Should the mechanism be removed or is it okay to have the rudders flat against the bottom when pulling the boat in or out of the water?
My outback came with a bungie to keep the mechanism tucked under the boat so it wouldn't get harmed when pulling it ashore. That is also how a couple of dealers treat their demos. Having had to just replace the costly unit from what appears as grit damage (shaft is pitted), I second Apalach's philosophy - when in doubt, take it out. I always take it out before going into shallow areas or during launch or landing.