Complete propulsion package for high-speed applications :
Luxury speed boats, work boats and defence vessels from 8 to 40m

Surface drives SDS are made for planing hulls, high-performance boats, equipped with inboard engines driving propellers that « pierces » the surface of the water to provide increased thrust.

What is a Surface Drive System SDS?

The benefits of the SDS are obtained by a simple hydrodynamic trick: all appendages have been taken out of the water (no bracket, no rudder and only half of propeller under water) doing this, we have reduced the resistance they generate.

An innovative research program has led to find the way to make this propulsion system safe, reliable, trimmable, steerable and suitable for an intensive use. The Surface Drive System SDS main advantages compared to conventional propulsion are :

+15% speed increase and gain of thrust
Tremendous maneuverability at high speed
Fuel efficiency
The ability to use the boat in shallow waters
High reliability : Designed and manufactured in France
Low maintenance costs

Surface Drive System

What are surface piercing propellers ?

Surface piercing propellers are specially designed to operate only half in the water and half out of the water at high speeds. The surface-piercing is a propeller that is positioned so that when the vessel is underway the waterline passes through the propeller’s hub. Usually the propeller shaft must be extended to be less sensitive to the wake factor. There is no blade tip clearance from the hull, the propeller diameter can then be the maximum that fits. The designer is able to use a much deeper reduction ratio, and a larger, lightly-loaded, and more efficient propeller.

Surface propellers virtually eliminate drag from all sources, as the only surfaces to contact the water are the propeller blades. Total hull resistance is reduced by 15 to 20%.

The surface propeller eliminates cavitation by replacing it with ventilation. The surface piercing propeller is the most efficient propeller for this type of application.


For 25 years FRANCE HELICES has been constantly adapting SDS drive system by combining ultimate technologies and the latest engines to achieve high performance: the Surface drive system SDS characteristics include high reliability on heavy duty applications, flexibility in machinery arrangement, ease of maintenance and repair, and simplified installation.