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Special service: Propeller broken – special SeaHelp mission in Empuriabrava, Spain

SeaHelp base Empuriabrava: Axel Albrot swaps propellers
© Axel Albrot | SeaHelp

SeaHelp is known as Europe’s largest breakdown and recovery service for pleasure craft, providing assistance in non-life-threatening situations. Sometimes, however, SeaHelp members also receive a “special service” beyond this, as the operation at the SeaHelp base in Empuriabrava in the Spanish municipality of Castelló d’Empúries on the Gulf of Roses (province of Girona, Catalonia) shows.

The SeaHelp base in Empuriabrava is located in the largest marina in Europe, just two kilometres from Castelló d’Empúries, where the Fira der Feixell d’Ocassió used boat show traditionally takes place.

The SeaHelp centre on the Costa Brava has been run for two years by certified boat expert Axel Albrot, who is also an expert in boat insurance. “From our new base in Empuriabrava, we are on the spot in no time when it comes to providing fast, competent and uncomplicated assistance to recreational skippers”, says Axel Albrot, regardless of whether the engine breaks down, the battery is flat or the tank is empty, or if there is a sudden water ingress on board.

SeaHelp is on the spot in no time from the base in Empuriabrava when it comes to helping recreational skippers quickly, competently and easily

Or when a boat’s propeller breaks down, as happened a few days ago: “Two weeks ago, the propeller clutch of one of our customers, who owns a sporty inflatable boat called Black Jack, stopped working,” says Axel Albrot, adding that there was “hardly any propulsion”.

Although this service is not actually part of the standard portfolio of the SeaHelp centres across Europe, says Albrot, it was possible to make an exception here. “I used an underwater camera to record the propeller number and, by chance, the customer still had exactly one of these propellers in stock.” The customer then booked a flight at short notice and brought the propeller to the boat in Empuriabrava.



Since all the workshops surveyed had refused to replace the propeller, the boat professional from SeaHelp helped quickly and unbureaucratically

All of the workshops in the area that were asked had declined the job because (according to them) it was “too dangerous” for the mechanics to change a propeller like this in the water, says Albrot.

However, as only Capitania wants to tow in the canals of Empuriabrava, and they pay handsomely for it, the effort involved in towing the boat to the crane, lifting it onto the trailer and then lifting it back into the water would have been too high for this repair, according to the boat professional; the price would also have been disproportionately high at more than 300 euros.

However, as SeaHelp man Axel Albrot not only trained as a mechanic, but is also a sworn boat expert, he replaced the propeller in the water without further ado – as an exception. Albrot: “After 30 minutes, everything was back to normal and the customer was able to continue sailing his boat”.


SeaHelp base Empuriabrava: Axel Albrot wishes a safe journey after the propeller swap.
© Axel Albrot | SeaHelp


The SeaHelp base in Empuriabrava can be contacted by telephone on +34-605-150-719 or by email at Albrot has a robust and fast Humber 850 rib with up to eight seats, which is equipped with a 5.7 litre Volvo Penta D6 inboard engine, GPS plotter, radios and AIS. Address: Quermançó 18, 17487 Empuriabrava, Spain.


24h EMERGENCY CALL EUROPE: 0043 50 43 112

In an emergency, SeaHelp’s rescue boats can be called using the practical SeaHelp app or the free emergency number for Europe 0043 50 43 112 (or the alternative emergency number for Europe 00385 919 112 112).

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