You’ve gotten a boat and it’s time to do some maintenance and inspection. You find that your propeller has a few chips in it and decide that it should probably be replaced. The question is, can you do it yourself or should you take it to a professional? The answer is, you can do it yourself and save a ton of money in the process. Changing the propeller on a boat is a pretty simple process that takes a minimal amount of mechanical know how and a few tools.
Here’s how it’s done.
- Purchase a quality propeller from a boat supply store. You will find that there are normally two options for propellers for most boats. You can purchase either a steel propeller, which is generally more expensive, but will last a great deal longer as it withstands abuse better than aluminum; or an aluminum propeller, which is generally less expensive. Either one is fine, so feel free to choose the aluminum prop, just be prepared to replace it in a few years.
- Mark the location of the old prop before you take it off. This way you will know which way to put the new one on. Just mark the location of the fins on the hull or other nearby area with a semi permanent marker. Also mark the location of the propeller on the prop shaft (the backside of the prop) so that you know how far the new prop should fit on the shaft.
- Loosen the prop nut and pull off the old propeller. This is probably a good time to mention that propellers can get stuck onto the shaft, making them difficult to remove sometimes. Having a prop puller on hand can make this part of the job easier.
- Slide the new prop in place and secure the prop nut.
You’re done! Here are a few tips to keep in mind. Wear gloves when handling the props as the blades are extremely sharp, or at least they should be. Invest fifteen or so dollars in a prop puller. This handy little device can mean the difference in the thirty-minute job and a three-hour job. Last but not least, inspect your prop thoroughly at least annually and give it a once over when you get it out of the water to make sure there are no defects in the metal. This process will ensure that you and you boat have a long, happy relationship.