PropellerSafety.com

Archive for May 2013

The June 2013 editorial in Afloat, an Australian boating and sail boating magazine, is titled “Exposed Propellers Are Now Both a Safety…. And Financial Hazard!“. The editorial by Robin Copeland strongly makes the point that Australian regulators and New Zealand Courts are charging and pursuing organizations that fail to provide safeguards for their employees and volunteers.

Three recent events are cited as examples:

Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Madaline Cole

Madeline Cole

Madaline Cole, 25 of Herefordshire England, was snorkeling with three friends in Malaysia. About 10:20 am May 27, 2013 they were off Shari-La Resort, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, off the northeast coast of West Malaysia in the South China Sea. A boat bringing tourists in to the island resort struck her and Simon James Rogers, 22 of Australia, with its propeller. Madaline Cole (identified as Madaline Jane / Jayne in some early news reports) was struck in the torso, buttocks, and both legs. She died en route to treatment. Simon Rogers was struck in both legs and the stomach. He was rushed to Besut District Hospital then taken to University Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerin, Kelantan.

Madaline was known to her friends as Maddy Cole. Her father was formerly a Royal Engineer and served in the Special Air Service (SAS).

Maddy enjoyed the outdoors. She was into scuba, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, and loved animals. She wanted to become a professional diver.

Rogers was staying at Shari-La Resort on the island of Kecil while Madaline Cole was staying at nearby at the Senja Bay Resort. The accident was in the Malaysia state of Terengganu.

Police say Madaline, Simon, and their friends were outside the safe zone for swimmers and were not wearing life jackets. Others who have previously visited the area say no safe swim areas were marked, and boats just zoomed in to drop off tourists at the resort.

Madaline Cole’s body was taken to Besut District Hospital for an autopsy.

The operator of the boat bringing in tourists, Mohd Azwan Mohamad, was 23 years of age.

Reports say Cole and Rogers had both signed up for a snorkeling course which seems unusual since Madaline Cole qualified as a scuba instructor earlier this year.

The Perehentians (islands) have beautiful waters and coral reefs that are popular with tourists.

Some news reports mention similarities in this accident and that of Joanna Stillwell, 23, swimming in Malaysia back in July 2004. We find that interesting because news coverage of Joanna Stillwell’s fatal accident mentions similarities between her accident and that of Kirsty MacColl in Mexico back in 2000. Last year we developed a list of propeller accidents to international travelers in snorkeling, diving, water tourism areas in less developed parts of the world. We added Madaline Cole and Simon Rogers to the list this morning. The list is at Tourists Being Struck and Killed by Boat Propellers in Diving / Snorkeling Areas.

Several recent boat accidents in which outboard motors strike submerged objects and flip into boats, often with the propeller still turning have caused us to update our previous post listing these types of accidents. The spreadsheet on Outboard Motor Struck Submerged Object and Flipped Into Boat was updated today (22 May 2013) to include a few more historical accidents plus several more recent ones.

Among the more recent accidents are:

  • A lady in a small boat on Archusa Lake in Mississipi in April 2012
  • Mark Barhanovich’s September 2012 fatality near Deer Island Mississippi
  • A California accident reported directly to us in January 2013
  • Jeremey Michael Tate, professional bass fisherman, in Florida in March 2013
  • Chad Gibbs killed in Arkansas in April 2013.
  • Timothy Clippard, professional bass fisherman from Missouri killed in Kentucky in May 2013

Several of the recent accidents involve bass boats. Large outboards at higher speeds are showing up more frequently on the list.


Charlie Hutton, 14 of the UK, was killed by a boat propeller off the Isle of Wight in July 2012. His brothers have since been raising fund for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which came to his rescue. RNLI has been credited with saving over 140,000 lives in its long history.

Charlie’s older brothers, Tom and Sam, have chosen to use athletic events to help focus need on their cause. By participating in high profile athletic events and seeking pledges or donations, they are getting close to their target of 15,000 pounds (about $23,000 US).

