This report is of a near miss propeller propeller accident that could have been avoided if the operator had been wearing a kill switch per Canadian authorities.
It also points out the dangers of hypothermia while boating in cold waters that were stressed in the recent NBSAC meeting.
Thursday night, 23 March 2017, a family of four were boating on Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, Canada.
While trying to pull up a crab pot, the two male adults and a 2 year old boy were ejected from the boat when one man inadvertently bumped the throttle, leaving a 5 year old girl and a dog on board.
Only the children were wearing life jackets.
The 5 meter boat spun in the Circle of Death at full speed in the cold water.
A nearby eco tour boat out whale watching was able to pluck those in the water to safety. Then they were able to get the young child remaining onboard the circling boat to pull the red kill switch lanyard cord. Rescuers noted that if they had been minutes later, the outcome could have been far different. One in the water was struggling to hold the 2 year old boy up out of the water. When they got to the second man they put a line on him because his lips were already blue.
The family was taken to Cowichan District Hospital.
The children’s mother anonymously wrote to CTV news to thank the rescuers.
A big thanks to CTV News Vancouver Island for their coverage of this accident.
We cite the 2013 Nicholas Milligan family accident in the U.K. as an example of how things could have been far worse.