It's "Maintenance Monday" and today we're talking about your boat's propeller(s). If you have an outboard or stern drive boat you should always visually check the propeller as part of your pre-trip routine. Use a deep well socket to remove the propeller several times during the season to make sure discarded fishing line hasn't become wrapped around the propeller shaft. If it has, have your boat maintenance person inspect the gear case because fishing line can cause gear case leaks, and that's not normally a do-it-yourself job.
While you have the propeller off, inspect it for nicks, dents and other signs of damage. It’s alright if your prop is missing paint, but send it out for repairs if you find signs of impact. The smallest dent can cause your boat to lose performance and burn excessive fuel. A damaged prop also can vibrate, putting too much stress on bearings and seals causing additional damage.
Finally, put a liberal amount of waterproof grease on the propeller shaft to prevent corrosion from “freezing” it in place. Then re-install the propeller and hardware in the same order that you took them off. Tightening the nut snugly and secure the locking tabs against the nut so it can’t back off the shaft threads. Lastly, make sure that a new cotter pin is installed through the shaft in back of the locking nuts as an added level of security.
Any other maintenance questions specific to your vessel? Feel free to ask here, or call Mariner Services, Inc. direct at (239)776-4253!