Donations are accepted at Virgin Money Giving. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety Causes

Heddon Johnson lost his son, Tristan, to boat propeller accident at the Southamptom boat show in September 2000. His son and others were ejected from an 18 foot RIB in the boat demonstration area, the unmanned boat circled, and his son was struck and killed by the boat’s propeller. The kill cord was not in use.

In the wake of the recent Milligan double fatality and MAIB confirming no kill cord was in use in that accident either, Mr. Johnson is calling for mandatory usage of kill cords.

Heddon Johnson has launched a petition calling upon the British Government to legislate the obligatory use of kill cords on powerboats. The petition is on change.org.

0 Categories : Propeller Safety Causes

Over the years we have seen countless “causes” related to recreational boat propeller safety. Among them are:

  • Fund raising for charities (rescue operations, lifeboats, prosthetic charities, amputees, etc.)
  • Pass a Law – big pushes to pass certain laws in the wake of an accident
  • Joey’s Law – families try to pass a law in the name of their child

We will be posting some short term boat propeller causes on this page and creating separate posts for others that may be more long lasting. Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety Causes

Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) investigates marine accidents for the United Kingdom (UK). Today, 17 May 2013, MAIB issued Safety Bulletin 1/2013 in response to the recent double fatality Nicholas Milligan accident. The family was ejected from a RIB near Padstow Harbor, Cornwall UK, at Camel Estuary, the unmanned RIB circled, and struck them repeatedly, killing two members of the family and seriously injuring two more.

The kill cord (emergency engine ignition shut-off switch cord / kill switch lanyard) was not in use at the time of the Milligan accident. Read More→

1 Categories : Propeller Safety News

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2012

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2012

U.S. Coast Guard released their annual recreational boating accident statistics report on Monday May 13th. The total fatality count for 2012 was 651 deaths, a record low. USCG reported 181 propeller accidents, 187 propeller injuries, and 19 propeller fatalities. 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 (see below) continues to follow the format USCG adopted in 2009 based on our and SPIN’s suggestions to reduce confusion between Event 1 and All Event data.

Table 17 from USCG Boating Statistics 2012

Table 17 from USCG Boating Statistics 2012

USCG reports accidents as a series of events, such as Event 1 = Struck Submerged Object, Event 2 = Person Overboard, Event 3 Person Struck by Propeller. Read More→

Timothy Clippard

Timothy Clippard

Timothy Allen Clippard, 51 of Jackson Missouri, was participating in a bass fishing tournament on Kentucky Lake on Thursday 9 May 2013. About 4:15 pm, he and his partner were on the way back to Moor’s Marina to weigh in their catch. While going north under Eggner’s Ferry Bridge in Marshall County Kentucky, their boat struck a submerged object, the outboard motor flipped up into the boat, and fatally struck Timothy Clippard in the head. Clippard died at the scene. The boat operator was not injured.

Early reports indicate the boat motor struck an underwater part of the bridge made of steel or concrete, broke loose, flipped into the boat, and struck Tim Clippard in the head. However, A Deputy Sheriff that spends a lot of time on Kentucky Lake says the current high waters could have huge trees floating down the river. They may have struck one of them. An investigation is ongoing. Read More→

Casey Schulman, a University of Virginia (UVA) senior participating in the UVA Semester at Sea program was struck and killed by a boat propeller on the island of Dominica in December 2012.

Recently, her family hired legal assistance to try to encourage further action in Dominca.

Today, Thursday 9 November 2013 Andrew Armour, captain of the Sail Cat that backed over her was arrested and charged with manslaughter in St. Joseph Magistrate Court in Dominica.

Anchorage Dive Center Sail Cat

Anchorage Dive Center Sailing Catamaran
involved in the Casey Schulman accident

Armour was not required to enter a plea and is to be back in court on May 14th. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts