How to Repair a Bent Skeg: Straighten Up Your Boating Life in a Jiffy!

how to repair a bent skeg

Ah, the joys of boating – the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the occasional bump or scrape to your boat’s skeg. Wait, what’s a skeg, you ask? It’s that little fin-like protrusion on the bottom of your boat’s motor that helps with steering and stability.

And if it gets bent or damaged, it can throw off your boat’s performance and make you feel like you’re riding a wobbly rollercoaster. So, how on earth would you repair a bent skeg?

That’s where we come in :-). We’ll guide you through the process of fixing a bent skeg, step by step. We’ll cover the tools you’ll need, the techniques to use, and the tips and tricks to make the job easier. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a newbie, you’ll be able to straighten out your skeg and get back on the water in no time.

The first thing to realise is that repairing a bent skeg isn’t as daunting as it may appear. With the right tools and techniques, you can straighten it out and get your boat back on course in no time.

Some bent skegs might even be fixed using some good old-fashioned elbow grease, while others may require more extensive repair work, such as welding or the installation of a skeg guard. Whatever the case may be, we’re here to help guide you through the process, ensuring your boat remains in tip-top shape

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of skeg repair, let’s explore some interesting facts and examples about skegs. Did you know that skegs were originally used as a way to protect boats from rocks and other underwater hazards?

Or that skegs come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of boat and motor? And have you ever seen a skeg guard, which is a protective cover that can be added to your skeg to prevent damage? There’s more to skegs than meets the eye, and we’re excited to share our knowledge with you.

So, are you ready to straighten out your skeg and get back to smooth sailing? Let’s get started!

Skeg Repairs

Picture this: you’re out on your boat enjoying a sunny day when suddenly, you feel a slight jolt. You quickly realise that your outboard motor’s skeg has taken a hit. Fear not, fellow boater, because we’ve got your back. In this section, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of skeg repair.

Can a Skeg Be Repaired?

Skegs can indeed be repaired or even replaced, depending on the extent of the damage. Whether you have a small chip or a severely bent skeg, there’s hope for your boat yet! As a responsible boat owner, it’s crucial to address any skeg damage to ensure smooth sailing and prevent further damage to your outboard motor.

Straightening a Bent Skeg

Alright, let’s dive into the process of straightening a bent skeg. First things first, don’t attempt to force it back into position with brute force, as you may end up causing more harm than good.

Instead, you can try gently straightening the skeg using two small pieces of plywood and a spring clamp. Place the plywood on both sides of the skeg and apply pressure with the spring clamp to protect the skeg’s surface. Then, use large pliers to slowly bend it back into shape. Patience is key here to avoid causing further damage!

Alternatively, you can seek professional assistance. Welding may be an option for more seriously bent skegs or those with large chips. Experts can use marine welding epoxy to repair or replace your skeg, leaving it almost as good as new.

Cost of Fixing a Skeg

Now comes the million-dollar question (or so it may seem): what’s the damage to your wallet? For small chips or slightly bent skegs, DIY repairs using plywood and a spring clamp should be relatively inexpensive. You can even give yourself a pat on the back for saving some quid while fixing your boat!

Larger repairs that require welding or professional expertise will understandably cost more. Still, it’s important to weigh up the long-term benefits of repairing your skeg compared to the cost of a damaged outboard motor. Trust us, taking care of your skeg now can save you headaches and expenses down the line.

Well, now that you know your bent skeg can be repaired, we hope you feel more informed and ready to tackle any skeg-related mishaps that come your way. Remember, it’s always good to have a plan in place just in case your skeg takes a hit – and with our handy guide, you’re all set to navigate those waters with confidence. Next on the agenda: learning about propeller repair… but that’s a story for another day.

Straightening a Bent Skeg

Straightening a Bent Skeg

First and foremost, we suggest inspecting the extent of the damage. With a good understanding of the skeg’s condition, we’ll be better equipped to address the issue. Remember, safety first! Ensure the outboard motor is secured and turned off before proceeding.

Now that we’re ready to work on the skeg, one common method involves using two hammers or a hammer and a heavy backer. Place the backer on the side the skeg needs to move, just above the bent area, so only the bent part is affected. Since the skeg is made of cast material, it’s crucial to tap it gently instead of hitting it – an essential point to avoid causing cracks.

Did you know that bent skegs could also be repaired with some plywood and a large pair of pliers? In this alternative method, secure two small pieces of plywood on both sides of the skeg with a spring clamp. Then, use the pliers to gradually adjust the skeg back to its proper shape and alignment. Slow and steady wins the race!

Whilst we diligently straighten our bent skeg, we might ask ourselves: “Why does my skeg bend so easily anyway?” Well, the answer lies in the material itself. Skegs are often made of a soft aluminium alloy so that they can bend, reducing the risk of severe damage to the outboard motor or boat during an impact.

