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Thanks to the many marine firms contributing to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.


Evinrude Announces Assistance for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Evinrude BRP logoSTURTEVANT, Wis., August 30, 2017 – BRP, a world leader in powersports, announced today the company will be assisting those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Evinrude has deployed equipment and resource support to the affected areas. In addition, Evinrude will match donations made by company employees to the American Red Cross, dollar for dollar.

“Boaters understand the awesome power of Mother Nature and are always some of the first to respond to those in need,” said Olivier Pierini, Evinrude director of global marketing and strategic planning. “This is why we are sending equipment and resources to the area affected by Hurricane Harvey. Our Evinrude E-TEC engine with Jet Series lower unit is ideal for maneuvering through debris-filled waters to help rescue personnel get where they need to go quickly and safely.”


Bass Pro Shops assisting in Texas rescue and relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey

Bass Pro Shops logoMore than 80 boats deployed for rescue efforts, donations for immediate relief

HOUSTON – Bass Pro Shops is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies – including police, fire and rescue teams on the ground – to support ongoing rescue and relief efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. The outdoor company is providing more than 80 Tracker boats to government agencies and rescue organizations in Houston and other impacted communities in Texas.

In the immediate wake of the storm, Bass Pro Shops is also supporting disaster response organizations by donating truckloads of relief supplies totaling $40,000. The contributions support Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Missouri-based humanitarian organization, and the American Red Cross. Donated supplies include protein-rich foods like Uncle Buck’s Premium Jerky and peanuts for those in the field.

Bass Pro Shops has seven retail locations and seven boating center locations in Texas, including three in the greater Houston area. The company is supporting impacted associates through its Bass Pro Cares Fund, which provides support for critical living expenses in times of devastating need.

The company remains in close contact with the governor’s office, first responders and associates on the ground to monitor response efforts and assess ongoing needs. Bass Pro Shops encourages all customers and community members who want to support relief efforts to donate directly to the American Red Cross.


Lowe Boats

Lowe Boats logoLowe’s website notes they were delivering three trailers of Roughneck boats to Captain Kirk’s Marine, a Houston area dealer, for use in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. They will not be requesting their boats be returned.

Lowe Boats on trailer for Houston

Lowe Boats on trailer for Houston

First trailer of Lowe Boats arrive near Houston

First trailer of Lowe Boats arrive near Houston

A crew from the Texas Department of Public Safety stands by, ready to take ownership as a shipment of new Lowe Roughneck boats arrives in Texas per Lowe Boats Facebook page.


Land'N'Sea logo

Land’N’Sea

Land’N’Sea, a Brunswick Company, donated life jackets to the relief effort.

“When a local delivery service balked at delivering needed life jackets to the area, Land ‘N’ Sea employees Travis Carter and Steven Head didn’t hesitate to jump in a company truck and complete the 10-hour round trip to Houston.”


Mercury Marine logo

Mercury Marine & Brunswick

Earlier, we wrote up some significant donations from Mercury Marine & Brunswick in addition to those listed on this page.

Those donations included Thirty 6 horsepower outboard motors and ten inflatable boats from Mercury, plus three 4.5 meter RIBS from Brunswick Commercial & Government Products (BCGP) division.


Soundings Trade Only (STO) Today report on industry donations

A Soundings Trade Only post summarizes some of the boating industry’s hurricane relief donations and efforts including:

Mercury Marine reported, “Virtually all boats available in inventory from local dealers and retailers already have been deployed to the rescue and recovery effort in and around Houston”. “Most every one of our boat brands has made boats available — Whaler, Sea Ray, Bayliner, our aluminum brands.”

Yamaha Pro Fishing logoYamaha Marine Pro Fishing Staff are rescuing people using their own boats. The staff manager told STO, “Caleb Harp, Chad Kinny and Dwayne Eschete were working anywhere from 12 to 14 hours with few breaks in between.”

Yamaha reports they sent four BassNation volunteers with boats from Ross Motorsports in Texas to help but they were unable to reach National Guard locations due to high waters. They also sent a Skeeter boat.


Smaller Marine Manufacturers

While the large firms stepped up and helped support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, some smaller manufacturers have stepped up as well.

