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What Does a Skeg Do on a Boat Motor? – Skegs Significance

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

what does a skeg do on a boat motor

Do you wonder about the fin-shaped thing attached to your boat’s motors? It’s called skeg and aside from the term, you have to know its functions. What does a skeg do on a boat motor? A skeg is an extension or elongation of the keel of some vessels. In this case, it’s situated at the stern.

A skeg can also be a boat’s external engine. When it comes to functions, skegs are responsible for piloting the boat and the overall operation. It’s best to know all the details of skeg on a boat so read on.

Significance of Skegs on a Vessel

What is a skeg on a boat? In this part, the detailed functions of skegs are revealed. The sterndrive or outboard skeg has two significant roles.


1. As an accurate rudder

A skeg can act as an accurate rudder and it’s mostly beneficial to high-performance boats. With a boat skeg, your boat can safely and accurately turn without stressing the motor.

Furthermore, a skeg is vital to bass boats when they’re being steered on a plane. Take note that the steering torque can cause disaster if there’s no functional skeg. You won’t be able to control your boat as it just goes in any direction.

2. Protector of the propeller

A lower unit skeg is the protector of a propeller. Water and the instances of running aground can easily damage the propeller if there’s no skeg. The longer OEM skeg does the job efficiently and takes all the beating instead of the propeller. An aluminum skeg is prone to chipping and breakage when receiving the impact.

You may think that it costs a lot to replace a skeg but you don’t have to panic as a broken skeg can be repaired by welding. It will cost a lot to repair a stainless steel propeller and it’s even more expensive when replacement is needed.

But you can lower the amount that you spend on damages when your propeller is protected by a skeg. You can also protect your skeg by adding a skeg guard.

Why Do You Need a Skeg Guard?


Just when you think that an outboard motor skeg is enough, you need a skeg guard. It can keep you from spending a lot of money on repairs and replacements. Here are the benefits that you can gain when adding this part.

  • The skeg that is made of soft metal gets protected from rocks and other objects underwater.
  • A skeg guard replaces the skeg when it’s bent because of impact.
  • It reinforces the skeg so the driver can handle the boat properly even at a high speed.
  • You can’t always save money when repairing a skeg as a replacement might be necessary. The reason behind this is that many repair shops can’t repair the aluminum skeg. These shops don’t have enough experience in extensively handling aluminum since it’s a finicky material.

You should know how a skeg guard works to have a better understanding of why it can deliver these benefits. It’s reliable in helping you maneuver your boat and reducing drag.

This allows the boat to easily get up from the plane even at a lower speed. With this part, you can smoothly run your boat in shallow waters.

What Skeg Guard to Get and Installation Guide

It was explained to you why it’s worthwhile to get a skeg guard for your boat. I recommend Skegshield from Gator Guards since it can be installed to all models of boat motor from any make. There are different sizes for custom fit as well. You can install it yourself on your skeg. It’s made of polished stainless steel with a mirror-glass finish.

The skeg becomes twice as tough as the OEM skeg after adding Skegshield. There’s even a drain hole to this skeg guard to stop water from accumulating a d leading to corrosion. Installation is not complicated as there’s no need to wait for it to cure. You don’t have to deal with messy adhesives, glue, or epoxy.

You’ll have to do some drilling to attach it to the skeg. Then, you can go back to the water in less than half an hour. Skegshield won’t affect your boat’s performance since it doesn’t have a skid plate. With the 3-year warranty that Skegshield offers, you know it’s a quality product.

Concerns With Broken Skeg: What Really Happens


1. Steering

Because a broken boat motor skeg can adversely affect a broken or damaged skeg, steering is not exempted from it. As mentioned, the outboard and sterndrive skeg ensure ease of steering and directional stability. Unfortunately, steering can be out of hand when the skeg is broken from running aground or land-bound calamity.

2. Boater’s performance

If you look at the functions of a skeg once more, it doesn’t affect a boater’s performance. It’s added to bear the impact from things underwater so the propeller is protected.

3. Is it ok to run a boat with a broken skeg?

There might be steering issues but you’ll be fine as long as you go within your boat’s capabilities. Apart from concerns about skeg, you must check if the other lower parts of your boat are in good condition.

Maintenance of a Skeg

1. Priming a skeg

You need to lightly sand and clean the skeg. Then, mix water and vinegar to prime a skeg. When putting the etching primer, use some heat to ensure adherence.

2. Scraping up the paint on a skeg

With all the exposure to water and things underwater, you’ll probably need to repaint once a week. This is relevant if you use your boat weekly. You can prime a skeg and then use a water pump.

Wrapping It Up!

What does a skeg do on a boat motor? A skeg protects the propeller or it can be a keel extension for some vessels. It contributes positively to how you maneuver your boat. Since it protects the propeller, you don’t need to pay more to fix or replace it. But if you want to protect it, you can add a guard.

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