In our next section, we’ll delve into some preventative measures and tools to avoid any more unexpected bends in our beloved skegs. So stay tuned, and we’ll help safeguard your future adventures at sea.

Skeg Function on Boat Motor

Skeg Function on Boat Motor

When it comes to boat motors, the skeg plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal performance and stability. You might be wondering, “What exactly is a skeg, and why is it so important?” Well, allow us to enlighten you with some interesting facts and examples.

A skeg is the small, fin-like projection located at the bottom of a boat’s motor, such as the outboard or sterndrive. Picture a shark’s dorsal fin, but for your boat motor instead! This nifty piece of engineering serves a few essential purposes.

Firstly, the skeg helps protect the propeller – that spinning, underwater marvel that propels your boat forward. By preventing debris and obstacles from coming into contact with the prop, the skeg reduces the risk of damage and improves overall boating life.

Secondly, the skeg improves your boat’s stability and manoeuvrability by providing extra vertical surface area beneath the waterline. Did you know that without the skeg, your boat would be much more prone to sliding and skidding? That’s right! The skeg helps us navigate with ease and precision through the water.

And thirdly, skegs also aid in the prevention of motor ‘ventilation’ or ‘cavitation‘. In plain English, that means it stops air and water from swirling around the prop in such a way that reduces thrust and can potentially cause damage.

Now that we’ve gained a solid understanding of the skeg’s essential role on a boat motor, let’s address the elephant in the room: bent or damaged skegs. If you’ve ever gazed upon your boat motor with a sigh due to a wayward log or an underwater rock’s unfortunate encounter, worry not – we’ve got some handy tips on how to repair a bent skeg coming up next. After all, in the words of a wise boating enthusiast, “Smooth sailing is just a fixed skeg away.”

Do It Yourself Skeg Repair


Bent skegs can be a real pain, but fear not! In this section, we’ll walk you through a DIY approach to repairing that pesky bent skeg without breaking the bank. So, grab your tools and let’s get that skeg back in shape!

First things first, you’ll need to gather a few essential items: a pair of large Channellock pliers, small pieces of plywood, a spring clamp, a rubber mallet, and if necessary, marine welding epoxy.

Now, let’s get started. You want to secure the bent skeg between two pieces of plywood. Place a piece on each side and use the spring clamp to hold them in place. This works as a buffer, ensuring that your pliers don’t cause any further damage to the skeg.

With the plywood secured, it’s time to start bending the skeg back to its original shape. Carefully and gradually, use the Channellock pliers to apply pressure, coaxing the skeg back into alignment. Remember, slow and steady wins the race – don’t rush this process, or you might end up with a broken skeg!

In some instances, your skeg might have become bent outwards. If that’s the case, grab your trusty rubber mallet and a piece of wood as a backer plate. Gently tap the outer edge of the skeg using the mallet, or use clamps to pull the damaged area towards the wood3. Sometimes, it’s amazing what a few well-placed taps can accomplish!

If your skeg only has minor chips or damage, marine welding epoxy might be your best friend. By following the manufacturer’s instructions, you can fill in the chipped areas, smooth them out, and even paint over them for a seamless repair job.

And there you have it: a quick run-down of how to handle a bent skeg in true DIY fashion. Wasn’t that easier than you thought it’d be? Now that your skeg is back in great shape, it’s time to hit the water and put it to the test!

skeg repair 002


We often get asked questions about bent skegs and their repair process, so we’ve put together a brief FAQ section to address your concerns. We’ll cover how to identify, straighten, and repair a bent skeg with a touch of humour and professionalism.

How do I know if my skeg is bent?

First, give it the old eyeball test. Stand a good distance behind your boat and visually inspect the skeg’s alignment with the lower unit of the outboard motor. If it looks crooked, or you suspect damage, then you, my friend, have a bent skeg.

What’s the easiest way to repair a bent skeg?

There are generally two methods for fixing a bent skeg:

  1. Straightening: If it’s only slightly bent or kinked, you can carefully straighten it with proper backing and solid blows using a sledgehammer. Keep in mind, a skeg can typically be bent back only two or three times before it breaks off.

  2. Welding: For small chips or breaks, apply marine welding epoxy. Follow the epoxy’s instructions, fill it in, smooth it down, and paint over it to create a seamless finish.

Obviously, if the skeg breaks off, it will need a clean cut and a repair piece to be welded back on. And remember, always practice safety when working with these tools!

Can I DIY a skeg repair or should I contact a professional?

While it’s possible for experienced DIYers to attempt repairing a bent skeg, it’s always best to consult a professional. Incorrectly fixing a bent skeg can lead to further damage or even complete breakage, which could end up costing more in the long run. A professional repairer will have the experience and equipment needed to straighten or replace the skeg correctly.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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