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What Is a Skeg Guard And Why Do You Need It

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

what is a skeg guard

With safety always being a priority for boating, we always want to keep an eye out for any additional safety options out there. Something you may come across that helps protect your boat is the skeg guard. But what is a skeg guard and how can it be helpful to you?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the skeg guard and the benefits of using it for our boat or outboard motor.

Keep reading to find out more.

The Skeg

In order to understand what a skeg guard is and its significance, it is important for us to learn about the skeg first. What does a skeg do on a boat motor and on watercraft?

The skeg is a fin-shaped structure that can be found at the stern of certain (usually smaller) watercraft. They are also seen at the bottom of outboard motors, usually below the propeller of the motor.

A skeg on a boat and other watercraft is an extension of the keel itself. This is also true for surfboards, although the skeg’s function does differ. For boat motors, the skeg is usually the bottom-most part of the motor.

How Skegs Work


The skeg’s function varies depending on the watercraft. For boats, the boat motor skeg serves as protection for the boat propeller and some rudders attach to the skeg, but it also affects stability.

For certain watercraft, including kayaks and surfboards, skegs help keep the watercraft on track and keep it from straying. However, there are differing opinions on how useful skegs can be compared to rudders. This is a common point of discussion among kayakers.

Skeg Vs Rudder

While the rudder and skeg are both fin-like devices and both are found at the bottom of a watercraft’s stern, there are things that set them apart. First, their shape may differ in that rudders are more vertically elongated and may be narrower.

Another easy point of comparison is how skegs have few moving parts if any at all. A rudder may shift from side to side while skegs usually don’t move at all, being an extension of the keel itself. For some kayaks, the skeg may go up or down but not side to side the way rudders do.

The bottom line is that skegs and rudders differ despite the similarity in appearance. We can safely say, however, that they both have their time to shine in the water.

Skeg Guard

Now that we have a better understanding of the skeg, it’s time to turn our attention to the skeg guard. While the skeg serves to protect the propeller from damage, the skeg guard is used to protect the skeg from damage. But is it really necessary for us to protect the skeg in the first place?

Why Use a Skeg Guard


As mentioned above, the skeg is an extension of the keel and so is part of the watercraft itself. Because the skeg also helps keep the watercraft stable, any significant structural damage to the skeg may affect the watercraft’s performance. This is where problems come in.

The skeg is often damaged when running into rocks, underground debris, or even running aground in shallow water. The bigger the damage, the more work is necessary to repair it, which also means more time is needed for said repairs.

Since the skeg is part of the boat, repairing it means repairing the boat itself, which also means less time for your boat use.

For boat motors, significant damage to the skeg may warrant either major repairs or even replacement, both of which can be costly depending on how expensive the outboard motor is.

By using a skeg guard, we can protect the skeg from heavy damage. While the skeg guard will not completely eliminate the risk of skeg damage, we can at least keep damage to a minimum, which results in savings regarding both time and money.

How the Skeg Guard Works

The skeg guard is often made of a durable material such as stainless steel or aluminum, but you can also find other types such as a carbon fiber skeg protector, and some people even make their own homemade skeg guard. It is usually bolted onto the skeg and serves as a shield against anything that may cause damage.

Skeg guards are available in varying designs, with some products offering additional features such as stability improvements or improved steering. An outboard motor skeg guard can be especially useful because some outboard motors may have smaller skegs and attaching a skeg guard may provide increased steering response and performance.

When the skeg guard is significantly damaged or worn out, it is much easier and less expensive to replace it with a new skeg guard compared to having to bring the entire boat in for repair. The professional repair fee for a boat alone may be more expensive than purchasing a skeg guard that you can install yourself.


Now you know all about the skeg guard and how useful it is. Think about which skeg you need additional protection for and carefully consider the skeg guard that is right for you. It’s better to worry about skeg guards now than to worry about repairs later on.

If you know anyone else wondering “what is a skeg guard?” do share this article with them. Please leave your thoughts and comments below as well.

Remember to boat safely.

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