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Old 03-19-2017, 10:26 AM   #1
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Fouled running gear

I thought I would start a thread on the topic of lines, nets, etc wrapped around props and shafts.
There have been cases in my boating career having this happen to me and seeing firsthand others with this issue.

Seems to me there are three categories of managment of this:

class 1: Cruisers who may or not worry about this, but have the mindset of not ever considering going down and fixing anything fouled. Not making judgements here, there can be very valid reasons for staying safely aboard a boat, even if its dead in the water. Basically, "i'm reaching for a phone or mic to fix this".

class 2: "Sure, i'll tackle this issue". There is some snorkling gear aboard and I have a sharp knife. I'm usually in warm water, and see no reason against at least trying to stay independant.

class 3: These folks are headed for the far reaches, may include cold water, single engine operation. They want to stay independant at almost any cost or prep level. This one is a tougher nut to crack. We are talking jumping into the ocean, let's say up to 1 meter seas, at 33 to 55 degrees water temperatue, with enough wherewithall to accomplish removal of a tight wrap of 1.5" poly line at the prop, strut, shaft area.

I'm curious at both the level of prep for such events, and especially interested to hear of stories with a happy ending for class 2 and 3. I have lots of suggestions for class 3, but let see how this develops.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:01 AM   #2
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Hooka, wetsuit, probably a hacksaw instead of the knife.probably wear my bIke helmet too.

No sweat in 55 degree water...not sure how long my hands would last in 33.....but I doubt I would boat in much less than 50 degree water if I was far from help.

A man's gotta know his limitations (heard that someplace awhile back )
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:12 AM   #3
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I wrapped a line at night in about 42F water. I went in fully dressed including shoes, gloves and jacket, and a non immersible flashlight. Was able to clear it in a several minutes. Miserably cold, but the clothing really helped. Was sensing loss of physical capability toward the end. Had a dry change of clothes on the boat. Flashlight kept working for the event, but died soon after.

Ever since then I have an intense dislike of entering cold water.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:12 AM   #4
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Experienced a type 3 on my old Bristol 35.5 sailboat. Idiot move (Jib line over the side) by me caused a prop stall and a blow (15-20 knot winds) onto a lee shore on a cold April day on the Chesapeake. Family aboard, No other boats on the water, Boat pounding on the bottom, dusk approaching, NO options. I had to go over in very cold water. Managed to cut things free but suffered hypothermia in the process...Managed to kedge off and get into my Marina in Swan Creek after much effort using the now free'd engine and sails. Luckily the boat only drew 3'6" with the board up. It was not fun. My wife was terrified. Required a haul out and strut bearing replacement the next week. It could have been much worse.

On Heron I now have a wet suit, and an appropriate rescue knife should this happen again..We boat all year round here, so very cold water is always a possibility. Hope to not ever do that again, but stuff happens as we all know..
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:22 AM   #5
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Hooka (tank on boat), wetsuit or drysuit, and a selection of cutting tools. Pretty much can handle most of what comes along. Don't have a prop puller for my 2.5" shaft. For some reason that 28" propeller gets heavier every time I handle it on land. Probably need to leave that job to somebody else underwater. While I have dove in water below 35 degrees, it's no fun. Don't see myself cruising anymore where the water is below 45 degrees, so I should be fine.

I would also add that being able to dive under your boat allows you to do routine maintenance such as replace zincs, clean though hull strainers, clean transducers, clean the bottom & running gear, clean & service the bow thruster, and do inspections before big trips.

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Old 03-19-2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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We have fouled the prop a few times. I usually go over first with a snorkel and mask to see what we need to clear it. I have a hooka and wet suit if needed. I was able to pull the section of drain line right off. I like those the best.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:03 PM   #7
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Had trap lines foul a prop twice - once on a single screw in the San Juan Islands & once on a twin screw in the FL Keys. Both times jumped overboard with mask & snorkel to cut them away, although did have a wetsuit in Washington. No big deal to me, but I was a commercial diver, primarily doing yacht maintenance, back BC (before college - almost five decades ago).

Last year I was going into a brand new slip, which had never been occupied, in a marina in Rhode Island. My prop tagged something and people were amazed that I grabbed my mask & snorkel & jumped overboard to see what was going on. Unfortunately, what was going on was a shallow rock that no one seemed to know about...

It doesn't take much to get me over the side to check out under the waterline, but conditions, obviously, have to be reasonable.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:12 PM   #8
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I've fouled the props twice. Once on the first trip in our old boat, my dad ran over a crab trap float, easy to do in the gulf. Pretty calm seas though 10 miles offshore. I went over and cut the line loose. Not that big a deal, but tiring.

A couple of years ago in the Bahamas we were setting the anchor for lunch on the edge of a sandbar, just a little ways off of a lee, rocky shoreline. The anchor drug and we backed off, picking up the dinghy painter in the process. Fouled both props and one rudder. Anchor continued to drag but slowed us down enough to give me time to cut the line free just before we went up on the rocks. That one was scary. Warm clear water helped a lot in both cases.

I've found a serrated bread knife to be very effective at cutting free tightly wrapped lines. They are long enough to make good strokes, flexible, and cut fast. Just my .02 cents.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:17 PM   #9
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We had a 1.5 up in Maine a few years ago. Snagged on a lobster trap line. My wife wanted to go in, but I didn't want her to. The boat was bouncing up and down more than I was comfortable with. We finally just put it in gear and gave her some gas and shredded the line. Installed Shark Cutters shortly after.

Now we have dive gear and wet suits, so are better prepared should someone need to go in, but my biggest concert is boat movement and the diver getting whacked by some part of the boat.

I know two people who got tangled in nets crossing the pacific this past spring. These were #3 events. Actually, one of them got caught up twice. One boat dove to cut free, and the other used a go-pro to observe the net while carefully rotating the prop back and forth to untangle it. I don't think that would have been possible if it was really wrapped tight, but worked very well under their circumstances and avoided sending someone into the water.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:17 PM   #10
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I have a distaste for immersion in cold water and don't do well in it. The process of getting my ice diving cerification did teach some things, but I really could not ever exceed about 20-25 minutes in 33deg water. This was done in my US Army drysuit, which is pretty well set up for this kind of thing. Heavily reinforced with applied cordura nylon, attached latex full head hood, and snap on dry gloves with double O ring seals and two dry liners inside. Even so, my hands gave out first. Burning cold. Later in the course, I went with some chemical heaters for the hands; that does help.

But back to boats. Luckily not had to do an open ocean prop swap, but I was set up to do so, and have done my props at anchor. Those were just 16" and 1 1/4"; small stuff. Having an Algonic prop puller that needs no other tools is a plus.
I"ve used mostly a tank on the deck or platform with a long second stage hose. Manytimes, I'll stand upside down under the hull, to get enough leverage to loosen the prop nuts. Also, gets your head away from the hull. If this is required in really cold water, its dry suit time. And, with double underwear, you are looking at 30 lbs of lead just to submerge you, if you are thin. With dry gloves, I doubt I could get the cotter pin out and not poke a hole in them. You don't want to carry even small props underwater; use lines to the surface. You still need to manuver the hanging replacement prop into position. That is the single most challenging task.

If I'm looking at distance cruising with water temps under 70, I'm packing my dry suit.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:19 PM   #11
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Fouled on a trap line off Newport RI, seas over 3 ft, lee shore, could not grab the line by dragging dinghy anchor around boat, no choice but to go in. Tied a nylon ribbon to a very sharp knife, put it around my neck and dove in. Extremely cold and scary with stern smashing up and down 6-8 ft on every wave. Cut through it quickly and glad I had a safety line tied on.

Called SeaTow next time it happened.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diver dave View Post
I have a distaste for immersion in cold water and don't do well in it. The process of getting my ice diving cerification did teach some things, but I really could not ever exceed about 20-25 minutes in 33deg water. This was done in my US Army drysuit, which is pretty well set up for this kind of thing. .
Met the local dive guy the other day doing a cleaning. He quoted me a price, but suggested later in the season would be more economical as he didn't have to charge for his Dry suit use....I guess they are not cheap...
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:27 PM   #13
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I don't understand this, if your scenario is 1 meter seas, boat moving up and down and up and down, when your under the boat, will the boat be slamming into your body? Sounds like a recipe for serious injury- death.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
I don't understand this, if your scenario is 1 meter seas, boat moving up and down and up and down, when your under the boat, will the boat be slamming into your body? Sounds like a recipe for serious injury- death.
Scary and dangerous. Hanging on to the prop shaft while cutting away you sort of move with the boat. Coming back up for air was a little sketchy. If you grabbed the stern ladder before letting go of the prop shaft you were good. All a matter of timing. Wife wasn't too happy.

I'm putting a tank and regulator aboard this year. There may be times SeaTow isn't available.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:56 PM   #15
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Able to work number 3 until 40 degree.. after that, even with vodka you could get flu or worst so...
Installed shark cutter after foul prop more times than I remember... Seems like I have a magnet for stupid floating things or nest lines doing nothing, just floating in the middle of the ocean...
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:38 PM   #16
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I keep a shorty wetsuit and mask/fins/snorkel on board. Have shaft sharks too. Last summer came back to the boat one evening and could see line hanging under the boat. Don't know how long it had been there. Went over to check - water about 68 and found about a 5 foot piece of pot warp rather loosely wrapped. Easy to get off in a nice calm harbor.

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