Quickly remove dirt from the propeller without diving


Unfortunately, countless things are floating around the world in the water and it happens again and again that you catch dirt with the propeller. That could be some seaweed or a plastic bag, for example. Before jumping into the water, the following three tricks can be tried.

Observe with the action cam

If you have a waterproof action cam on board, you can fix it to the boat hook and record a film underwater. This provides a quick overview of the situation. So I know immediately what the problem is and can act accordingly.

Give backward thrust

Usually you catch algae and other things while driving forward. Therefore, it is not uncommon to get rid of the “dirt” by taking the gear out while driving forward, waiting a few seconds and then giving a strong backward thrust for 2-3 seconds while the ship continues to move forward. This can make it possible to unwind and get rid of the wound-up troublemaker. The current, still coming from the front, carries away the garbage.

In rare cases, this can also be achieved with ropes that are still connected to the ship – for example a stern line that is still occupied and the other end of which has accidentally got into the water and into the propeller. Then reverse gear may only be engaged for a maximum of one second while the leash is pulled in parallel. A high degree of caution for hands and feet is required. I have already managed to get a stuck ship’s propeller maneuverable again.

Release the fishing buoy with pressure

On a long voyage it happens again and again that you collide with a fishing buoy – for example, there are thousands of them along the Portuguese coast. Especially at night they can hardly be seen. If there is a collision, in most cases nothing happens. The buoy simply drifts past the ship’s side.

It becomes difficult, however, if the buoy is constructed in such a way that it also has a small additional floating body that is used by the fisherman to take it up. Both floats are connected to each other with a line about two meters long. If you hit the middle with the bow, a floating body will run past on each side of the ship and the yacht could get stuck. With the keel, with the propeller or the rudder blade.

This is a problem under the machine when the line gets into the screw. On the other hand, under sails it is not necessary, as it was not wound up. And since the long bottom line is only on one of the two floats, it is often enough to sail stubbornly on. This creates a lot of pressure on the team and mostly the thin styrofoam floating bodies then somehow go through under the ship. Which in turn means that the buoy no longer gets stuck.


These are just a few small tips, but they have helped me many times. If you save going into the water, that’s great. Because emergency work on the high seas with waves in the water is not a pleasure and not without danger. Therefore, the above tricks should be tried first. There is no guarantee of this, of course, but it is worth a try.

I cannot judge to what extent the suggestions work with a folding propeller. So far I have only used it with fixed propellers. Therefore, my tips primarily relate to this.

Well, and if all of that doesn’t help, all that’s left is going into the water. But then you at least have the good feeling that you’ve tried everything beforehand.

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