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From the Bilge


Category: General

We've all seen it. That lovely looking boat cruising down the river being stalked by clouds of billowing black smoke. " What a shame" we mutter under our breath. " Looks like he's up for some big bucks" others will say. And the wise old man on the hill will be thinking, " Bloody good feed of mussels going to waste !"

There is every chance that if you're experiencing loss of speed and-or revs, and you're blowing a bit more black smoke than usual, and the engines vitals are looking ok, you've got a fouled prop/s.

It's not uncommon, especially when the water is warmer, for your fresh antifoul to be clean and your prop/s to be attracting serious growth inside 4 weeks. In this age of " we've got an answer for everything" ( just ask Kevin '07 ), there are a few expensive treatments available to counter marine fouling to propellors, and even claim enhanced overall performance and improved fuel consumption. I've heard that these treatments work very well most of the time, but if your boat sits idol for more than a couple of weeks, marine growth, especially barnacles, can establish themselves and propogate with gay abandon. It is certainly not uncommon, that during a routine pre purchase out of water hull inspection we will find 'treated' props with barnacles firmly attached.

I suppose the point I am getting at here is: Clean prop/s have a major positive effect on the optimum performance of your vessel.

So, if your craft has dropped a knot or two, don the mask and snorkel, jump in and have a look, you just might be surprised with what you find.

If your prop/s are raw, that is bare bronze, a paint scraper, scourer pad and medium wet and dry sandpaper will be sufficient to bring 'em back to their best. If they are antifouled or 'treated', a gloved hand could be used to gently remove the growth. Please remember that it is an offence to tamper with your antifouling whilst your vessel is in our beautiful waterways - so major defouling should be done on the hard stand.

Similarly, a dented, bent or jagged prop blade can severely reduce your props' efficiency. Electrolosis is another factor that can effect your props' performance, should it take hold. These problems will require you to enlist specialist help.

There you go - look after your prop/s and you'll get there sooner, and at less cost.

Cheers and safe boating

Lach Simpson and Chris Mews