Archive for February 2013

U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) was facing skyrocketing insurance costs for open water swimming events. Costs have risen so high that many members would no longer be able to compete. As a part of the changes, boats will now be required to have propeller guards.

U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water Swimming Propeller Guards

U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water Swimming Propeller Guards

Nadine Day, USMS President, says the increased insurance premium was mostly related to open water swims. Their insurance premium included a $135,000 charge for covering 75 sanctioned open water events at $1800 per event. Any additional open water events would be billed at $1800 per event.

In addition, several more restrictions were placed on open water events making them more costly and complicated to hold. USMS is now hiring new Open Water Compliance Coordinators to help meet those requirements.

USMS has decided to fund $800 of the per event surcharge themselves, pass $1000 on to the Local Masters Swimming Subcommittees who can then decide how much of that $1,000 to pass on to the event host.

They note that solo swims (like one person swimming across the Catalina Channel) were previously considered sanctioned events. Now they must pay the total $1800 insurance fee. Similarly, if a large event elects to host additional open water swims, that event must come up with the $1800 for each one of those swims. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Propeller guards on the market in early 2013 are not the optimal solution for all recreational boats and applications. In addition to propeller guards several other propeller safety devices and approaches can mitigate (reduce the frequency and severity) of boat propeller accidents.

We created a chart to illustrate these approaches and their relationships to one another. The chart is very large and best viewed on a large monitor. It is currently a work in progress and will continue to be updated from time to time. Read More→

0 Categories : Guard Technologies

Lora and I attended the 2013 Tulsa Boat Show on Wednesday January 30th. We were quickly overwhelmed with swim platform seats, aft facing seats, swim deck seating. Swim platform seats were almost ubiquitous on midsize and large boats.

Swim platform seat on Chaparral 310 Signature Cruiser

Swim platform seat on Chaparral 310 Signature Cruiser

The extreme popularity of this design can lead to some problems. Most of the boats with swim deck seats have a warning label telling you not to sit in them when underway, but we suspect those warnings are often ignored.

For example, pontoon boats have warnings telling you not to sit on the bow, but every year several children and a few adults sit up there dangling their feet in the water, fall in, and are struck by the propeller.

Other warnings tell you to make sure you have a spotter at the stern before reversing a houseboat due to poor aft visibility. These warnings are also often ignored, especially by rental boat operators, and people in the water are struck by the propeller.

Table of Contents

  • Safety Issues Created by Rear Facing Swim Platform Seating
  • Probability Discussion of Swim Platform Seating
  • Swim Platform Seating Accidents
  • Possible Safety Devices & Methods for Swim Platform Seating
  • These Boats Look Like Great Fun, But …
  • Swim Platform Seats Seen at the 2013 Tulsa Boat Show
  • Swim Platform Seat Warnings

Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

We attended the 2013 Tulsa Boat Show on Wednesday afternoon January 30, 2013. Following up on our 2012 post on Propeller Warning Labels at the Tulsa Boat Show, once again, Lora and I walked around and photographed propeller warning labels / decals. Once again we were surprised at the variety of decals and warnings.

Lora quickly noted we were seeing a lot more decals at the stern than at last years show. While some boat still had no labels of any kind at the stern, many boats had numerous warning labels displayed.

While we plan of further discussing the trend in a separate post, rearward facing seats at the swim platform were almost ubiquitous on large and midsize boats. Many of those vessels have a decal / warning label telling you not to ride in those seats when underway or when the engine is running.

We also plan to create a separate post on the industry’s continued disregard for the ANSI Z-535 warning standard. While many boats, drives, and accessories (especially wake boarding accessories) screamed their styling influences, it is obvious those talented individuals were not assigned to designing ANSI Z-535 warning labels. Few if any warning would actually meet the standard and we saw some labels/warnings that were obviously a last minute thought.

In addition to propeller warnings and rearward facing seat warnings, many boats now have one or more fueling warnings at the stern AND many now have a “No E-15” warning at the stern as well. Among other labels we saw back there were “Made in the USA”, NMMA Certified, carbon monoxide warning, trademarks and patented stickers, check outboard mounting bolt tightness, swim platform warnings, ladder capacity warnings, toe eye notice, falling warnings, don’t step here warnings, water jet outlet and intake warnings, warning to read the manual and instructions, power steering warnings, ethanol warnings (E-85), ladder use warnings, and a warning against over trimming or tilting.

We also noted the comical placement of some labels (impossible to view when you need to heed them).

The comments below are our quick observations of some of the variety seen in propeller warning labels at a single boat show. Our comments also identify some of the challenges specific warning labels have with ANSI Z535.4 – 2011 (the American National Standards Institute warning standard). Note, the industry may claim ABYC T-5 Safety Signs and Labels applies. ABYC’s web site says it was last revised in 2002. The January 15-16, 2013 ABYC PTC Meeting minutes report Product Technical Committee discussing the status of T-5. It opens with, “Is this standard still relevant?”

Although we also saw several propeller warning labels identical to the ones we saw at the 2012 Tulsa Boat Show, we did not rephotograph them. The only ones we show below are those new to our sample of propeller safety related labels in 2013.

We will briefly discuss the warning standard (ANSI Z535.4), begin with the propeller warning labels, then move to other warnings that are also relevant to propeller safety. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

We receive news feeds from many sources. Sometimes our own articles create news, sometimes our viewers send in propeller safety news that just occurred, commercial news feeds often supply news with three dates (yesterday from remote parts of the world, today from the U.S., and tomorrow from developed countries across the international date line).

On Thursday January 31, 2013 we were beginning to parse materials and observations from our visit the previous day (January 30) to the Tulsa boat show into future articles when the news began flowing in from around the globe.

By the end of the day, it was pretty amazing how much propeller safety issues had been in the news around the world, but we suspect most people noticed nothing at all. To capture some of the events of this date we created the log below. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

The Isle of Wight corner’s inquest was resumed into the death of Charlie Hutton. We previously covered the 20 July 2012 Charlie Hutton Propeller Accident off the Isle of Wight (off the south east coast of England) near a picturesque area with some tall rocks known as the Needles.

Charlie Hutton 2011 Whitgift Field Hockey Team

Charlie Hutton on 2011 Whitgift Field Hockey Team.
He is on the front row, third boy from the left

The 14 year old boy from south Croydon (near London) was on a RIB powered by a 200 horsepower outboard with his father and two teenage friends. A wave washed Charlie and one of his friends off the boat. They had been riding in the bow hanging on to the ropes. Charlie was fatally injured by the propeller and the other 14 year old boy was injured by the propeller. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts