Once you have the proper sized wrenches/sockets to take it off you may well find that you need a bit of heat. A propane torch used with MAP gas instead of propane will do the trick of heating up those nuts so that they come loose easily.
Once you've got it off you can go home and reward yourself with a nice hot shower and consider the fact that it hasn't been doing anything for quite some time, if ever, in the way of sacrificing itself and yet you have no degradation to your metal fittings. Then you can consider just leaving the thing off like half the other boats in fresh water do. It appears that no sacrifices need be made. (No, I am not a politician!) I would remove it though as it's going to do active harm to your strut at some point.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.