Selecting a boat prop can be challenging. Here are some boat propeller terms to help with a number of different factors that come into play during the selection process which we know can be confusing for a newcomer or even a veteran boat owner.
Boat Prop Hub
The boat prop hub acts as a connector between the propeller at the drive shaft. Each centralized hub is designed to fit a specific drive shaft system which varies by the manufacturer of the engine. There are two general types of hubs; fixed and removable. To learn more about hub types, visit our article “Fixed Hub Propeller or Removable Hub Propeller“.
Each drive shaft has a certain number of spline or “teeth”. The number of spline on the drive shaft must match up with the number of spline on the hub. If the spline doesn’t match, you have not selected the right boat prop.
Boat Prop Blades
Boat prop blades are attached to the hub and turn through the water. This turning motion provides the turning force required to push the boat through the water. In recreational boating, you will typically find a choice between three or four bladed props. To learn more about the difference between the two, visit our article “3 blade vs. 4 blade“.
Propeller pitch is the theoretical distance a boat prop will move through the water for each full 360° turn. Think of it as riding a bike with different gears. When you start off in a lower gear, it’s easy to peddle and get going right away. But if you’re in a higher gear, it will take longer to get going but you’ll get further. Unlike a bicycle, you only get one gear with a boat prop so it’s important to select one that will best meet your needs and boating style.