Boat propellers are prone to damage, they can range from small chips in the stainless prop, aluminum prop or bronze prop to severe blade damage. Given that your boat propeller is what connects your engine to the water, do not discount or underestimate the impact of a damaged prop. Any damage to your propeller blade will affect the boat performance. Think of an out of balance tire on your vehicle, the small weight can cause significant damage to the tire, vibration in the steering wheel and poor fuel efficiency. The most significant effect of a damaged boat propeller, will be on the hydrodynamic qualities of the propeller. Think of the blades as small wings spinning at very high speed up to 5500 RPM, at these speeds the water flowing over the blades is traveling extremely fast and therefore even the slightest damage will have a very significant effect on the water flow, resulting in reduced performance, causing vibration in the steering wheel and throughout the hull and overall poor fuel efficiency.
Following are recommendations for maintaining your boat propeller:
- Regular inspections
- Repair damaged props
- Replace severely damaged props
- Carry a spare prop onboard, just like a spare tire
- Seek a certified mechanic advice when in doubt