Boat Propeller Damage is Common Mishap

October 30th, 2013 | Posted by Ironwood Pacific in General Boating Interest

Boat Propeller Damage is Common Mishap

How many of you have experienced this:

Tweet about Damaged Boat Propeller

Ever had this happen? You’re not alone.

Even if you have clocked little time on a boat, you may know that damage to a boat’s propeller is as common as, say, running out of gas while fishing. It’s not shameful to admit that props get dinged, dented, scraped and damaged beyond repair. Frustrating, it is a fact of boating.

What Damages Boat Propellers?

Any number of scourges can befall the best prop, whether it be sturdy stainless steel or pliable aluminum. The folks at can swear to that. A prop can be damaged by chains or ropes, as the above Tweet testifies. Or propellers can be subject to debris, mainly logs and driftwood, and trash. Rocks and churning sand can also diminish pristine prop quality. Invasive plants can also be a culprit, as had been the case at Lake Austin in Texas earlier this year. Hydrilla was snagging boat propellers and choking other aquatic life at an all-time high.

When is Boat Prop Damage Harmful?

A quick checklist may help you decide if you need to replace your prop:

1. Do you notice a drop in performance? If your acceleration, cornering or general overall handling of your boat drops significantly, then consider replacement.

2. Feel a vibration? Bad sign. A vibration can damage other parts of your boat that you don’t want to have to replace, namely your motor!

3. Are you in the RPM range? Variations can result in poor fuel economy and other damage to your motor.

4. What’s the thickness of your blade? Know your baseline and watch this detail because it can affect performance.

4. Cracks in the blades? No question, time for a replacement.

6. When in doubt, get a boat mechanic’s advice. He’ll probably err on the side of caution, but who wants to be left stranded when your prop or motor stops working?

Rules of Thumb on Prop Maintenance

If you’ve run afoul with your prop, it’s best to inspect the propeller as soon as the suspected damage has occurred. If you heard something or felt a jolt, it’s likely that damage has happened. Props can be repaired, so it’s worth considering a repair versus a replacement IF the damage is caught in time. Some repair shops can offer same-day service and advise whether saving the prop is a worthwhile cause. In many cases, it could be just as cost effective to replace a prop rather than pay for piecemeal repair or welding. If you haven’t experienced a bump while cruising, then inspecting your prop regularly should be enough to keep it in good, working order.

Ironwood Pacific works with several retailing outlets, like, which carry many different brands and types of props. Check online boating retailers for more information about your propeller’s maintenance and upkeep.

On a final note, what happened at Lake Austin? Well, the locals decided to bring in hungry carp to rid the lake of the invasive Hydrilla. According to news reports, the plan worked.


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