Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook

Thanks for visiting. This site has had 290,347 hits this year and 1,587,474 since August 2013.

23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $10 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

It's been suggested I share my views on living aboard a boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Date: 25 May 2015. Inexpensive Line Cutter.

Richard on M/V Dauntless posted to his website about the niftiest item, and I want one. All of us on boats without line-cutters on our shafts worry that the rope from a crab trap will ensnarl our propeller. That's bad. It can be very bad if the rope manages to loosen the shaft from the coupler at the transmission.

A coupler is a piece of metal that holds the shaft to the transmission so when the boat is in gear the shaft will turn. The problem develops when a line gets caught in the propeller. It can exert force and potentially dislodge the shaft from the transmission.

Basically the line can pull the shaft out from the transmission. Were that to happen the boat will not move. Water could also come into the boat and that's not good either! Worse case scenario, the boat might sink.


The Coupler,
and Key plus Zincs



The stainless Coupler connects the aft end of the transmission to the shaft. It either slides on (one piece) or is a "split ring" meaning there are two portions that bolt together around the shaft.

Next, moving toward the back of the boat is a blue arrow. That points to the Key. The Key is a square piece of stainless (or bronze) and it fits into the Keyway. Aboard Seaweed, my key is 2.5" long and 3/8" square.

All that is just fancy Boat Talk. A keyway is simply a slot the square key fits into. It locks the coupler and the shaft together so they spin at the same time. There is a notch in the coupler and an equally deep one in the shaft. The key fits in that slot.

Aft of there are two zincs. Zincs are used to protect the metal in the boat from stray current (electricity). It's a part of the bonding system, which is not the focus of this article. We'll cover that later.

Water conducts electricity and zincs protect against electrolysis. The bonding system is what keeps electrolysis from damaging our boats.


I keep my spare zincs fastened on the propeller shaft inside my hull. They are close to the stuffing box. The black rubber with stainless bands is a stuffing box. And no, of course it is not square. This is a boat, where the head is a place you put your butt! I don't try to understand it.

The "real" zinc anodes are in the water. These two are still useful and I recommend every boater keep their spares inside and attached to the shaft. The reason to have bolted on zincs inside the boat is to prevent the shaft from coming out.

If there were a catastrophe such as a line being caught in my prop, those two should keep the shaft in the boat. A shaft falling out (and it has happened to others) generally sinks  the boat.

Also, having spares inside means should I need to replace a zinc anode at any time, I've got one (or two) ready. And I can find them.


Keeping rope from wrapping around the shaft/propeller is a Good Idea. Unfortunately all too often when the words Good Idea are applied in a "marine application" the costs skyrocket. Fortunately Captain Richard discovered SALCA.

SALCA aka Sacrificial Anode Line Cutter Assembly

The ZincWarehouse.com SALCA page

Dauntless said "The one on the shaft is a combination steel cutter attached to a clamp on zinc anode. It costs only $60. Itís the second one Iíve put on and it works wonderfully. Half eaten, it tells me itís doing its job and no pieces of line wrapped around the shaft as had happened in the past."

This is his old SALCA at haul out,
prior to replacement with a new one:

Available at the Zinc Warehouse, it's something you should consider if you don't have a line cutter already. I know I intend to order one next week. This is a Good Idea, and relatively inexpensive. I know it's a lot cheaper than hiring a diver to remove a line wrapped around the prop.

In looking at the unit, it appears that the blade (split into two pieces) could be attached to a donut shaped anode after the initial one needs replacement. It's stainless so I suspect that by drilling holes through a donut zinc I could through-bolt the blade pieces to a new zinc with relative ease. I'll test that theory later.

Richard of Dauntless has a pair of
websites that are wonderful. Visit:


The white yacht just to the right of center at a dock is a sister-ship to Dauntless. She's a KadeyKrogen42.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Inexpensive Line Cutter page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Organizing, Security


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.


Coming soon ...



The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is being repaired in Carrabelle right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • A box of wine, opened (showing bag inside)

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


Copyright © Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |