Propeller Guard Information Center

Florida Propeller Accidents Missing From U.S. Coast Guard 2010 Boating Accident Report Database (BARD)

As mentioned in our previous review of propeller accident reporting in USCG’s BARD 2010 database, 7 of the 10 propeller accidents we found news media reports for that were not listed in BARD occurred in the State of Florida.

That got us wondering if something might be different with their reporting criteria, their boating accident report form, their database, their method of forwarding the accidents to the U.S. Coast Guard, or some other step in the process.

USCG Boat Responsibly Logo

USCG Boat Responsibly Logo

After we wrote this post we requested assistance from USCG Office of Boating Safety and SPIN in determining what happened (should these accidents be in BARD, where did they fall through the cracks?) USCG immediately responded with a detailed analysis of the individual accidents for the group of 7 propeller accidents. The post below was updated to include USCG’s 14 July 2011 and 6 August 2011 responses. We really appreciate their quick and detailed response on the 7 accidents and for sticking with Florida to determine the source of the missing 14 accidents. SPIN is made some inquiries in Florida and we appreciate their help as well. Thanks again to USCG and SPIN for their efforts.

We found a copy of Florida’s Self Reporting Boating Accident Form. Like most state’s boating accident form, it is a bit overwhelming, especially just after you have been in an accident. At some future time, a person might have an online boat registration that could automatically populate an online boating accident form with their name, address, age, contact information, and all the boat configuration details. But for now, the form is challenging for individuals to fill out. FWC fills out those for accidents they work / investigate. The form does have a check box for “struck by propeller or skeg”.

Florida makes many of their past boat accident statistical summaries and information available online from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation site.

Page 5 (pdf page 6) of the full Florida 2010 Boating Accident Statistical Report lists their criteria for reporting accidents which reasonably resembles that used by USCG (person died, person disappeared, injured beyond first aid, over $2000 in property damages).

Page 27 (pdf page 26) of the same 2010 Florida Boating Accident Statistic Report charts Primary and Secondary Type of Accident data for 2010 Florida boating accidents.

Florida 2010 Propeller Accidents

Florida 2010 Propeller Accidents

As seen in the graphic above, Florida had 6 Event 1 “struck by propeller or skeg” accidents AND 32 Event 2 “struck by propeller or skeg” accidents for a total of 38 “struck by propeller or skeg” accidents per their 2010 annual statistical report.

However when we checked USCG’s 2010 BARD for Florida boat propeller accidents and found far less than the 38 propeller accidents Florida reports in its own 2010 Boating Statistics Report. An image of a 2010 BARD database query for “Struck by Propeller or Propulsion System” as any of the three Events is below:

Florida 2010 BARD Reported Propeller Accidents

Florida 2010 BARD Reported Propeller Accidents

As you can count from the list of 2010 BARD reported Florida propeller accidents, there were only 24.

We also ran a query of the 2010 BARD Injuries table to identify those injured in accidents USCG had labeled as propeller strike accidents (“Y” for yes in Propeller Injury column).

Florida 2010 BARD Propeller Injuries

Florida 2010 BARD Propeller Injuries

The Injury Table shows 21 people injured by propellers (two of them were injured in the same accident)

Please note the BARD Injury Table does not include fatalities. Fatalities are listed in the Death Table and no defining propeller strike column is available there. They can be searched by bridging the Accident and Fatalities tables together using the BARDID as the unique identifier. Or we can just use the “Number of Deaths” column in our earlier query to see there were 4 propeller accidents involving one fatality each. An injury or death table entry is available for every Florida propeller accident (including two entries for the one accident with two injured victims) reported in 2010 BARD.

USCG BARD 2010 only lists 24 Florida “Struck by Propeller or Propulsion Unit” accidents. Where are the other 14 propeller accidents that Florida reported in their own 2010 Boating Statistics Report (38 – 24 = 14)?

USCG is currently checking into this question for us.

Update September 6, 2011 – USCG emailed us an explanation that probably covers the bulk of the missing 14 accidents. See the September 6, 2011 update near the bottom of this page. Note, that matter is separate from the seven accidents discussed below.


In Addition, We Identified Seven 2010 Florida Propeller Accidents in News Media Reports That We Were Unable to Find in 2010 BARD

USCG has since helped us identify some of them.

Our earlier post comparing U.S. Coast Guard 2010 Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) reported propeller accidents with news media reports identified seven Florida propeller accidents that do not appear to be listed in BARD. A spreadsheet listing them is below.