For example, per an article in the 31 August 2017 SC Times, Backwater Inc, a manufacturer of mud and shallow water motors in Freeport South Carolina, supplied repair parts including 2 propellers and a rock guard for a motor free along with overnight shipping to support a customer, Travis Wijt, a young man using his SWOMP 23 motor in Hurricane Harvey rescue operations.

Backwater motor used in Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

Backwater motor used in Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

Photo caption from SC Times: From left to right, Collin Berton, 22, Mark Allen, 23, and Travis Wijt, 22, are pictured Tuesday posing next to their Backwater 23 SWOMP motor in their hometown of Cypress, Texas, following three straight days of rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.


Thank You

A big thank you to all the marine firms donations products, equipment, parts, supplies, people, and time to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts!

And thanks to all the media outlets calling attention to those donations.

Plus thanks to all the folks on the ground, both paid and volunteers, using the equipment in rescue and relief efforts.


0 Categories : Miscellaneous

In a 31 August 2017 press release, Mercury Marine announced they were donating ten inflatable boats and thirty 6 horsepower outboards to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. They noted they also donated a 40 horsepower outboard motor to Boots on the Ground, a non-profit veterans organization assisting veterans and qualified civilians in providing assistance on the ground in disasters.

A big thanks to Mercury for their efforts to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

Mercury’s press release follows: Read More→

0 Categories : Miscellaneous

An 18 July 2017 Centerport Yacht Club propeller accident claimed the life of 12 year-old Ryan Weiss. Three boys learning how to sail were with a sailboat that had been capsized on purpose as a training exercise. One of the boys, Ryan Weiss, was picked up by a RIB piloted by an 18 year old sailing instructor. As the RIB accelerated to bring Ryan to shore, Ryan fell overboard and was fatally struck by the propeller.

Following the accident, many U.S. sailing/yachting facilities providing sailing instruction to youth quickly began reviewing their previous decisions not to use propeller guard. Propeller guards are already widely used in Australian youth sailing programs.

For any wondering why propeller guards are needed with a sailboat, the guards are used with coaching boats, safety boats, chase boats, referee boats, media boats, and other boats associated with youth sailing instruction and youth sailing competitions.

In response to the Centerport Yacht Club accident, New York Assemblyman Andrew Raia, Republican from East Northport and an avid boater from the 12th District, is proposing a state law in New York requiring propeller guards on all vessels used to instruct children, per a 28 August 2017 CBSNY article. The article also includes a great video.

New York Assemblyman Raia holding Propeller Guard Press Conference image clipped from CBSNY image

New York Assemblyman Raia holding Propeller Guard Press Conference
image clipped from CBSNY image

Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

NBC Channel 4, Washington D.C., aired a series of stories on boat design defects on 16 August 2017.

Ryan Batchelder clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

Ryan Batchelder
clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

The series focuses on:

  1. Two families: (1) family of Ryan Batchelder, 7 year old boy killed by a boat propeller in Georgia in 2014, and (2) family of Niki Bell, struck by a boat propeller in California in 2006 at age 22.
  2. The two accidents, both individuals were washed overboard
  3. The two boat builders involved (Malibu and MasterCraft)
  4. The lack of Federal Regulation of the boating industry
  5. Court documents and comments by experts

NBC4 chose to release the story in a number of segments throughout the day with the tagline, “Small Craft Advisory” instead of as a free standing documentary.

Small Craft Advisory graphic by NBC4

Small Craft Advisory graphic by NBC4

They did a nice job of interviewing people and supplying several videos to support their findings.
While it likely made a lot of sense if you watched their various news programs dispersed throughout the day, it is challenging to try to recreate that experience from their website, Facebook page, or app.

Therefore we organized links to the various segments below. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Large outboard motors lined up at 2014 Tulsa Boat Show.

Large outboard motors lined up at 2014 Tulsa Boat Show.

The boating industry has been plagued with certain boat propeller safety hazards / issues for decades, some for over a century. While progress have been made on many fronts, some problems remain perpetual / eternal. Some solutions that have been applied have failed, others have wilted on the shelves for a variety of reasons.

