Ignore this area of maintenance and you may just end up sinking your beloved ski boat. Therefore, at the beginning of the season, always check and adjust, if necessary, the packing to the stuffing box. The stuffing box has two basic functions: It provides a seal around the shaft to keep water from entering the boat, and it keeps the propeller shaft centered. Tighten the packing gland on the stuffing so there are only a few drops per minute, occurring when the shaft is turning. (Note: Water is required to lubricate packing, so don’t tighten to the point that there is no water dripping when the shaft is turning.) To get around this, you may want to install a dripless mechanical seal, which requires no maintenance, just an inspection once a year to make sure it hasn’t failed.