
Can It Be Fixed?
While most propellers can be repaired, there are times when the cost to do so might be more than purchasing a new prop.
“If the propeller is severely bent and torn to shreds the cost of welding and straightening could outweigh the cost of buying a new one,” Boaz said. “But it’s is always a good idea to have a shop check the prop out first to determine if it should be fixed or replaced.”
Given that even the slightest fault in a propeller blade can mean a 10-15 percent decrease in gas mileage and performance, utilizing the latest advanced technology to have your boat propeller accurately diagnosed and precisely repaired is a well-worthwhile investment.
Located at 1250 Runabout Dr.; Osage Beach, MO, FJ Propeller is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. Learn more online at www.FJPropellerMidwest.com or call