Archive for May 2012

USCG Boating Statistics 2011 cover

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2011

We noticed the U.S. Coast Guard recently released their annual boating accident statistics report. The total fatality count for 2011 was 758 deaths (vs. 672 in 2010). USCG reported 197 propeller accidents (vs. 179 in 2010) and 35 propeller fatalities (vs. 27 in 2010). We note a substantial increase in the number of propeller accidents (up 20 accidents or 10 percent) and fatalities (up 8 fatalities or 30 percent). For a more in depth historical comparison of propeller accident data, please see our Propeller Accident Statistics page.

Table 17 (Frequency of Events in Accidents & Casualties Nationwide) continued to follow the format they adopted in 2009 based on our and SPIN’s suggestions and helps prevent people from getting Event 1 data (total number of times that event was the first thing to happen in any accident) confused with the total number of Events (the total number of times that event happened in all accidents).

However, Table 16 (Accident, Vessel & Casualty Numbers by Primary Accident Type 2011) still tends to mislead viewers into reading Event 1 data as the total number of accidents for a specific accident type if they do not read the table very carefully.

Pages 8 and 9 discuss changes to the publication this year (specifically the removal of “Passenger/skier behavior” and “careless/reckless operation” as causes due to the belief boaters would not self report those causes).

We noticed there was one Event 1 propeller accident involving a houseboat. We will followup on that accident and see if we spot any more houseboat propeller accidents in the full BARD (Boating Accident Report Database) for 2011 when we get some time. We also notice several Event 1 propeller accidents involving longer vessels (one 33 footer, one 36 footer, two 40-65 footers). Some of those vessels may have also been houseboats but not classified as such.

We would like to thank USCG for all the efforts they put into this annual statistical report of boating accidents.

Several years ago while studying the recreational boat propeller market, I noticed it had many parallels with the market for prescription drugs. Since then, while pondering some propeller safety situations, I have come to see even more parallels.

Significant investment goes into developing a line of propellers (just like R&D teams developing a new drug).

Propellers are designed as a series (several propellers of different sizes with the same general characteristics). Prescription drugs are often available in different strengths.

Each new propeller series has to be tested / proven just like a new drug has to be tested.

Each propeller design targets boats of certain types, sizes, power, and applications. Prescription drugs target certain groups of people (children/adults/elderly) with certain types of diseases, illnesses, or needs.

Deciding which propeller is best for your boat is a bit of an art and requires a very knowledgeable person to come up with the right “prescription”. Finding that “prescription” may involve testing several other propellers and monitoring the results, just like your doctor may have you try a few prescription drugs to see which one works best for you. Read More→

A review of the major propeller safety events in 2012 including safety meetings, accidents, legal cases, deaths of those involved in the movement, statistics, patents, articles published, public service announcements, anniversaries, and other related events. Read More→

0 Categories : Year in Review

Deer Crossing sign

Deer Crossing sign

Many areas of the country, including ours, are know for large animals being on the road from time to time. In our region, the problem is most often deer at dusk, just after sunset, or during the night. Many drivers become oblivious to the ever present Deer Crossing signs (often with a few bullet holes in them), just like some boaters become oblivious to instructions to check to make sure nobody is near the propeller when the engine is started.

The Propeller Guard Information Center was born from an idea to detect people near the propeller and automatically take actions to prevent boat propeller injuries (shut off the engine, blow the horn, turn on a light, or whatever the best action would be for the particular situation detected).

From time to time we write about new sensors being developed to detect people, and specifically sensors developed to people in the water, such as our recent post on A Survey of Human Sensing Methods published by researchers from Yale and MIT.

Recently, I was pondering similarities in warning drivers of the dangers of striking large animals on roadways to warning boat operators of the dangers of striking swimmers with boat propellers. In both instances we know they (people in the water or large animals on roadways) may be out there somewhere, we do not know exactly where they are, sometimes visibility is bad, sometimes they (swimmer or large animal) appear at the last second too late to successfully avoid striking them at our current speed, and we have some idea of what happens if we hit one (swimmer or large animal). While considering these similarities I came across some interesting research that may be useful to those trying to detect people near propellers.

Several researchers at Montana State University conducted a multi-year study of existing large animal detection systems for roadway use. The study is titled, The Reliability of Animal Detection Systems and Reliability Norms. Read More→

0 Categories : Guard Technologies

Tyler Wooley’s body was found Friday May 25, 2012 on Kaw Lake near the area he went missing.

Some teenagers on Kaw Lake near Ponca City Oklahoma were involved in a boating accident Saturday afternoon May 19, 2012. Details are still sketchy, but reports indicate 19 year old Tyler Wooley of Enid was tubing at the south end of the lake near McFadden Cove Marina and the dam. The tube turned over, and he is still missing. James Goodman, another 19 year old, jumped in to find him / help him, but was struck in the leg by the boat propeller. James Goodman was lifeflighted / airlifted by EagleMed to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa Oklahoma and has since been released.

According to Enid News & Eagle, Tyler Wooley jumped from the boat wearing a child sized life jacket, let go of the jacket, went into distress and began yelling for help. The boat operator moved the boat closer, Goodman jumped in to help, Wooley began to panic and became combative, Goodman attempted to reboard. Goodman’s legs were entrapped by the propeller and killed the engine. The boat operator then jumped in to free Goodman’s legs. Goodman was taken to McFadden Cove by a passing boat. Read More→

An NSW Transport Roads and Maritime accident investigation report dated February 2, 2012, “Report of a Special Purpose Investigation: Into a Propeller Strike Injury Involving an Australian Defence Force Academy Vessel on Lake Burrinjuck NSW on 14 February 2010”, found a group of Cadets and Midshipmen were undertaking training for water insertions (leave the RIB while underway) on Lake Burrinjuck NSW. After the training, the Cadets took the 6.3 meter RIB powered by a 115 HP Yamaha outboard for a joyride including high speed turns during which several people were ejected. In one of those incidents, a Cadet fell from the boat and sustained life threatening injuries from the propeller.

NSW Propeller Accident Investigation Report

NSW Propeller Accident Investigation Report

The investigation found:

  • The Defence literature provides sufficient guidance to conclude that a propeller guard should have been fitted unless there were compelling operating reasons not to do so.
  • There is no evidence of any compelling operational reasons for not fitting a propeller guard.
  • There is no evidence that the vessel was previously fitted with a propeller guard.
  • The risk assessment for water insertions did not adequately consider the likelihood and consequences of a propeller strike.
  • There was no assessment for joyriding.

While the report does not identify the injured Cadet, it is obviously Oliver Minchin. This was a very high profile accident in Australia. Senate Leader Nick Minchin is Oliver Minchin’s father. The accident and Oliver’s recovery were prominently covered in the news.

0 Categories : Regulations