[gview file=”http://www.propellersafety.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010-BARD-propeller-news-analysis-florida.xls”]

If you have difficulty viewing the spreadsheet, you can download it from the link just below the propeller accident spreadsheet.

The process we used to identify and record these seven Florida prop accidents is detailed on our Comparison of U.S. Coast Guard 2010 Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) Reported Propeller Accidents With News Media Reports page.

A brief comparison of the news media reports and any relevant BARD entries are below. Please note news media reported accident dates (just like BARD accident dates) are sometimes off a few days). We only spent a few days with the nation wide BARD data. Our discussion of Florida propeller accidents may still contain a few errors, but the implication (several lost Florida propeller accident reports) is scarey.

Please note we added and reworded portions of USCG Office of Boating Safety’s response to our inquiry in the individual accidents below. Their actual responses were much more detailed and extremely helpful. We just abbreviated the essence of them below.


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL-1

BARD – not listed in BARD

News Media Report – 65 year old man on a dive boat. His propeller was not working, so he dove in and cut his foot on it at Pompano Beach on 1 November.

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – This case is not applicable to the RBS (Recreational Boating Safety) Program because it occurred off a documented vessel involved in commercial activity.


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL-2

BARD – not listed in BARD

News Media Report – 22 year old man was snorkeling. He was hit by a propeller in a hit and run accident. He suffered a skull fracture, broken hip, and cuts to his head and back from the boat propeller. His father offered a reward for information leading to arrest of boat operator. Accident happened 5 September at Boca Raton. Last name of injured party is DeLeonibus.

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – This accident isn’t in BARD but should be. They sent a news media report to FWC and received a reply that FWC had a report on the accident but it somehow never made it into BARD or at least is not in there now.


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL-5

BARD – not listed in BARD

News Media Report – 32 year old Miami man (last name was Garcia) snorkeling near Bahia Honda Bridge in the Lower Keys. He was struck by a propeller of a passing boat on 14 June. Garcia suffered severe lacerations to his legs and feet.

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – This accident wasn’t in BARD, the news media tracking database, or in MISLE. The Coast Guard needs more information on this case to make a determination of whether it should be in BARD.


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL – 7

BARDID # FL-2010-0205

News Media Report – Family including 4 and 8 year old sons were out spearfishing. Boat hit a channel marker and all four onboard were ejected. 18 foot Hewes fishing boat went into Circle of Death, both boys suffered serious propeller wounds, both were life flighted to Miami Children’s Hospital on May 29.

BARD Redacted Narrative “V1 WAS BEING OPERATED ON PLANE IN A SLOW SPEED ZONE OUTBOUND AT THE MOUTH OF SOUTH SOUND CREEK. V1 PASSED ANOTHER VESSEL ON THE PORT SIDE AND LOST CONTROL OF THE VESSEL STRIKING MARKER #8 CAUSING DAMAGE TO THE PORT SIDE OF V1. THE ACCIDENT CAUSED ALL OCCUPANTS TO BE EJECTED AND INJURED.”

BARD Events – Event 3 says “Person Struck by Propeller or Propulsion Unit”

BARD Injury Table – dad struck by the boat, the 4 year old struck by a fixed object, and only the 8 year old struck by a propeller (news reports said boat was circling and struck both boys with the propeller).

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – The narrative in BARD doesn’t indicate a prop strike nor does it provide detail on the injuries. Back in late March 2011 USCG requested additional information from Florida on this accident concerning the injuries to the 8 year old.

Below is a quote dated 2 June 2010 from a local news service covering the accident, KeysNet.com

“The boat circled back around and struck two boys, ages 8 and 4. Both suffered serious propeller wounds and were flown to Miami Children’s Hospital, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The 8-year old suffered the most serious injuries, said Officer Bobby Dube, an FWC spokesman. Both remain hospitalized as of press time Tuesday.”


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL – 8

BARD – not listed in BARD (or might be FL-2010-0089)

News Media Report – 48 year old male fell overboard in am at Haulover Park Marina. His legs were cut by the propeller. A news video details the event and his rescue. A rescuer notes the several locations on the victim’s body that were struck by the propeller on 23 April.

Note: FL-2010-0089 occurred at Haulover Marina the next morning. It may be this accident, but does not list propeller injuries and says 3 people on board with nobody injured.

USCG 14 June 2011 Response – This accident is in BARD under FL-2010-0168 but was excluded from the Statistics and the database provided to the public because it was registered to a business and being used in a commercial activity.


