Ericson 35 issue, transmission engages but boat will not move.


New Member
Hi all,

New to the forum and a new owner of a 1972 Ericson 35. Experiencing some issues where the boat will not move in forward or in reverse.

I believed it was possibly an issue of transmission not engaging. However, after performing an adjustment of the reversing gear, I can see the transmission is engaging and the propeller shaft is spinning. From what I can tell the propeller is not turning, despite the propeller shaft turning.

I am not familiar with the drive system and whether there is another linkage/coupler that could have failed between the propeller and the propeller shaft I can see turning inside the boat.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Your trouble shooting sounds logical so far. Time to find a way to observe the prop.
Waterproof camera on a stalk? Dive it, or hire a diver? Start by confirming that the prop is still on the shaft..... :(

Wild guess, but there are documented instances of a prop being quickly eaten away by stray current from another boat nearby. This would affect the strut and any other metal underwater fittings. Unusual, but it can happen.

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Loren has provided good suggestions to your somewhat unusual problem. I agree that a visual check of the prop is a good next step. It would also be important to ensure that the set screws holding the prop to the prop shaft are tight.
I feel a bit silly even mentioning this, but is it possible the boat is hard aground or dock lines so tight that it can't move? Is the engine getting to reasonable rpms to move the boat, cause if its just at idle speed, it may not be enough to move it.
Good luck and let us know what you find.


Member II
If you feel safe, put your hand on the shaft to see how "hard" it is spinning. On my previous boat, the older Hurth would turn the shaft, but not really enough to create any thrust. I was also convinced that while watching it I could see it speeding up and slowing down. The bad news was that it needed replacing since nobody would rebuild this particular model of Hurth. The good news was that a brand new replacement (different manufacturer) was around $1200 CDN - around the same as a full rebuild.

Obviously, you should also rule out a missing/spun prop. Good luck.

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Is the prop on that boat keyed at all? I mean, if he had struck something with the prop is it possible a key has been blown out, so the prop needs to be pulled off the shaft, a new key inserted and then the prop remounted - or is it not keyed at all?


Sustaining Member
A prop that is badly fouled with marine growth might turn but still deliver little propulsion..

When tied to the dock in fwd gear at open throttle do you should see the prop wash (current) dead astern ?
and in reverse (with rudder centered) you would see vigorous turbulence on the right side of the hull amidships.



You’ve received some excellent suggestions and possible reasons you fail to get any motion when in gear of which center on a prop issue.

I will add one more...IF you have a folding prop and it is fouled with debris or especially barnacles, it is possible it cannot unfold rendering it useless until cleared/cleaned to open or close properly.

Ultimately, your solution requires a proper underwater look at your propeller and strut as well while down there given your shaft turns when in either forward or reverse.

If lines are too tight preventing motion, you should at least see the waters stirred up while in gear.