Some Perpetual Boating Safety /Propeller Accident Scenarios

As a result of the issues described above, and more, we have been left with a number of PERPETUAL / ETERNAL boating safety / propeller safety accident scenarios including:

  • Participants in towed sports being run over by the boat propeller after they fell from the skis/board/tube/inflatable and the operator returned to pick them up
  • Unmanned outboard powered boats go in the Circle of Death
  • Children bow ride pontoon boats underway, fall between the pontoons, and are struck by the propeller
  • Operators reversing houseboats from beaches with swimmers in the water behind them
  • Boat operator and others being ejected from a bass boat
  • Bass boats strike submerged objects, their outboard motors break off, and flip into the vessel with their propeller still running
  • Inflatable PFDs not inflating or being cut and deflated by propellers if they do
  • Boaters not wearing their life jackets and if they do, they increase their likelihood of being entrapped on the propeller or being struck by the propeller in a Circle of Death accident
  • Entrapped on open boat propellers
  • Coaching, escort, and safety boats used with youth sailing, open water swimming, rowing, crewing, sculling, canoeing, wake surfing (with a sail), and other similar activities often in an amateur racing format are striking people in the water with their propellers. For example, the July 2017 Long Island New York accident
  • Those reboarding the boat at the swim ladder are sucked into the propeller
  • Divers and snorkelers being ran over by boat propellers and sometimes struck by the propeller of their own dive charter boat
  • PWC riders interacting with the wake of boat or trying to spray those on board are stuck by the propeller
  • Outboard motor starts in gear (typically involves rope started tiller steered outboards), one or more persons are ejected and struck by the propeller, can also happen with stern drives
  • Someone jumped into the water unbeknownst to the operator OR just at the moment the operator was going to reverse the boat

A quick look at the list shows several of those accident scenarios are interrelated, and most of them are tied to issues listed below (People Hazards, Water Hazards, Industry Positions, Media Reluctance, Existing Boat Designs), and all go back to the basic principles of propellers (rotating and sharp).


How the Propeller Accident Scenarios Listed Above Became Perpetual

Read More→

Engineering Tools Provide Solutions to Long Standing Boat Propeller Safety Issues

Two ostriches with heads in sand

Two ostriches with heads in sand

The boating industry repeatedly just sticks it head in the sand regarding long standing propeller safety issues. We suggest its time to go back to the drawing board on Perpetual boat propeller accident scenarios, like the Perpetual Propeller Accident Scenarios identified in a related post. Effective, practical, economical solutions need to be identified, tested, commercialized, and deployed.

Plenty new solutions remain to be discovered. Some effective, practical, economical solutions have long rejected by the boating industry. New materials and technologies are constantly placing more tools in our tool belt. One resource often overlooked, are solutions to similar problems in other industries.

We hope the tools below aid all those addressing long standing boat propeller safety issues.


The Safety Hierarchy

The Safety Hierarchy defines the sequence of steps used by product design engineers and safety professionals to prevent injuries once specific hazards are identified. In its simplest version the process is to identify the hazards of use, potential misuse, and of the environment in which the product is to be used.
Then:
     1. Design,
     2. Guard, and
     3. Warn.

When a hazard is identified, the best thing to do is to design out the hazard. By removing the hazard the danger no longer exits.

If it is not feasible to design out the hazard, the next best step is to guard against the hazard. Guards are physical barriers between people and the hazard. People that cannot come in contact with the hazard cannot be injured by it.

If guarding is not practical, the next best step is to warn of the hazard. Warnings require numerous actions of the person being warned to be effective. As a result, warnings are much less effective than designing out the hazard or the use of guards. Thus warnings are last step in the safety hierarchy as it is presented in its most basic form.

The three step Safety Hierarchy above is often presented with two more steps:

4. Training
5. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Training and personal protective equipment are often used in manufacturing operations where someone has administrative control over the workers. Factory employees receive training /instruction, and protective equipment (such as eye shields, hearing protection, gloves, steel toed boots, respirators). Read More→

The Leash, a tether for large outboard motors, entered the market in early 2016. They especially focus on preventing bass boat outboard motors from entering the boat after striking a floating, submerged, or fixed object.

Their patent application was filed 22 December 2015 and published 18 months later on 22 June 2017 by the U.S. Patent Office as Publication Number US2017/0174303 A1.