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL – 9

BARDID # FL-2010-0517

News Media Report – 25 year old female fell from bow of 20 foot Sweetwater pontoon boat making 5 to 10 mph on the Withalacoochee River and was FATALLY struck by propeller on 17 April. She was taken by airboat to Rutland Park Boat Ramp and declared dead at the scene. The woman’s last name was Faul.

BARD Redacted Narrative- “A SINGLE VESSEL ACCIDENT OCCURED ON THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER APPROXIMATELY 4 MILES NORTH OF STATE ROAD 44 BRIDGE IN CITRUS COUNTY. V1 WAS TRAVELING SOUTH AT A SLOW SPEED WITH SEVEN PASSENGERS ABOARD. THE VICTIM WAS SEATED ON THE BOW INFORNT OF THE SEATING AREA. UPON THE VESSEL STOPPING THE VICTIM WENT INTO THE WATER.”

BARD Events – Event 1 – “Person Fell Overboard”, no other events listed.

BARD Death Table lists cause of death as “Trauma”

PGIC comment – we do not recall ever reading of any fell off bow of forwarding moving pontoon boat accidents in which the person was not struck by the propeller or drive. The person is funneled thru the pontoons toward the drive and the propeller sucks them in. Sometimes the boat operator throws the drive to reverse which may make matters worse.

We provide more details on this pontoon boat propeller accident fatality on a separate post that includes images of several news reports covering the propeller accident.

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – The narrative submitted by FWC did not indicate a prop strike. In late March 2011 USCG asked Florida for clarification on this accident, “was the victim struck by the boat or the propeller when she went into the water? if so, please indicate so in the narrative and the accident type. if not, how did she die of trauma?”


PGIC Propeller Accident # FL – 10

BARDID FL-2010-0253

News Media Report – double fatality plus unborn child killed on Intracoastal Waterway. Memorial Day (31 may) six people were on boat south of Ponce de Leon Inlet at dog beach close to the Coast Guard Station. Their boat was ran over by a larger runabout with people they knew onboard. A father, his daughter, and her unborn child were killed. Press report noted FWC was calling it a triple fatality due to mother being 9 months pregnant. The father and his daughter were both struck by the propeller as the boat passed over them and knocked into the water. A Memorial Day (31 May) accident.

BARD Redacted Narrative – “A TWO VESSEL COLLISION OCCURED ON THE ICW BETWEEN THE USCG STATION AT PONCE INLET AND DISSAPPEARING ISLAND, NORTH OF THE SLOW SPEED MANATEE ZONE WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF NEW SMYRNA BEACH, VOLUSIA COUNTY. INVOLVED WERE A 25 CHAPARRAL CUDDY CABIN WITH SIX PERSONS ON BOARD AND AN 18 SUNDANCE SKIFF CENTER CONSOLE WITH EIGHT PERSONS ON BOARD INCLUDING AN UNBORN CHILD. THE LARGER VESSEL COLLIDED WITH THE STERN OF THE SMALLER ONE, PASSING OVER IT, CAUSING THREE FATALITIES INCLUDING THE UNBORN CHILD, AND TWO INJURIES.”

BARD Events – Event 2 – “Person Struck by Vessel”

BARD Death Table lists both adult fatalities cause of death as “Trauma”

Below are quotes from two area news reports:

Daytona Beach News Journal
20 November 2010
Memorial Day Boat Crash (reporting on current status of charges against the boat operator)

“Cyril Holley Jr., 46, and his daughter, Madison Holley, 19, were killed as Valles’s boat skidded across the top of theirs. Both Holleys suffered multiple massive fatal chop wounds from the cruiser’s propeller, a medical examiner’s report shows.”

Volusia County Headlines Examiner
June 4, 2010
Funeral Services for DeLand Family Killed in Boating Accident Saturday

“Mr. Holley and his daughter were both hit by the propeller of the larger boat and killed.”

PGIC comment – there are quite a few news reports of this accident and the 911 call tapes are available. It is quite plain those killed were struck by the propeller. We think USCG may not categorize accidents as propeller strikes when the person is not in the water. Our annual propeller accident news reports pages lists several accidents in which people were struck in another boat, on the beach, on a dock, or in their own boat when the drive flew up.

USCG 14 July 2011 Response – The narrative submitted by FWC did not indicate a prop strike.


Summary After 14 July 2011 USCG Response

Again, we really appreciate their cooperation and quick response in investigating the paperwork behind these seven accidents.

