How to paint a propeller

How to paint and maintain the metals in the hull of our boat?

Hull metals in contact with salt water as the propeller, shaft, sea water intake… require special care.
In order to avoid further complications, we need to do a correct maintenance at least once a year.

Our colleagues from Patricio Nautica, who are professionals of boat painting, have done with us a step by step guide on how to paint your ship’s propeller.

The first step is to deeply clean the shaft and the propeller of marine snail and older paints. If necessary we can gently sand with a smooth sandpaper (never with more agresive tools since we can unbalance the both the shaft and the propeller)

Once clean, we can degreased with acetone (not with solvent because it would leave greasy residues).
We install the nut anode and we cover it with tape so we don’t paint over it. This is very important, because if we cover it with paint it will stop doing it’s work of avoiding galvanic corrosion)


After deeply cleaning and drying them, we set a Primer layer (special for metals) making sure we cover it all. The brand will provide the correct drying waiting time.
If we have not done a correct cleaning and sanding, the left overs of sea live left on the shaft, water intake or propeller, will not allow the painting to correctly stick to them and will end up falling. This will expose the metal to the sea water.
If metals are not well protected, 
barnacles and algae will easily stick to our boat. We might reduce marine engine speed and since we slow it down, tensions inside the engine are not working properly. We might end up breaking it due overheat if, for example, the water intake cooling system, the sea water cocks, are blocked and water is not coming in properly.


Next step is to apply a special for metals antifouling. We have to let it dry for about 6 to 8 hours. A normal brush is more than enough, average hardness.
We should load the brush enough to cover the metal. It should not be transparent, and the brushwork has to he as homogeneous as possible, trying to do similar sections with the same amount of paint in the brush load. We should try to make it at the same direction and better from the center of the propeller to the outside parts.
It should not be necessary a gentle sanding between layers.


After drying time recommended by the painting brand, we will apply a second antifouling layer which we will also let dry for about 6 to 8 hours. Of course always following the recommendations of the manufacturer.

We will remove the protection tapes from the nut anode and the boat is ready to go to the water.


What do you think about Patricio Nautica recomendations?
Have you painted your boat’s propeller?
What other details have you considered? What is your experience?

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This post is also available in: Spanish

  1. The new paint on the propeller looks amazing. You did a very nice job with it. Thank you for going through each step of the process in such great detail as well. My husband has been wanting to do the same thing with our boat so hopefully this will help.

  2. Hello, and thank you for having shared this information on boat painting. It’s good to know how to paint metal on boats so that it looks good and lasts long. I think it’s important to know the techniques used for this type of painting to make sure the paint job will be of good quality into the future.

  3. Did not know that when you paint a boats propeller that you had to do it in four different coats. Now I understand why it is going to take the amount of time that it is to paint my boat. I am having my boat painted professionally as well as the propeller. That way I can make sure that it is done the right way.

  4. This is really interesting information about painting boats. I have been interested in painting my propeller and other metallic parts of the boat black for a while. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t need to sand anything. That is good information.

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