Spurs: Simple Cost-effective Novelty for Propeller De-entanglement

A serene day with calm waters, ideal for boating or fishing or so it appears. Halfway through the ride, the boat unexpectedly jerks to a halt. The cause? A drifting fishing net entangled to the propeller.

Debris, humanity's bad karma, is a growing menace for propellers in waters deep or shallow. Not to mention the cost and unpleasantness of having to tow the boat or avail diver services to untangle/cut down the fishing net. Larger vessels, on the other hand, have to shell out massively for securing emergency docking or resort to riskier diving for propeller de-entanglement.

This is where Spurs can save the day with their global-first solution for cutting fishing nets, lines (and what-not) clinging to propellers. The company is a premier provider of novel ‘line cutter solutions’ and dominates more than 90 percent of the market. It offers propeller- and shaft-mounted line cutters as well as shaft spacers (for cutter installation).

The products are one of its kind in having a scissor-type cutter that can cut any type of debris. They don't house any complicated tech-like sensors making it incredibly nimble. “Clients can outfit their entire fleet with the line cutter equipment at a far lesser cost than one unexpected dry docking,” says Pablo Sosa, President, Spurs.

Built with standard hardened steel, the products are heat treatable and are the only solution approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for line cutting. The company custom builds every product from the US in accordance with the dimensions of the clients' vessel. Spurs can adjust the material type/strength to suit the customer's unique requirements. To this end, they even consider the type of floating debris generally found in the vessel's water route and the type of onboard docking lines that could entangle with the propeller.

Spurs materialized their novel solution in the late 80s for recreational boating. It wasn't long before the US Navy approached them after recognizing the value proposition of their solution.
They were facing the recurring problem of propeller entanglement, which resulted in frequent docking. After all, considering onboard ammunition and other security risks, a military vessel has to be towed back to the US coast irrespective of its location in international waters. Today, the US Navy, Coast Guards, Foreign Navies, MCS fleet, deepwater drilling companies, and several larger commercial ships resort to Spurs' novelty.

Military clients highly value Spur's capability to build the product purely based on the vessel's dimension, which preempts sharing any confidential information regarding the vessel. Moreover, the product’s installation doesn’t require external assistance. The company also has a dedicated team of service technicians/technology representatives in the US and an international distributor network covering 35 countries. "In cases of dry docking, our team of experts can visit clients onsite within 24 to 48 hours regardless of location globally," says Chris Jones, Vice President and Mechanical Engineer at Spurs.
  • Clients can outfit their entire fleet with the line cutter equipment at a far lesser cost than one unexpected dry docking

Pablo recollects an instance where one of their clients, a Mississippi-based dredging company, was dry docking at least once per year due to the sheer amount of debris getting caught on their propeller. However, after outfitting their propellers with Spurs' line cutters, the company went on two and a half years without dry docking. In another instance, a Brazilian-based deepwater drilling vessel ceased its function due to fishing net entanglement on its propellers. Against downtime that cost 7$ per second, Spurs' system helped the client save millions of dollars in expensive equipment replacement.

The Republic of Korea leveraged Spurs' scissor type rope cutters owing to its wide availability and popularity among the boats and vessels for a study that verified and validated the efficacy of rope cutters. As per the study, which was submitted to and published by the International Maritime Organization, rope cutters enabled boats to sail safe without any disturbance.

Currently, many promising projects aim to clean up ocean/ water debris. However, it's a no-brainer that those endeavors would take years, if not decades, to restore the oceans and water bodies to their pristine state. Until then, Spurs is a godsend for any water riding, propeller-bound body.

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Lauderdale, FL

Pablo Sosa, President and Chris Jones, Vice President and Mechanical Engineer

The company is a premier provider of novel ‘line cutter solutions’ and dominates more than 90 percent of the market.