Roy John Grohler of Kentucky is the inventor. The patent is assigned to The Leash Tether LLC. of Kentucky.

The Leash: left and right views side by side

The Leash: left and right views side by side

. Read More→

In December 2013 we published a report, Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors From Flipping Into Boats After Striking Floating or Submerged Objects in which we identified several ways to prevent outboard motors from breaking off and flipping into boats after striking submerged objects. One of those was was active trim control (see pages 33-34 of our report) by using a magnetic fluid in the trim (tilt) cylinder and using position feedback (how far is the rod extended) during a log strike to adjust how much resistance the cylinder is applying to the upward swinging of the outboard. While the impacts are not as severe, the same approach is used for shocks on several cars.

Magnetic fluids are sometimes called Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluids. Also sometimes spelled as magnetorheological fluids. They change viscosity based on the presence of a magnetic field and upon its intensity.

Active control brings the ability to respond faster than existing systems and limit pressure overshoot today’s relief valves. It also provides the opportunity to measure the magnitude of the collision as it is occurring and then select the best way to respond or possibly to select one of several preprogramed ways to respond. One program could allow the outboard to rise up over the object before maximum resistance is applied (called trailover).

MR fluids are also currently used in some high end, rough water vessel chairs to dampen vibrations (protect your back in very rough water) for the U.S. Navy.

In January 2015, Brunswick filed a patent on this active trim cylinder approach that includes some interesting comments.

Brunswick’s patent, U.S. Patent 9,290,252 was issued 22 March 2016.

Delph Magneride image we posted with our discussion of using MagnetoRheolopical fluids in trim systems in 2013.

Delph Magneride image PropellerSafety.com posted with our discussion of using MagnetoRheolopical fluids in trim systems in 2013.

Read More→

We have previously written extensively on log strike testing, the variables involved, and more specifically on trying to prevent outboard motors from breaking off and entering boats after striking floating or submerged objects.

This installment focuses purely on durability testing of prototype outboards. It does NOT address the issue of outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats, the need to make sure production outboards maintain the same durability, production quality control issues, design changes, or other issues. It purely focuses on developing a test stand and a test protocol to test a single prototype outboard motor for durability in striking floating or submerged objects.

Note – the Asian outboard manufacturers tend to refer to log strike testing by the phrase, driftwood testing.

Note – Log strike testing is DANGEROUS, please read the DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this post.

This post is not meant as a “pick one” offering. It is more of buffet from which manufacturers new to log strike testing consider picking some things if they like them and bring some of their own ideas to the table as well to create something that works for them at the stage they are now in.

On Water Log Strike Testing

Most major outboard manufacturers now have a log strike test procedure in place for durability testing of outboard motors. Some still perform on water testing by running flat bottomed boats over floating logs.

Log strike testing news clip. Corpus Christie Caller-Times. 30 April 1960. Page 6D.

Log strike testing news clip. Corpus Christie Caller-Times. 30 April 1960. Page 6D.

Read More→

Three boys in a sailing class at Centerport Yacht Club on the north side of Long Island, New York were out sailing in Northport Harbor Tuesday afternoon 18 July, 2017. Their boat was capsized on purpose as part of a man overboard exercise. Two of the boys stayed with the sailboat. The third boy was picked up by an 18 year old sailing instructor on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat).

When the boat operator began to gradually accelerate the boat, the boy fell overboard and was fatally injured by the propeller.

Details are still sketchy, but some accounts say his life jacket was entrapped in the propeller and he was struck in the chest by the propeller.

The 18 year old instructor was able to get the boy back in the boat and performed CPR on him.

One news report mentioned the yacht club instructors were all trained in CPR.

The injured boy, from Northport, was taken to Huntington Hospital where he died.

Propeller guards are sometimes used to prevent youth sailing propeller accidents such as this one. We talk further about their use near the bottom of this post.

The instructed that performed CPR on the boy suffered shock and was taken to the hospital.

The boat was a Zodiac powered by a Yamaha outboard motor.

Centerport Yacht Club RIB involved in the accident

Centerport Yacht Club RIB involved in the accident
An Associated Press image

Read More→