Propeller shafts are large pieces of metal that penetrate your hull while spinning many thousands of revolutions every mile you travel. What could go wrong? In the near calamity I shared in I Learned About Boating From This, a prop shaft slid from its coupling, which left me with one engine and no steering near a notorious reef. I also had a large hole below the waterline instead of a shaft inside its stuffing box, and it could have been worse. Here’s a look at a few problems to avoid.
Quick Tip: Tightening prop nuts by wedging a block of wood between the hull and one blade can misshape that blade. Instead, Hale says, hit the wrench with a heavy block of wood. “Instead of linear force, you’re using shock force, which you can overcome just by holding the prop with your hand.”