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I was looking through my old columns and came across a few things that are pertinent to the middle of boating season. One has to do with keeping your bilge clean, one with replacing the prop after you slammed an unmarked shoal in the GSB (or in my case, the Peconics) and the last with the most overlooked piece of equipment on your boat. That said…

Bilges Can I clean my bilge with chlorine? Chlorine is a corrosive, so my initial thought was, that at best it’d be NG for wiring and maybe pump diaphragms, as well as any metal bits and pieces. My other answer would be, how much chlorine are you using and why? But …

I spoke with Bo Gell, Product Manager at Xylem Industries, which makes Rule and Jabsco pumps and he had the following to say.

The pumps are tested against normal bilge cleaners, and petroleum products (oil residue and whatnot) to “ignition protection standards.” That said, the bilge pumps have never been tested against chlorine. If they were to be tested, said Gell, it would have to be on a pump specific basis because they are/may be constructed with different materials.

“I’m not trying to avoid an answer,” said Gell. “The fact is we’ve never tested the bilge pumps for use with chlorine to detect any compatibility problems.” (Ask Capt. Gary 2013)

Replacing a prop for first-timers This is probably one of the simpler and most straightforward things to be done on any boat … assuming your prop hasn’t welded itself to the prop shaft — a reason to remove it at year’s end. This is how you put it back, so reverse the order to take it off!

Tools. You’ll probably need a wooden or fiberglass hammer, and a piece of scrap wood to stop the prop from spinning when you remove or tighten the nut holding it onto the shaft. You’ll need grease (I use Mil Comm 1210 heavy duty bearing grease on just about anything that needs to be greased. They’re out of East Brunswick, NJ; www.mil-comm.com), some rags, a rubber glove, a socket wrench to match the prop nut (I use a 1/2-inch ratchet with a 1-1/16 inch socket), and that’s it.

Grease the shaft and splines. Take the thrust washer— the big, round, brass, sort of washer-on-awasher — and slide it on the prop shaft. The smaller side should be facing you (it should have the part number on it). Push as far forward as it will go.

Take the cushion inner hub — the five inch-or so, hollow, square, plastic-feeling thingy — and slide it into your prop from the front side (the side of the prop with the flare is the side facing aft). The hub goes in with the end that has the slots cut into it first. You can tap it, top seat it.

Slide the aft drive adapter (the bronze thing with teeth and splines) into the cushion hub and seat it firmly in the hub and against the prop.

Slide the prop onto the shaft. If it’s the correct size and you’ve done it right, it’ll slide on with no problem at all.

Depending on how you finish off the prop — with a nut and cotter pin; a washer, nut and cotter pin; or with a Nylock nut and locking tab washer — do it and you’re finished. Note that there is a torque rating for the prop nut, which can be found in your manual.

The prop should have no fore-and-aft play, and should spin freely. Ta-da. (Ask Capt. Gary 2012)

Finally. Something You’ve Never Done Take a look at your VHF antenna. Looks really dull, huh? Wax it … it makes that forlorn piece of white fiberglass look a bunch better. I couldn’t believe how banged up mine appeared when I actually looked at it. I’m sure this works with radar domes, as well. It’s part of the boat and a damn important part. Don’t neglect it.


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