During the Miami International Boat Show this year, I checked out dozens of products, from new engines to steering wheels. Truth be told, the sheer number of new products unveiled at that event can be overwhelming, so much so that even really good ones tend to get lost.
Last year, Hardin Marine’s prototype turbocharging kit for the popular Mercury Racing 525EFI engine got my vote for the hottest product, other than a boat or an engine, released at the show. (The kits should be ready for delivery this spring, according to the manufacturer.) This year, my hottest product pick was something simpler, the BSAFE prop lock from BBlades Propeller Service in Princeton, Wis.
Why? First, it helps solve a common problem. A forged propeller for a go-fast boat can cost more than $10,000. Those wheels tend to travel in pairs, so if a thief makes off with them the loss to their owner can be substantial. Second, the product is attractive. It’s not the first propeller lock ever created, but with its bullet shape it actual looks like an integrated part of the propulsion system rather than a clunky anti-theft device. Third, it’s priced at $139. That makes it, as products in the high-performance market go, downright cheap.
Designed by Brett Anderson, the co-founder of BBlades, the product features a recessed locking device that is inaccessible to would-be thieves. The prop nut is shielded by a stylish, hydrodynamic cone that is secured to the prop nut assembly with a locking mechanism requiring a specially designed key for removal, and then capped for additional security. A variety of key patterns are used to further minimize the risk of theft. The lock’s hard-anodized aluminum cone body shields its sealed, water-tight brass and stainless steel locking mechanism.
Until recently, the BSAFE locks were offered only for Bravo and Bravo-styles propellers that are used on a variety of Bravo drives (and upgraded Bravo drives), as well as for an array of outboard engine propellers. Two weeks before the show, BBlades released a version of the locks designed for props used on No. 6 drives. Anderson said customer demand drove the development of the new product.
“The BSAFE propeller lock was an immediate success, but the one question we kept getting from customers was, ‘Can I use it on my No. 6 drives?’” said Anderson. “We have now addressed that need with a proven, affordable, easy to install, and aesthetically pleasing way for any boater to protect their propeller investment.”