Video: Reinventing the Propeller

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Last November, Kiko Villalon, founder of Marine Concepts, presented a new propeller design at VriThink, in Amsterdam.

Professional BoatBuilder readers may remember Kiko Villalon from Dan Spurr’s 2008 article “Out of Cuba” (issue No. 114), which describes his journey from his homeland of Cuba to an indirect (and fascinating) path to the marine industry. Among many accomplishments, he played a significant role in the industry by founding Marine Concepts, believed to be America’s first dedicated tooling shop, in 1975.

Recently, Villalon, a longtime advocate for boating safety, was excited to meet a young inventor with a new idea for preventing propeller strikes—a problem Villalon has been working on for more than 40 years. In a novel approach, the inventor blunted the propeller by replacing sharp edges with an 8mm rod, instead of designing a new cover or propeller guard.

There is a caveat, said Villalon. Blunt edges are safer than sharp ones, but anything that strikes an object at high speeds is going to cause damage to that object (be it a person, manatee, or sea turtle). But, he said, most propeller strikes occur at low speeds, such as when people are swimming near a boat and it shifts into reverse.

Villalon shared the new propeller design at VriThink, an annual event in Amsterdam hosted by Vripack, where designers, naval architects, and boatbuilders present ideas they believe the greater world needs to know about. Following the Pecha Kucha format, each is about 5 minutes long with 20 slides. Watch the video of his presentation below:


To watch more videos and learn about this year’s event, to be held November 13, in Amsterdam, visit