Problems with your boat’s propeller can make a day on the water memorable – for all the wrong reasons. To keep a damaged prop from leaving you stuck at the dock, or worse, stranded offshore, here are a few tips for maintaining your boat’s propeller.
First, and perhaps most important, always have a spare prop onboard. Think of it like a spare tire for your car. Having a spare prop onboard means if your propeller gets damaged you still have a way to get your boat – and you – home. It also means you can keep using your boat while your main prop is being repaired.
Give your boat a visual inspection before each outing. Look for any nicks or dents. If you find any, get it fixed. Running your boat on a damaged prop can lead to severe damage to your propeller, engine or stern gear.
Pay attention to your boat’s performance. If you notice a loss of power or speed, a drop in fuel efficiency, or any vibration or cavitation, those are often signs of a propeller problem that you may not be able to see.
Completely remove your propeller a couple of times each season to remove anything that may have gotten tangled around it, namely fishing line.
Grease your propeller shaft with waterproof grease to keep it from getting corroded and becoming stuck in place.
Keep an eye on the prop nut. It can loosen over the course of a season, and you don’t want it falling into the deep.
Make sure to clean your prop regularly to prevent corrosion and discoloration.