Effectiveness of Propeller Guards

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

About 2006 the U.S. Coast Guard began consulting and contracting with some experts to produce a test protocol for propeller guards. The American Boat and Yachting Council (ABYC) and CED Investigative Technologies are now finalizing that process for USCG. CED Investigative Technologies is a forensic engineering and accident reconstruction firm specializing in providing legal support to legal firms, insurers, and manufacturers.

ABYC and CED have completed the rough draft of their propeller guard protocol, titled “The Effectiveness of Propeller Guards” and are now putting it out for public comment before delivering the final draft the the U.S. Coast Guard later this Spring.

Development of the prop guard test protocol was broken down into several steps. They provided progress reports at USCG Accident mitigation meetings and other boating safety gatherings.

Three major elements of their study were:

  • Human factors – an analysis of propeller accidents in the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD)
  • On water performance tests in Maine
  • Full scale tank testing in a large circular test tank at the Center for Research in Education in Special Environments (CRESE) facility, State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo New York (the same facility used in the well known SUNY underwater tests conducted in late 1990).

A webinar was presented to interested parties on 12 December 2011 discussing the projects status, and announcing their intention to produce a consumer matrix selection tool (like a point of sale guide to aid consumers in selecting the best prop guard for their situation), and a manufacturer matrix selection tool to aid manufactures in selecting propeller guards. Comments were invited.

Once again, results to date on the Propeller Guard Test Protocol were presented on February 16, 2012 during the Miami Boat Show at the USCG Accident Mitigation Workshop. It was announced a rough draft of the protocol would soon be released for a 45 day period of public comment.

That rough draft has since been released, as well as a copy of the presentation given at the February 16, 2011 USCG Accident Mitigation Workshop. These are the documents we provided above.

We noticed a March 23, 2012 announcement on Soundings Trade Only saying the public comments period would be running until April 11, 2012. That same article announced the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has formed a task force to review and comment on the report. NMMA is also seeking members who would like to participate in the review.

Having not previously seen the exact deadline for public comment and noticing Soundings Trade Only (STO) has a different title for the Propeller Guard Test Protocol draft report, I contacted USCG for additional information and for permission to post the draft report. USCG said STO had just used an old title, I have the proper draft report and they would forward my request to the contractors as it is actually them seeking input at this time. The contractors (CED Investigative Technologies and ABYC) want to have one last round of input before they supply the final report to the Coast Guard (USCG).

ABYC responded to me saying,

We asked everyone to pass along the material to other interested parties in an effort to ensure the widest possible peer review, and encourage the maximum number of constructive comments. So there is no objection to your posting the attached material on your site.

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to receiving your constructive comments.

A big thanks to ABYC for allowing us to post the rough draft of the propeller guard test protocol its associated documents.

We encourage everybody to properly respond with their comments.

We will be posting our own response soon, probably first as a rough draft. We will be supplying the final draft of our public comments using the procedure above before the April 11th deadline.

Please follow ABYC’s admonition and forward CONSTRUCTIVE comments as directed.

We also welcome your comments here.

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