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Ask The Experts | Pontoon Boat Props
By Dan Armitage | Article courtesy of Boating Magazine

Ever wondered why the propellers you see on the engines of most pontoon boats resemble Mickey Mouse ears? The round, oversized blades – which actually are referred to as “ears” in the industry -- really stand out when compared to the sleek, angled blades sprouting from the sterns of most pleasure craft. And for good reason.

“Due to their design, pontoon boats require a lot of push to get them going,” explained David Meeler of Yamaha Marine, which produces two lines of propellers designed specifically for use on pontoon boats, “and the ability to move lots of water to maneuver the boat.”

Both are factors in the design of the large diameter, low pitch, round eared, minimum-rake propellers designed for pontoon boats.

“What you are looking for in a pontoon prop is lots of blade surface” with low pitch and rake angle, said Meeler. The large surface area pushes lots of water and the low pitch and rake allows for the engine to quickly build to the proper RPM for optimum control. Underway, because they push plenty of water, the larger diameter, oversized-ear props allow for more responsive handling, if not higher speed, when operating pontoon boats.

Four-bladed props offer even more surface area with which to move water for speed and control, especially in turns. According to Meeler, four-blade props can be beneficial on pontoons with three tubes, “which have some very different hydrodynamic needs,” and in instances when pontoon boats of any design carry heavy loads or need enhanced cornering capabilities.

Engines of all sizes that are used to propel pontoon boats benefit from being fitted with large-diameter, oversize-eared propellers, says Meeler, Four-bladed props offer even more surface area with which to move water for speed and control, especially in turns. According to Meeler, four-blade props can be beneficial on pontoons with three tubes, “which have some very different hydrodynamic needs,” and in instances when pontoon boats of any design carry heavy loads or need enhanced cornering capabilities.

[EDITOR’S NOTE] Find the largest selection of propellers at iboats.com

Article courtesy of Boating Magazine. To subscribe or view additional news from Boating Magazine, go to boatingmag.com.

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