Pick the Propeller That’s Right for You

propIf fuel efficiency and thrift are important to you – and let’s face it, most small boat owners are a bit hard up for cash these days – consider thinking outside the box. We’ve sung the virtues of fuel flow meters, marine GPS units and routine maintenance habits, all of which will help you save on fuel and maximize your fishing or cruising experience. Still, these are far from the only serious steps a money-savvy boat owner can take to cut down on costs. For instance, make sure you choose a two cycle oil that meets all EPA environmental regulations. Then focus your attention on picking a propeller.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no one propeller that’s guaranteed to be right for every situation. Boaters should tailor their prop choice according to their habits and needs. The blade shape, diameter and pitch are all common variables. It’s not unusual for boaters to overload their crafts with passengers, fuel and gear – and the weight of the boat can make all the difference in terms of fuel efficiency.

Make a list of the amount of passengers, gear, coolers and other essentials you might take onboard your boat. Present this list to your boat dealer and ask him or her to find a suitable prop. You can then test your propeller by installing it and testing it out under loaded conditions. Bring the boat up to full throttle and watch to see if it reaches maximum RPM. If not, you may need a different prop.

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