Unsafe Practices Portrayed in Yamaha Outboard / Boating Ads & Websites
Our review of unsafe boating ads, commercials, and websites found a startling number of Yamaha and Yamaha Outboard Distributor websites and publications portraying unsafe boating practices and behaviors, especially outside the United States.
While some think we should not intervene outside our borders, in today’s society there are no borders. The same ads and materials presented around the world are viewable worldwide via the Internet.
Before someone gets after us saying it is not illegal to participate in many of the actions or behaviors portrayed in these ads in much of the U.S., or in much of the rest of the world. We are not talking about legalities, we are talking about it being inappropriate for boat and marine drive manufacturers to be encouraging such practices and behaviors.
Some of the Yamaha ads and web site images we found are reproduced below. We welcome comments from Yamaha explaining how these practices are really not unsafe or how they plan to prevent such ads from appearing in the future.
Yamaha Bowrider ad
Yamaha’s South Africa’s web site shows a small, young boy riding in the bow of a bowrider underway at speed. The boat is powered by a 250 horsepower VMAX Yamaha outboard motor. If the vessel strikes a wake or large wave, the little boy could be bounced high enough to be ejected from the boat and hit by the propeller.We enlarged the image of the boy. You can see him trying to hang on by grabbing what looks like a cleat. The older youth, or adult is sitting with their back toward the boy. He seems pretty much on his own.
Also, we see no life jackets on the boy or anyone else on board.
The image was captured from Yamaha’s South African distributor’s web site on 10 February 2014.
Miller Engineering researched being ejected from bow riders many years ago for the U.S. Coast Guard. Their work cites several other references on their website at Recreational Boats: Occupant Ejection. The U.S. Coast Guard went on to launch a campaign against bow riding in certain situations.
Yamaha Mexico Shares Display Area With Corona Beer Girls
The Corona beer girls are shown working Yamaha Mexico (IMEMSA) display at a fishing tournament. Note the Corona hats, coolers, and accessories in addition to their imprint on the girls tops. The image was downloaded from a group of photos of a fishing tournament on IMEMSA’s web site. Yamaha appears to have sponsored the fishing tournament.
Yamaha Durban South Africa printed ad
The Yamaha Durban ad above pretty much says it all, “Boats, Beer, and Babes”. It ran in the April 2012 issue of Ski-Boat (a boating magazine in South Africa).
It is common for manufacturers to comp (pay for) a part of their distributor;s and dealer’s advertising costs. Usually distributor’s and dealer’s have to send in a copy of the ad (used to be called a tear sheet, because they just tore it out of the magazine) and the ad rate sheet or a bill from the publisher to be reimbursed for a portion of the cost. It would be interesting to see if Yamaha Japan reviewed this ad and paid part of the cost to run it.
Yamaha Antigua & Barbados web site features Adventure Antigua vessel
Outdoor World represents Yamaha in Antigua and Barbados. Outdoor World’s web site opens with a rotating banner ad featuring an excursion vessel used by Adventure Antigua for quick tour circumnavigations of Antigua.
To get a better idea of how the man at the transom was setting, we enlarged a photo of the same excursion vessel from Adventure Antiqua’s web site.
The image above shows Adventure Antigua has bench seating at the stern. The bench seat has a high back that acts a little like a safety rail to the rear.
Then we enlarged the banner image and Adventure Antigua from the Outdoor World Yamaha Antigua & Barbados web site.
The enlargement above shows the boat is underway at speed. The man at the transom is sitting on top of the bench seat. He is facing the three Yamaha outboard motors. His left foot is on the boat, while he is trying to secure his position by bracing his right foot against the middle outboard motor.
I think its safe to say that if anyone did this in real life, fell, and was injured or killed by the propellers, Yamaha would claim it was due to their own negligence / reckless actions. However, Yamaha might have a hard time proving that in court when the plaintiff shows this ad.
Yamaha Malaysia Catamaran
E. M. Technology Marine represents Yamaha in Malaysia. A 4 December 2013 post on their Facebook page announced the launching of a new catamaran powered by twin 250 horsepower Yamaha outboard motors.
A 1 February 2014 post to E.M. Technoligies Facebook page showed the new catamaran in service making a run to an island.
The two of the thumbnail images above are shown below.
Yamaha shows passengers riding on the bow when underway and crashing into the waves. One man is seen braced and hanging on, one person is sitting with their legs hanging over the bow (probably with one leg on each side of a vertical post).
The Yamaha image above shows the catamaran parting the waves and deflecting a huge spray toward the position of the camera. Several people are still on the bow, including the gentleman in the other image.
Royal Mariner – Yamaha Nautica (Brazil)
Yamaha’s distributor in Brazil posted a note on their Facebook site on 5 December 2012 inviting people to a 7 December 2012 party on Kanoa Royal Island.
A translation of the text to English reads, “Kanoa Royal Island – this Saturday 7/12 in Maceió / AL. Simply A Must See!”
The video attached to the Facebook page is heavily laced with pretty girls, alcohol, and boats.
The video above is posted on Royal Marine’s site under the file name of: Yamaha Outboards.mp4
Royal Mariner also posted the same video to YouTube
We were able to find the following video of the actual event. Royal Mariner’s banner is prominently displayed several times amid the alcohol, babes, and boats, and again at the end as a sponsor.
The video of the Kanoa Royal Island 2013 party was posted to YouTube on 14 February 2014 by Dalio Marinho. Photos of the event are widely available online.