It looks like 2 of the seven should now be removed from my list due to USCG’s criteria for inclusion in the public release version of 2010 BARD.

  • #FL-1 Removed because is was a documented vessel involved in a commercial activity.
  • #FL-8 Removed because the boat was registered to a business and being used in a commercial activity.

USCG acknowledges 1 of the seven should have been included in BARD.

  • #FL-2 It just fell through the cracks somewhere (our words not theirs)

It looks like 3 of the seven were left out due to either not actually being a propeller accident or due to insufficient information supplied by Florida to indicate they were propeller accidents.

  • #FL-7
  • #FL-9
  • #FL-10

And the one accident is news to USCG. They have no record of it and therefore need additional information to determine if it should have been included or not.

  • #FL-5 insufficient information to determine if should be in or not

Why Are Propeller Accidents in the State of Florida Not Showing Up in BARD 2010?

Boat propeller accidents reported in Florida’s own 2010 Boating Accident Statistical Report included 14 more propeller accidents than reported in USCG’s 2010 BARD.

In addition, the State of Florida was very over represented in the list of propeller accidents reported in the news media that we were unable to find in 2010 BARD. They represented 70 percent of all the non BARD reported accidents we were able to identify using this process (note we only had access to data from about half of the states).

We have no easy means of determining if Florida boat propeller accidents we identified in news media reports that are not listed in BARD are a subset of the accidents that were reported in Florida but did not get moved to BARD, did not get reported in Florida, or are a blend of those two situations.

We do not think the missing accidents will be attributed to property damage due to being “struck by propeller or skeg” because that is not the way those accidents are typically reported.

Per our calculations, we have identified between 14 and 19 (14 + 4 to 5) Florida boat propeller accidents not listed in 2010 BARD.


Conclusions

In conclusion, USCG explained why the 7 Florida propeller accidents we found in news media reports cannot be found in BARD:

  • 1 – should have been included but was not
  • 4 – Florida did not report those accidents as propeller strikes and did not return requested additional information in time for inclusion on some of them.
  • 2 – did not meet the criteria

We are still not sure why the 14 boat propeller accidents reported in Florida’s own Boating Accident Statistical Report cannot be found in BARD (USCG is still checking into that).

One of my many hats involves being a regional church clerk for the last several years. As part of my responsibilities I solicit and compile reports and documents from about a dozen church units spread over about a fifth of Oklahoma. While my statistic gathering project is on a miniscule scale compared to USCG (they compile statistics from 50 states and several other regions) I have a pretty good understanding of some of things that can go wrong and the delays involved when you rely on the communication with and the assistance of others distant from your location to timely and accurately gather, compile, and submit statistical data electronically, and the constant need for training as those familiar with the system move on to other responsibilities.

It appears like the bulk of the missing Florida propeller strikes we identified from news media reports that are not described as prop accidents in BARD that do appear to meet BARD criteria were missed due to Florida either not identifying them as propeller accidents initially OR due to processing errors along the way. We will follow up more on this finding later.

We look forward to any light USCG and Florida can shed on the other missing 14 propeller accidents (of which there is probably some overlap with our group of 7).

A big thanks to USCG Office of Boating Safety for their quick, professional, thorough response concerning the seven news media reported accidents.


6 September 2011 Update on the Missing 14 Propeller Accidents

USCG made an inquiry to Florida to check into the missing propeller accidents. Florida had some database problems and other issues for a while. USCG continued to send us an update now and then to let us they had not forgotten us.

Then on 6 September 2011 we received an email from USCG containing the following explanation.

6 September 2011 email from USCG to PGIC

… and we have found at least a partial explanation for the difference in our numbers. It turns out that Florida’s query for their table was incorrectly pulling in data. The number of propeller strikes as a first or second event reported should have been lower (they should have reported 21 cases instead of 38).

XXX gave me a spreadsheet of his 21 cases so that I could check them against what was in BARD. I found one case (XXXX) that involved one injury that wasn’t in BARD and wasn’t in our news tracking database. It involved a swimmer who was struck in the thigh by a propeller of a vessel in reverse. I’m not sure why this case wasn’t transferred from Florida’s database to ours, and I will have to check with Florida’s programmer.

Again, we thank the USCG Office of Boating Safety for staying with this and following up with Florida FWC repeatedly to get the answers. We really appreciate their help, as well as that of Florida FWC in aiding us in better understanding the 2011 propeller accident statistics.

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