What are Stern Tubes?

Blog | October 25th, 2017

If you are an avid fan of boats and all things marine industry then you might be familiar with the concept of stern tubes. However, the vast majority of people have no idea what they are and what they do. Fortunately, if you are reading this blog then you have come to the right place for help. We are going to breakdown the anatomy of a generic ship in order to introduce you to stern tubes, what they do, and how they help the overall process of the ship. You will soon find that the stern tube is integral to the entire sailing motion. Without further ado, let’s dig in.

Anatomy of a Ship

When you look at a ship from above water you see that there is a lot going on. However, beneath the waves all of the real action is happening. Everyone knows that a propeller is what makes the ship move. Your propeller propels the ship forward, simple enough. What people don’t know, however, is that the propeller is connected to the engine thanks to the work that a stern tube accomplishes. Stern tubes are what brought you to this blog article and stern tubes are what we shall focus on today.

The engine is what makes your propeller operate. Typically the engine runs on a diesel design and this creates power for the entire ship to move. The propeller and engine are both incredibly heavy pieces of machinery and because of that a stern tube is brought into the fold: to bring both stability and efficiency to the entire design.

The Stern Tube

Okay, so now we are getting to the primary focus of the blog. The stern tube. The stern tube is a long, hollow structure that is located at the back of the ship. The stern tube facilitates the movement of the propeller by helping to connect it to the engine. The engine is inside of the ship while the propeller is outside. The stern tube bridges the difference. The propeller feeds its shaft through the stern tube, a narrow hole, located in the hull of the ship.

Within the stern tube there is still more work going on. The stern tube has to be able to accommodate the weight of the propeller shaft, which isn’t always an easy task. As a result, the stern tube has special brackets within its body that help to keep the weight evenly distributed. The stern frame, which is what we call these brackets, does the work of keeping everything functional.

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