Yamaha / Skeeter
Yamaha owns Skeeter boats, one of the leading builders of bass boats. Yamaha outboard operator’s manuals, and Skeeter operator’s manuals tell the operator to “Avoid areas with submerged objects or shallow water.” Outboard motors striking submerged objects and flipping into boats while still running is a known problem, especially with bass boats.
Even with the known hazard of striking submerged objects in shallow water and their own manuals telling operators to avoid shallow water, a 30 April 2013 post to Yamaha Outboard’s Facebook page shows a Skeeter boat powered by a large Yamaha outboard running at speed in shallow water. We captured the image 17 February 2014.
Yamaha Outboards Facebook page includes the image below:
Several outboard and stern drive manufacturers tell you not to step on the drive, even when the engine is off, to prevent people from slipping and being struck by the non-rotating propeller. Here, Yamaha posted an image from somewhere else of a woman “planking” on a Yamaha outboard. Planking was a short lived fad of laying like a plank of wood in unusual places.
If the woman were to fall, if she did not hit the propellers, she would be right by them.
Taiheiyo Marine (Japan) ad for YF-24 Yamaha Boat
A Japanese distributor, Taiheiyo Marine, posted a YouTube video for Yamaha’s YF-24 boat on 29 September 2011. The video shows several males standing while underway at speed, some leaning on the gunnel. All this in a boat with minimal freeboard at the transom (very easy to fall out the stern, especially when the bow is high as it is in much of the video when underway).
Some of the men appear to be standing and fishing off the stern while underway at speed. Striking a wake could eject them pretty easily.
Yamaha Motor Company YF-24 boat ad
Yamaha themselves posted a video ad on YouTube for the same boat model, YF-24, described above.
About 50 seconds into the ad, two men are shows seated at the transom with almost nothing to prevent them from falling out the stern. On man is hanging on with one hand, the other is pointing at something with one arm and not hanging on with the other.
In terms of being ejected from the boat, what the two men are doing above is reasonably equivalent to riding in the bed of a pickup truck going down the road, sitting on the top of the closed tailgate while facing forward. But in this instance, if they do fall out, instead of just being injured or killed by the fall, they can also be struck by the propeller.
Taiheiyo Marine ad for Yamaha SR-X boat
Taiheiyo Marine, Yamaha distributor in Japan, posted a YouTube ad for Yamaha’s SR-X boat on 20 June 2011.
At about a minute and 24 seconds into the ad, you see a man standing up high on something (probably the gunnel or the railing?) at the stern. He is probably shooting some of the video seen shortly after that point. The man is way up in the air with no visible bracing. By 1:56 into the film it looks like he was probably shooting, the ride is getting rough making it easier for him to fall.
At 3:12 the man is shown standing at the stern while underway at speed. Their is some railing near him, but it would not prevent him from falling overboard in several scenarios.
At 3:16 you see two men standing at the stern in some video taken from a boat following them.
By 3:23 everybody is standing and taking photos, and the gentleman at the stern looks very precarious over the outboard motor.
Note, although their is some railing at the stern, it does not go across directly in front of the Yamaha outboard motor, and it is very open (easy to fall through the large openings in the railing).
Taiheiyo Marine ad for tubing featuring a Yamaha boat and outboard
Taiheiyo Marine, a Yamaha distributor in Japan, takes some giggly, pretty Japanese girls out for riding tubes in part 2 of their video titled, The Omoi out of a summer day (the emotion / feelings of a sunny day). The 225 horsepower Yamaha outboard is prominently featured in many shots.
At about 50 seconds, a girl in a white swim bikini is standing right in front of the outboard motor with almost nothing preventing her from falling overboard while underway at speed towing a tube. The girl is trying to figure out how to put her inflatable PFD (life jacket) on, a bit late, plus placing herself at extreme risk of falling overboard.
We do not know what the speed limit of the large tube they are towing is, but some of the girls take pretty hard falls at speed.
At about 5:34 on the video they go in for lunch, the 225 HP Yamaha outboard was just visible in the background moments before the image below. They have lunch and a few beers, then go back out on the water, probably to return to their original departure point.
It’s Not All Bad News
In response to this page, one of our Australian viewers pointed out Yamaha has produced some excellent safety materials there including the instructional video about Kill Switch Lanyards / Kill Cords below.
We especially liked the Australian Yamaha kill cord video because it was presented in a relaxed atmosphere, did not appear to be a “canned” presentation, and the gentleman (Dan Power) was able to speak from his personal experiences.
Yes, we saw the gentleman sitting on the gunnel (board around top edge of the boat) in a brief clip on the river, but conditions in that portion of the video are vastly different than those typically encountered here, and the boat does not resemble the typical fiberglass recreational boat. That situation is a matter better left to the Aussies to discuss.
We do have one suggestion for Yamaha. They could get considerably more exposure for this great video if they allowed us and others to directly embed it on our sites, similar to the process used to embed videos from YouTube. Or Yamaha could just leave it on their site as it is, plus post it to YouTube where others could easily embed it.
We salute Yamaha Australia for this fine video and encourage other marine drive manufacturers to do the same.
Conclusion / Summary
We encourage all boat and marine drive manufactures, distributors, and dealers to learn from these examples. Please present safe experiences and behaviors in your advertisements and on your web sites. Eliminate alcohol from your websites and advertisements.