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Old 08-07-2018, 09:49 PM   #1
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Wrapped a line around my prop. Thatís was fun :/

This is one of those things Iíve been told everyone does sooner or later. For me it was sooner and I was lucky enough to be in my slip when it happened.

After finishing up a complete fuel filter service on our twin Lehmanís I was running each engine in gear, one at a time, in the slip to get them up to temp and ensure no air was in the fuel system.

Port engine went well with no issues. I started the starboard engine and after a short idle I put her in gear, immediately hearing a cracking sound and the engine died.

Shut everything off at the helm and ran down to check things. The starboard stern line, which I had nearly piled up on the rail the day before to get it out of the way of some outboard maintenance had fallen into the lake and wrapped itself around the prop.

With an old pair of diving goggles I found onboard and a trusty Gerber knife in hand I proceeded to remove/saw the line off the prop. BTW - holding your breath at 49 is much harder than it was at 29.

Fortunately there was no damage to the prop or shaft and no vibrations up to 1500 rpm. Iíll sea trial it this weekend.

The crack was the sound of the cleat pulling up 1/4 from the gunwale. Fixable but one more thing added to he list before we leave for the San Juan Islands.

This one was totally my fault but Itíll guarantee Iíll never put her in gear without checking the lines again.

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Old 08-07-2018, 09:52 PM   #2
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Damn! Sorry about that Airstream.

Iím just impressed you could stay in the cold water long enough to cut the line off, let alone hold your breath.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:21 PM   #3
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Actually it was damn hot today so the dip in the lake was very refreshing. Also, my zincs all looked good
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:59 PM   #4
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Some guys get all the luck. In your slip, tied to the dock and you have goggles on board.


Many years ago I caught a line in BOTH of my props while out on the river at 10:00 p.m. In OCTOBER-R-R-R-R-R. In 53* water. It took 35 minutes beneath the boat with a Maglite between my legs and a steak knife in my teeth to get it all cut loose.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:29 AM   #5
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Actually it was damn hot today so the dip in the lake was very refreshing. Also, my zincs all looked good


Ah.. the lake! No wonder. :-)
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:18 AM   #6
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Did that once in Nipigon Bay in Lk Superior. With no face mask aboard, I was fortunate to be able to just barely reach the prop from a position beside the swim platform (which gave me a necessary hand-hold). The culprit was a polypropylene tow line for our dinghy which had decided to NOT float. The incident happened at a mooring in a cove having a narrow entrance, in shallow water somewhat warmer than typical Lk Superior. I added a facemask to our gear right after that episode, along with a larger dia polypropylene line having better ability to float.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:37 AM   #7
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Done it twice. Once in the last boat which meant diving below with my knife, once on the dinghy rope on Sonas which the line cutters took care of - of course then I had a runaway dinghy to handle!!
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:42 AM   #8
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A new fresh serrated knife is your best friend to cut line.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:17 AM   #9
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On the first day we ever moved our boat ó to get it up to the Chesapeake nearer where I lived at the time ó I committed the worst error: running with a tight schedule. My son and I arrived at Fernandina after dark, a place I was unfamiliar with, in a boat I didnít know how to run and in powerful currents . . . and tried to pick up a mooring ball.

The first thing I learned was I canít hold a 46,000-lb boat by a mooring pennant in strong currents; it was just inexorably pulled out of my hands. The second thing to learn was those pennants are covered with razor-sharp crustaceans! As I was cursing a blue streak over having my hands shreddedóand bleeding all over the boatómy son was distracted enough on the helm to run over the pennant, wrap the line around the prop and stall the engine.

Diving on it in that current, in the dark, with two bloody hands was out of the question. But I also wasn't comfortable hanging on a mooring by our propshaft in a crowded field with our stern against strong currents. Luckily, a guy on another boat was able to take our anchor upcurrent in his dinghy and give us another point of contact with the bottom. The next morning a Towboat US diver had us detached from the pennant in about 10 secondsóconfirming my fears that we might not have been connected that well and could have slipped off in the night.

So many lessons learned from one incident!
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:12 AM   #10
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Yikes! After hearing these stories I'm feeling very lucky.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:34 AM   #11
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Lucky indeed. When I did this I had a bent shaft and strut, broken engine mount arm and transmission had to be rebuilt.
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:46 PM   #12
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Lake doesnít count. Worst was November, with the flu, just before dark and raining. Then there was that crab pot in Garrison Bay, the crab pot outside Everett with a good 75 feet of floating line. Most pathetic was Butchart Gardens, anchor line tangled, dingy painter in the prop, blocking the float plane trying to come into the dock with a crowd of about 20 watching the whole thing up on the hillside.

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Sadly, I have lots of experience in this particular department.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:37 PM   #13
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Never had a crab pot line do much of anything on many different kinds of boats...most of the time they get cut off at haulout or diver cleaning in my experience.


I certainly would only dive on one in near ideal conditions.


Virtually had some kind of line around the shaft/prop on the assistance towboat nearly all Summer every year and the trawler most years.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:53 PM   #14
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Reading Angus 99`s sad tale(ouch!), we carry leather faced gardening gloves, mainly in case of a hand anchor retrieve. They would be good, if you have the presence of mind to don them, picking up nasty objects like a fouled mooring pennant.
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:50 AM   #15
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I played this same game a few weeks ago when leaving Green Turtle Cay early in the morning.

Around 0530 and just outside of the marina I decided to go ahead and hook up the tender to the tow line. Moments after hooking up the line I realized that we were drifting into the mooring field.

My son was at the helm and was manipulating the controls and (admittingly) had a good handle on the situation. I ran up to the helm to "help" and after throwing the shifters into reverse, subsequently ran over the tow line.

I then dropped anchor and waited until the sun came up. After the sun came up, I grabbed what I call my "oh crap mask" from the back swim deck and jumped in. Sure enough, my 5/8" bridle was wrapped around my port engine and about 30' of dyneema rope was wrapped around my starboard.

Thankfully, I carry a size 60 scuba tank for such adventures and I was able to unwrap the lines after a few moments and no damage was noted.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:43 AM   #16
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I will second the hacksaw, cuts better and is easier to use underwater, of course and then there's this........
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:04 PM   #17
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Lucky indeed. When I did this I had a bent shaft and strut, broken engine mount arm and transmission had to be rebuilt.
Oh man. That was my immediate concern because the other end of the line was tied to the cleat. Fortunately I appear to have avoided any serious damage (engine was at idle and immediately stopped).
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:10 PM   #18
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About two weeks ago we found out that a floating tow line with floats attached can get sucked 3' under water into the prop when the boat is put into reverse to stop going past a mooring bouy. Luckily I had fed one foot of line through the ring before the boat stalled.

Also lucky for us the some friends with dive gear were within range with their jet boat dinghy to cut our prop clear.

Our daughter asked, "Why do we tow the dinghy anyway?" and I sheepishly answered, "Because it's convenient"

Never going to tow the dinghy again...
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:37 PM   #19
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This is drift, but imagine how dangerous. Every year during their migration,some whales get caught up in fishing lines,floats,nets etc which they drag along as they swim, impeded by them. Some very brave and resourceful people go to their rescue in small inflatable boats,to cut the fishing gear free.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:45 PM   #20
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BruceK, I've seen video of some of these efforts. Yes, bravery indeed. Knowing now how much effort it took to remove a small line from a small stationary boat tied to a dock in warm water, I cannot imagine what it takes to remove lines from enormous, live, moving, diving, spectacular animal at sea.
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