Bag The Prop?

Bag the prop or not bag the prop … that was the question when we left our boat for six months in Bocas Marina/Bocas Del Toro, Panama.   Talking to other cruisers that had boats in the marina for a while, we found out that because the water is so warm and nutrient rich, barnacles and growth cover your prop almost immediately and after a few months can form a big solid ball around your prop that takes hours to chip off — not to mention you can’t move your boat away from the dock until you chip it off!

The suggestion was to enclose the prop, wrapping it with a heavy duty black trash bag and duck tape/tie it tightly around the shaft.  The trash bag protects the prop from barnacles and growth, but obviously, you can’t move the boat until the trash bag is removed!

Barnacle Encrusted Line & Zinc

Barnacle Encrusted Line & ZInc, Bocas Del Toro, Panama

We opted to let the diver bag our prop and left for six months.

When we returned, I wish I had taken a photo of the trash bag when the diver removed it.  It was literally encrusted and a major stinky mess, BUT our prop was clean!

In contrast to the cable and zinc we had over the stern attached to the backstay!  I can only imagine what our prop would have looked like!

But we were free to leave the dock and sail overnight to the Rio Chagres to meet our friends on s/v Kristiana!

Two years later, when we left the boat in the water in Shelter Bay Marina, Ft Sherman/Colon, Panama, we left in such a hurry due to a family emergency, we didn’t have a chance to even discuss bagging the prop.  As a result, David spent literally three hours chipping away at the barnacles until you could see the prop!  Yikes!

Anyone else bag the prop when you leave the boat?  Where?  Tell us your experience!  Cheers!  Jan



  1. We stayed abaord in Grenada for 18 months, in a marina, and we did bag the prop. We had similar succes to you, while we saw numerous other boats that were only parked a couple months have to be cleaned before they cuold leave. Although we never had to try it, the logic was also that in an emergency you could take off without removing the bag, as the prop would chop it up in short order.

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