From Jeff Butzer, ACBS Member

While on a day excursion during a cruise ship stop we visited Our Lady of the Rock, a tiny islet in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. There we toured a small nautical museum featuring the maritime history of this community along the Eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Among the museum artifacts seen was this manual hand-crank ‘outboard’.

Note the pintles for mounting it to a boat. The transom would need to have been almost perfectly vertical . . . . which I believe is common on small fishing boats in the region.

It seems like the operator would have cranked, then rested while gliding, then cranked some more . . . . but that propeller would have caused a lot of drag when not pushing the boat forward.

Sort of difficult to imagine that it would have worked better than a set of oars!

Anyway, a great curiosity. Sorry that no further history could be provided.


  1. Thanks for that story. My maternal grandparents we from that town. I visited Dubrovnik but did not make it to Bay of Kotor. Hope to someday.

  2. While in Croatia, 1989, families were hand cranking a spit over open fire, coals…for hours to give our party a wonderful celebration….. Never underestimate the human wills to wet the job done!

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