A Boaters New Year's Resolution List

Typical people have New Year’s resolutions that traditionally include, saving money, losing weight, quitting smoking, boat resolutionstart exercising, start a new hobby, etc.  Boaters tend to have a different type of resolution list.  Here are a few of our boating resolutions for 2019! 
  1. Spend More Time on the Water
  2. Explore New Bodies of Water
  3. Learn About My Helm Electronics (go through the full tutorials to discover the true capability of all of the buttons and gadgets) 
  4. Share my love of boating with friends and family
  5. Protect my (and my families) skin from the sun (sunscreen, hats, protective clothing)
  6. Brush up on my boater safety (Maybe even take a Boater Safety Course) 
  7. Stay on top of boat maintenance and care
  8. Do my part to keep the beaches, shores, and water clean (never pollute, pick up trash in and around the water, encourage others to do the same) 
  9. Abstain from all alcohol while I am driving my boat.  The same laws apply in the water as on land and I want to be alert and aware at all times while behind the wheel.
  10. Do a boating maintenance task that I have been putting off (i.e. install the LED navigation lights, change the steering helm, rewire the power distribution panel, etc) 
  11. Begin planning and saving for my dream boating trip (my personal goal: Jacksonville/St.Augustine)  
What are your boating resolutions?  

The Propshaft: What It is, What it Does, What You Can Do…

An often overlooked and neglected part of your boat motor is the propshaft.  Without proper care and maintenance, the pshaftpropshaft can cause a major headache.  The propshaft is the piece that connects the pinion bearings of the lower gearcase with the propeller.  The two propshaft seals act as covering around the shaft to keep water ane elements from entering the gearcase.  If these seals fail then you could be looking at costly repairs.

It is important to regularly maintain this part of your outboard.  Start when your boat is out of the water or on the trailer. Shift your motor into neutral, remove the key from the ignition, and pull the kill switch in order to prevent any catastrophic injuries.  Begin by getting eye-level with the prop and manually spinning it. If you see any wiggle to the prop as it’s spinning you can know right away that the shaft is bent and needs fixed asap. (Driving on a bent shaft is equivalent to driving a car with a wheel out of balance)

Next give the propeller a thorough inspection.  Make sure blades are on the same plane when you spin it, look for bent blades or big dings in the sides of the blades.  To further inspect the propshaft you will want to remove the propeller (a socket and a screwdriver should suffice). Spin off the nut and lock washer and then you should be able to slide the prop off the shaft.  Behind the propeller will be a thrust washer, you will want to slide this off as well but pay close attention to which was it was put on. You will want to wipe off the thrust washer and inspect for damage. If it looks like the washer has been spinning under the prop then that means the prop nut was not adequately tightened.  

The main goal with all of this is to keep everything lubricated and not damaged.  The prop shaft itself needs to be especially lubricated to avoid the propeller corroding itself to the shaft.  Apply the lubrication liberally as you re-assemble the pieces to the propeller, remembering to put the thrust washer back into place.  In addition to ensuring all the nuts are tightened securely, many service manuals suggest retightening the nut after you’ve run the outboard once and thrust has seated all parts.  


Getting Your Boat Propeller Ready for Winter

Now this may seem counterintuitive for me to tell you how to preserve the life and integrity of your boat prop since my life’sbreakfast work is repairing boat props and I’m essentially teaching myself out of business, but here goes.  :) 

You will need to pull the propeller off of the outboard or sterndrive motor.  Once it is removed you will want to put a fresh coat of grease on the splines.  By re-greasing the splines you are helping to ensure that the prop does not get “frozen” or stuck on the shaft.  (Once a prop is frozen on it is usually a nightmare to get it off and often times the process of yanking it off, using chemicals, and using heat will end up costing you more in repairs)  

There are a variety of different greases on the market today that can help keep your splines & prop lubricated.  You will want to stay away from any anti-seize compounds if you intend to have your boat in salt water since it will cause a galvanized reaction and therefore make the problem worse.  Instead, you want to use a water-proof marine grease. We also recommend products such as, The Mercury Special 101 with Teflon or X2 Tripleguard but you can get away with using cheaper options as well.  Even if you aren’t storing your boat for the winter or live somewhere where the weather allows you to boat year round (lucky you) you will still want to grease the splines at least once a year!   Best of luck and happy boating!


Diameter, Cupping, & Drag... All Keys to a Good Propeller

A term that is important to know when choosing or replacing your boat propeller is diameter.  To determine diameter of your prop measure first determine the circumference (which is the distance around your prop) and then measure from one side propto the other straight across to get diameter.  A majority of manufacturers determine the propeller diameter based on the pitch & horsepower of the boat but diameters are really limitless based on personal preference. A general rule of thumb is; the lower the pitch of a propeller is the larger the diameter will be.  

Cupping is another term that you will need to know when discussing your propeller.  Most propellers have some level of cupping to them, which is where the final trailing edge of the propeller has a bend or curve that tilts away from the boat.  Cupping helps to increase overall performance by increasing pitch which will also lower the rpms. The placement and severity of the cupping determines the rpm and overall performance of the propeller/boat.  

A final term to keep in mind when deciding on the appropriate propeller for your boat is drag.  Drag is the slowing down that occurs when the underside blade is in the water. If vibration and calibration could be controlled a propeller with one blade would be the fastest and most efficient due to a lack of drag (but we all know that it is not a feasible way to create propellers due to many reasons).  As blades are added to the propeller the drag is increased. But the argument for more blades is that it will decrease the time between load and unload time (of water) which will make the process seem smoother. Propellers can come with anywhere between 2 and 6 blades and the ideal number is based on a great deal of factors including pitch, engine capability, and use of boat.