Archive for January 2013

We have long considered trying to create a timeline of recreational boat propeller safety issues, accidents, legal cases, and the propeller safety movement.

As a preparatory effort to any future efforts at documenting the history of propeller safety, we created, “A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety Issues and the Propeller Safety Movement”

We recognize the events listed are described in a very abbreviated form, and much has yet to be added. We are publishing it in it current form to request your input in helping us further develop this history.

Download the paper in pdf format from the link below.

A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety

Download Report Here

[gview file=””]

Please post your comments and suggestions using the comment box below, or contact us directly using the Contact Us tab in the top menu.

We are already aware of several items we still need to include and will start building a list below for future updates.

Future Updates

  • Cover the history of neutral shifting issues as they relate to propeller safety
  • Cover the history of steering failures as they relate to propeller safety

Other Boat Propeller Safety Histories

0 Categories : History

Since the mid 1990’s the United States Coast Guard has published several notices concerning proposed regulations involving propeller guards & other propeller safety devices, and requested public input on those proposals. While much of the focus has been on propeller guards, other propeller safety devices have also been discussed. Among them are swim ladder interlock switches, backup alarms, mirrors, swim gate switches, kill switches, virtual kill switches, starter delays (beeps for a few seconds before starts), and rear view cameras.

Propeller Solutions Propeller Guard

Propeller Solutions Propeller Guard

The announcements have been published in the Federal Register.

A few notices have only requested comments, however, most of them refer to a proposed rule. When notices of a proposed rule are first published, they are typically marked as a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (NPRM) or as an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (ANPRM).

The process appears to have been less defined prior to 1998. The Coast Guard was using its own set of docket numbers and reused one of them several times as a rental boat propeller safety project continued to evolve. USCG opened and closed public comment periods numerous times, renamed the proposal a few times, then finally renumbered the proposal under the new docket system in order to archive the records.

In this post we bring all those notices together and post them as a timeline. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

In March 2012 Yamaha announced a new stainless steel propeller guard for outboards on flood rescue boats in the UK and made several statements about how great it was, how well it performed, and even how prop guards were necessary when people were in the water near the boat. About October we became aware of Yamaha’s new propeller guard. In mid October we began posting some materials about it and some of Yamaha’s own statements about their guard.

The boating industry has long defended itself in propeller injury court cases by claiming propeller guards don’t work. Among their objections, the industry claims guards create too much drag, reduce performance (top speed), effect the handling of the boat, are not durable enough, get bent into the propeller, and they create blunt trauma injuries when they strike people.

But Yamaha was making the exact opposite statements about their propeller guard. Yamaha said their guard worked great, minimized drag and performance reduction, improved handling, was strong and durable for use in shallow water, and guards were essential for operating rescue boats near people in the water.

Our mid October 2012 posts echoed several of Yamaha’s own comments.

By early November 2012, everything Yamaha ever said about the propeller guard AND all records of the guard’s existence vanished from their website. We made many attempts to contact Yamaha about why they pulled all of their materials about the propeller guard, but they will not respond. That leaves us to suspect Yamaha erased their statements to protect the boating industry’s long standing legal defense, “Guards don’t work”.

Among the many specific statements made and deleted by Yamaha about their propeller guard were:

  • “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.”
  • Yamaha propeller guards, tailored to fit individual engines, are also specifically designed to have minimal impact on performance.”
  • “When operating in a flooded environment there is also the possibility of casualties in the water, which means a propeller guard is essential to reduce the risk of injury.”
  • “When operating in flooded environments the liklihood of swimmers/diver/casualties being in the water means that a prop. guard is essential.”

We dare the boating industry trade press to cover this important story. Don’t let the industry banish this life saving propeller guard just to protect themselves in court.

We need some help. We call upon:

  • The press to cover this story, especially the boating press.
  • Boating safety organizations and the United States Coast Guard to take action to prevent Yamaha from further suppressing this technology.
  • The legal and judicial system to prevent Yamaha from destroying test data from which they claim this was the best propeller guard they ever tested.
  • The boating industry itself to do what is best for the safety of their customers and put some peer pressure on Yamaha to do the right thing.
  • Our fellow propeller safety advocates to help get the word out.

Below we provide details of the events surrounding Yamaha’s deletion of these materials. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts