Stern Thrusters and Trash Do Not Mix!

We learned the hard way that our new SEP150 24V Side Power stern thruster does not mesh well with debris and trash in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.  Every time it rains heavily, it seems like the entire city’s trash comes through the antiquated sewer system and ends up in the water.  It takes days to get either cleaned up or sink to the bottom.   We see bottles, cans, wood, and other debris floating around the docks. It is really sad to see such a beautiful body of water being decimated week after week and not much is done to stop it.  

Our thruster sucked in some of this trash, just as we were leaving our slip a few weeks ago and severely damaged the port prop. I had heard the grinding. A few hours later, when anchored & swimming, i reached my hand into the cowlings to feel the blades.  To my surprise, the Port propeller was totally gone!! All 5-blades were broken off of the port prop.  All that was left was the hub & the anode.  Not good when backing back into our slip, with a 20 knot cross wind! Ophelia easily can get caught by the wind.  

I decided to remove the cowlings, so that I could replace the broken port propeller, with the boat in the water. This way I could do the work myself and not have to take the boat to a yard to haul out. Removing the cowlings took about an hour per side & was a little tricky.  If the boat had been on land, it would be 5 minutes!  There are about 6 or 7 thru-bolts for each cowling & you need extra long arms to reach to lower carriage bolts. 

With the cowlings removed, changing out the prop and anode is quick and simple.

I took the cowling home to install 1/8th of an inch, Black Fiberglass Rod.  I located the rod at a kite store for about $2.50 per 8 foot rod!  I drilled holes into the cowling, cut the rod length (taping to prevent shredding fiberglass) and epoxied them in place.   


With the epoxy dry, from overnight, I then sanded down the exterior, to a smooth finish, and will paint with black bottom paint to complete the job!  Hopefully this grate will 1) not reduce thrust and 2) will keep out trash!  Time will tell!


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