Archive for October 2012

Many have called for improving the completeness, accuracy, and ease of use of the records surrounding boat propeller accidents.

Those seeking to prevent or mitigate propeller accidents are generally forced to rely upon the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Annual Boating Statistics report for propeller accident frequency data. For example, we covered the release of the 2011 Boating Statistics. We post propeller accident frequency data from the annual Boating Statistics reports from the last several years on our Propeller Accident Statistics page.

USCG recognizes not all accidents are reported in BARD, but claims almost all of the fatalities are reported. USCG claims the more serious the accident, the more likely it is to be reported. The boating industry says most propeller accidents are serious, USCG says the more serious the accident the more likely it is to be reported, so most propeller accidents are reported.

The individual accident reports behind USCG’s annual Boating Statistics report are themselves summarized in USCG’s annual Boating Accident Report Database (BARD).

When researchers are trying to determine the magnitude of a particular problem (such as boat propeller accidents), they first turn to USCG’s annual Boating Statistics report. Then to better understand the specifics of the individual accidents and if a particular device or process might have prevented or mitigated a particular accident, they turn to the individual accident reports in BARD.

The problems with that approach are: Read More→

A March 28, 2012 Yamaha Motor UK press release from their new Pro division showcases recent deliveries of flood rescue boats to Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue. Yamaha’s new Pro division specializes in products for professional users, emergency crews, and the military. (As noted at the end of this post, Yamaha has since removed all online references to the existence of this propeller guard. The press release referred to above was at (previously at remove the X’s).

Lincolnshire Rescue Boats

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue’s New Boats

Lincolnshire’s new rescue boats are powered by 25 horsepower two-stroke Yamaha outboards. They utilize Yamaha Motor UK’s new flood rescue package. Along with several other rescue boat amenities, the package includes a propeller guard. The propeller guards are the new stainless steel propeller guards from Propeller Solutions we recently wrote about.

Unlike the earlier Yamaha UK Pro announcement in which the propeller guards were credited with increased performance, improved handling, and protecting the propeller, this time Yamaha Motor UK’s own press release clearly states the guards are used to protect people in the water: Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Propeller Solutions Propeller Guard

Propeller Solutions Propeller Guard

Propeller Solutions in the UK launched a line of stainless steel propeller guards in September 2012 that can be nylon coated. They are available in red, black, and now in orange (arrival of the new orange units was announced 28 September 2012). says these are the propeller guards used by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue on 25 and 40HP engines (this application has received a lot of press). Propeller Solutions says Yamaha UK tested them with a PowerTech propeller and found them to the most efficient propeller guards they had ever tested. Read More→

0 Categories : New Products

A 21 May, 2012 Yamaha UK press release titled “Professional and Commercial Users Now Powered by Yamaha in the UK” includes Yamaha’s small outboards for swift water applications. Among the small outboard’s accessories are “a new design of propeller guard, shaped to give greatest strength, with minimum water-flow disturbance to the propeller giving maximum performance when required.”

“For shallow and unpredictable conditions, a Plastic Prop Guard or stainless steel Deflector Guard will assist in limiting the chance of foreign objects fouling the propeller. In addition, these guards aid control of water flow from the propeller and can increase thrust at low RPM.”

The accompanying Yamaha Pro UK literature (partially copied below) notes propeller guards are now available for all Yamaha outboard models. Read More→

2 Categories : New Products

PowerTech!’s Safety Prop won the Propulsion Parts, Propellers BWI (Boat Writers) IBEX (International Boatbuilders Exhibition and Conference) Innovation Award on October 2, 2012.

PowerTech! Safety Prop

In an October 4, 2012 International Boating Industry piece covering the innovation awards, Steve Powers of PowerTech Propellers said the Safety Prop propeller has round-bladed edges that “tend to minimize the possibility of being cut during a slow-speed impact.” He also notes its unique blade shape improves stopping and reverse power.

Steve Powers says his IBEX 2012 booth traffic picked up after the announcement of the PowerTech! Safety Prop winning the Innovation Award. He reports members of the U.S. Coast Guard, members of the National Safe Boating Council, and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) came by wanting to learn more about the propeller. Read More→

0 Categories : New Products

With the U.S. Coast Guard’s recent release of the public Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) for 2011 we spent some time updating our list of boats striking dredge pipes in response to the recent Mark Barhanovich fatality.

Dredge pipe strikes are a rising concern with the Laass vs. Storm Lake case (death of David Paul McFarlin), the July 2011 fatality of a young girl in Trinity Bay (Texas), the high frequency at which accidents are reported by word of mouth in the region of dredging operations, and now the death of Mark Barhanovich (which has not yet been officially confirmed as a dredge pipe strike).

We also updated the list of houseboat propeller accidents we originally put together for our 2010 response to the U.S. Coast Guard’s rejection of the proposed USCG 10163 rule. In addition to adding the more recent accidents, SPIN sent us a USCG prepared list of 1983-1987 propeller accidents. We took some time to decode the old database entries, identified the houseboat propeller accidents and added them as well. We also identified some houseboat accidents in the 1983-1987 list USCG did not have identified as houseboats, and added them too.

If anybody is aware of any accidents that should be on either of these two lists that is not listed, please send them to us via the Contact Us tab on the top menu.


On November 15, 2012 we added three more dredge pipe strike accidents to the list (1986 FL accident in which the outboard flew into the boat and injured a passenger, 2006 FL injury accident in which dredge pipe was being towed to a new job site but was anchored in open water for the night, and a 2009 Corpus Christi Texas Commercial Ferry accident).

State Dock rented a Sunstar houseboat (Admiral 70) to James Gibson and others on Lake Cumberland on August 11, 2011.

Jordan McKelvey of Ferndale Michigan was along on this houseboat. The rental was one day before the now annual Lake Cumberland “Raft-Up” event. Boats were gathering in the Shinbone area for the event the following day.

Jordan McKelvey swam to the Admiral 70 houseboat ladder on August 11th and was proceeding to climb it when the propeller sucked him in.

McKelvey was taken to Conley Bottom Marina, moved by EMS to a landing site, then life flighted to University of Kentucky Medical Center where he remained for 18 days.

As a result of the accident McKelvey was very severely injured and incurred significant medical expenses. Injuries included severe lacerations and a damaged sciatic nerve. He has since had 8 surgeries per court documents filed 19 July 2012. Jordan McKelvey is said to be at risk for future complications, health problems and disability. He pain, suffered lost wages, and his ability to earn in the future has been impacted.

Jordan McKelvey (the Plaintiff) is being represented by Jay Vaughn of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson of Ft. Wright, Kentucky.

State Dock and Sunstar Houseboats are being represented by Spivey Gault of Gault, Marshall & Miller of Paducah, Kentucky. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts