Paul Williams, Managing Director at Clements Engineering, offers a few pointers to look out for to ensure propellers and stern gear are in tip top shape.
Now that winter has arrived and many people are lifting their boats out for the season they are often seeing the propellers for the first time in a year.
Once out of the water, the first step is to look at the stern gear. Dents, corrosion and damage is mostly quite visible and a simple check. Any visible signs should identify major issues.
Propellers must be in good condition to give you maximum output from your engine. A damaged propeller may cause vibrations and reduced speed, which you may need to resolve as the boat comes out of the water. A poorly fitted or broken propeller can increase fuel costs as the boat is not working as efficiently as it might do.
Very badly fitted stern gear and propellers can even cause bearing damage. Even minor damage to the propeller can easily lead to cavitation. These damages should always be repaired and it is advisable to keep a spare propeller on board where possible.
It is advisable to give the visible parts of the stern gear and propellers a wash off in clean fresh water, ideally with a high power jet wash to ensure they are clean and free from weed and barnacles. It is important to make sure the propellers fit the shaft correctly and is not key bound.
All seals should be checked for signs of leakage. If necessary seals should be replaced where required.
It is also advisable to check the anodes whilst the boat is out of the water and replace if necessary. This helps prevent corrosion via electrical leakage, which can easily be severe enough to mean a propeller needs replacing