T&T: Line Cutters

Greg Allard gma4 at mac.com
Sat Jul 13 07:16:23 EDT 2019

I agree with Glen’s observation - over the years I have seen a couple of evaluations, and they all seem to conclude that the different types of line cutters are all about equally effective; the conclusion also was that none of them are effective all the time.

We’ve had both the disc type cutters (Shaft Shark, and others) and Spurs, on different boats. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, especially if you tangle with heavy commercial fish netting, or bunches of cable and line.  I prefer the disc type cutters - the Spurs have just too many moving parts, expensive parts that wear, and anodes which need replacement.  The Shaft Shark type cutters have no moving parts, and the only maintenance is to sharpen the blades if necessary.

Of the disc-type cutters, the Shaft Shark offers split-disc versions, which allow the device to be installed by a diver in the water.
One caution:  You have to be careful not to install the discs (or other device) too close to the aft end of the cutlass bearing; if you do, the water flow may be blocked, and the bearing can fail.  The web site for Shaft Shark shows that they offer a shaft spacer (to be installed between the engine and transmission) to lengthen the shaft sufficiently to allow placement of the cutter and provide for suitable water flow.  I can’t say that I am all that excited about messing with the shaft, especially if there is currently no vibration in the running gear; moving the shaft just a small amount will change the position where the shaft is placed in the cutlass bearings.  (This is just my prejudice about messing with things which are working.)

All in all, it is better to have some kind of line cutter than not, especially in waters strewn with lobster or crab trap lines.

Greg Allard
M/V Meander

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