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Water cooled stern gear

I apologise if I get terminology wrong here. Our narrowboat is being built soon and I know the builder is fitting a Vetus water cooled drive shaft/ stern gear. As I know nothing about these, I have been looking for information. I found an instruction sheet from Vetus that suggests these things need checking every 200 hours or once a year in dry dock. Is this normal, am I really required to have the boat out the water once a year to check it? If I go cruising for 7 or 8 months of a year I could well rack up several hundred hours over the 200 in that time.
Any help will be appreciated
Thank you.

Asked by: Raymond Fowler  | 10.42am, Saturday 15 July

WW says:

Water cooled stern glands are installed in boats other than narrowboats with the cooling/lubrication provided by tapping into the raw water engine cooling. This keeps them in good order but can, in theory, lead to grit being forced in. Most narrowboats using water-cooked stern gear have dry exhausts, so no source of cooling water- so a convection loop is installed usually to the weedhatch. How effective this really is may be debatable but they seem to work- and failure is very rare. Companies like Kings Lock chandlery who have been installing these for a long time report very little problems. You can often top up silicone grease and purge any air without dry docking the boat- and a conversation with those who fit and supply them will give you reassurance. Most owners wouldn't go to the length of a full inspection of the gland every year, certainly not out of the water or every 200hr! So I wouldn't worry to much- but consult an inland Vetus dealer for a brief chat and I am sure they will out your mind at ease.

Mark Langley  | 9.49PM, Saturday 15 July

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