Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Run Through a Propeller Checklist to Ensure Top Performance and Safety

Springtime is the official start of the boating season and it's also a good time for performance boaters to run through a prop check list -- because the wrong or damaged prop can negatively impact performance, increase fuel use, and lead to potentially expensive problems at the worst time: while you're out on the water.

I'm especially aware of this because I have some prop issues of my own - some minor dings that I picked up - courtesy of some unseen rocks that I drifted into last year.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.boattest.com

“Even if you don’t suspect prop damage, you should check for it,” says Brett Anderson of BBLADES, one of the country's best known full-service propeller companies. “A ding or a dent – or worse – could have occurred when trailering the boat for the final time last year, while the boat was in transit or even in storage. Look for the obvious, and then look closer for cracks that may run through one or more blades.”

Anderson suggests a magnifying glass could help locate pitting or hairline cracks that could lead to bigger problems later. He also points out that over or under propping can not only affect boat performance but also fuel economy by causing an engine to work harder.

“High engine rpm that is the result of an inefficient set-up –how high or low the prop sits in the water, or the result of a high prop slip percentage, can often be corrected by changing to a propeller that has more blades, changing the depth of the prop in the water or changing the pitch, diameter or other prop geometry,” he explains. Anderson defines “slip” as the difference between actual and theoretical travel created by one revolution of the prop.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.boatsblog.com

Racers are always focused on the condition of their props, but sometimes the rest of us may neglect to consider the importance of the propeller that's on our boat. The propeller is the final link in the boats drive train, and is the piece of the puzzle that connects the horsepower to the water...so ensuring its proper care and performance is vital. Professional prop shops like BBLADES can help a boater determine prop slip over the phone in many cases, and offers test programs to help boaters determine the right prop and the right drive height.

For more information, contact them at http://www.bblades.com - or call them at 920-295-4435.

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