Your boat’s propeller is as essential to a perfect boating experience as water and sunshine. But boaters often take props for granted . . . only to regret it later. Neglecting your prop can end up costing you more in gas, damaging your boat or leaving you stranded on the water. Give your boat’s propeller the same care and attention you give your engine by maintaining it regularly.
Remove your boat’s propeller several times over the course of the boating season to check if fishing line or other debris has wrapped around the shaft. If it has, have a professional inspect the gear case, as fishing line can often cause gear case leaks.
Look for any imperfections on your propeller. A damaged prop can hurt your boat’s performance, make it less fuel–efficient and even cause more serious problems. Carefully examine it for any nicks, dents, missing pieces or other signs of damage. Look at your prop from the side to see if it is bent. If there are no visible signs of damage, there may still be problems with your prop if your boat has been vibrating or you’ve noticed a drop in speed or fuel economy.
Be sure to use plenty of waterproof grease on your propeller shaft to keep corrosion from locking it up. Make greasing the prop shaft part of your regular boat maintenance routine. Also, check that the propeller’s nuts and fittings are all tight.
Finally, it’s a good idea to carry a spare prop with you in case of on-the-water emergencies. It may keep you from being stranded offshore, and having a spare allows you to keep boating when your main prop is being repaired.