Warnings for outboard motor can flip into boat
An example from the 2012 250 horsepower Evinrude E-tec manual is shown at right.
A big thanks to Bombardier Recreational Products & Vehicles (BRP) for putting their operators manuals online.
Some manufacturers sell the manuals at price point preventing many from ordering them. Bombardier does sell the manuals if you want a paper copy, but they also make them available online. Those who may have lost the manual or purchased a used boat without the manual, have free access to the outboard manuals.
We encourage all boat and marine drive manufacturers to make their operators manuals available online in the interest of boating safety.
Mercury (and Mariner) and Bombardier have included such warnings in their manuals for over a decade, however, we have never seen a similar warning on a vessel or outboard itself, or even such a proposed warning.
With the increasing frequency that tournament bass boats are showing up on our list of large outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats, the severity of those accidents, the frequency at which related legal cases are winding up in the courts, AND with the instructions provided by NMMA’s BIRMC (Boating Industry Risk Management Council) on warning label placement, we suggest the industry place a warning on the outboard or at the operator’s station of higher risk boats for this type of accident, such as tournament bass boats.
To our knowledge, no warnings for on boat or on outboard use have been crafted for this hazard. Therefore we crafted three warnings as examples.
These warnings are obviously not perfect, they have not been focus group tested, or even stuck on a boat, however they do illustrate it is possible to craft a warning that gets the basic concept across.
We would appreciate any comments or suggestions toward how these warnings might be improved.
The basic difference in the examples above is the tagline / headline of the warning. Font size in the body of the text warning is dependent on font size of the headline. Longer headlines require a smaller font in order to fit, which in turn decreases the relative font size of the body of the body of the warning.
The purpose of this post is to encourage the boating industry to apply warnings of this nature to outboard motors and/or vessels perceived to be of higher risk for this type of accident (like tournament bass boats). We also strongly encourage any outboard manufacturer that has yet to include similar warnings in their operators manuals to do so immediately, and to consider warning existing customers, especially those of outboards specifically designed for use on vessels at higher risk of this hazard.
As mentioned earlier, we would really appreciate your comments on how these warnings could be improved. We will try to include your comments in future modifications of the warnings so the boating industry has some ideas on which to build upon should they decide to include such a warning on their outboards or vessels.