Archive for July 2013

William Feehan

William Feehan

William Feehan, an 11 year old Millington, Tennessee boy, out with his family and some friends in Arkansas on Bull Shoals Lake was riding a tube with two other boys about 12:15 pm Saturday afternoon July 27th.

William, his 15 year-old brother and a 14 year-old son of another man on board were on the tube near Ozark Isle.

William Feehan’s father, Matthew Feehan was operating the boat, a 21 foot, 1994 Swift deck boat (looks like a pontoon boat without the pontoons) rented from Bull Shoals Marina. Read More→

This weekend marked the one year anniversary of the July 20, 2012 death of these two fine young people on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Kali Gorzell

Kali Gorzell

Kali Gorzell was struck and killed by a propeller near Port Aransas, Texas.

Just 16, she was full of life and vitality, and known for living life to the fullest and telling others she loved them. Her friends and classmates came up with a slogan, Like Like Kali, to encourage themselves and others to live as she did, and to help them deal with their grief. They sometimes abbreviated the slogan as LLK or LLK <3 (a text heart following LLK).

Live Like Kali stamp

Live Like Kali

We even created a “stamp like” image ourselves and posted it for their use. It also remains our on front page one year later. Read More→

0 Categories : History

Increasing the daytime visibility of water skiers, tubers, banana boat riders, wake boarders wakeboarders, kneeboarders, donuts, tubes, and inflatable tow toy riders being towed by a boat or Personal Watercraft (PWC), especially after they fall can help prevent them from being struck by a boat or boat propeller.

These riders and their implements need to be easily seen and detected both when they are up water skiing, boarding, wake boarding, tubing around the lake AND when they fall from their ride and are awaiting being picked up or to ride again.

Maximizing their visibility can prevent them from being ran over in many instances.

John Mansour and family

John Mansour and family

The popularity of towed tubes and other tow toys has placed many more of these on our waters. Children often ride them. The last few years many young children have been severely struck by boats and/or propellers while tubing. The recent Sunday 14 July 2013 Mansour accident on Sylvan Lake in Michigan (two children dead, one in critical condition) motivated us to action.

John Mansour was on a PWC pulling his three children on a tube when the tube was struck by a ski boat. Alex (11) was declared dead at the hospital, Gabrielle (6) died a few days later, Adriana (10) was in critical condition for several days. Their mother was nearby on shore when the accident happened. The funeral for Gabrielle and Alex is today, July 19, 2013.

We suggest a College Senior Design Project or Capstone Project or Design Team Project would be an excellent means to develop some possible High Visibility towed sports solutions. Engineering students, safety students, recreation students, textile design, clothing design, and industrial design students are among those with useful skills for this project. Read More→

2 Categories : Research Projects

Gowrie Group, an independent insurance agency, manages The Burgee Insurance Program, a well known insurer of yacht clubs and sailing organizations endorsed by U.S. Sailing. On 11 July 2013, Gowrie Group issued a press release recommending:

“that propeller guards be installed on all outboard motors used for teaching junior sailing, coaching sailing, running races, and supporting recreational water sports. Propeller guards add an important margin of safety for boats operated around children, sailors, and swimmers.”

The body of the press release extends the list of recommended propeller guard applications to include:

“all outboard motors used for teaching junior sailing, coaching sailing, running races, and supporting recreational water sports (skiing, tubing, swimming, etc.).”

Over half the yachting clubs in the United States use the Burgee Insurance Program. The press release says nearly a thousand yacht clubs and sailing organizations in the U.S. already use the Burgee Insurance Program.

The press release opens with some U.S. Coast Guard propeller accident statistics.

Then it cites Dave Eickmeyer an advocate for propeller guards in Australia, as saying:
Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Boni Buehler as a stewardess

Boni Buehler as a stewardess
Long Beach Press Telegram

We have been covering boat propeller accidents for a long time and one accident stands out above all the rest in the level of attention it received across the United States. Sixty years ago this August (2013), Boni Ann Buehler was a beautiful young woman living a life with the beautiful people, the rich and the famous. Her name is sometimes misspelled as Bonnie Buehler or Bonni Buehler / Buhler. In addition to capturing the attention of the news media, this accident probably had more ties to the rich and famous than any other boat propeller accident in history.

Quick Summary of the Boni Buehler Accident

Much of this quick summary below comes from Los Angeles Times coverage of the accident

Boni Bueheler was a 23 years old aspiring dancer and actress living in Hollywood California working as a stewardess for Western Airlines. Originally from Ogden, Utah, her parent had moved on to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

She lived in Hollywood with Marjie Millar, described as a starlet, and Nancy Hadley, a model. Boni Buehler and Marjie Millar had been college roommates at Stephens College in Columbia Missouri.

On August 16, 1953 Boni was with some friends in a boat owned by Conrad Hilton (the Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels) in a beautiful setting on Lake Arrowhead. The group of four on the outing included:

  • Boni Buehler
  • Geary Steffen (previously married to the actress Jane Powell and sometimes spelled Gearry Steffan)
  • Quary Sargeant described as a weathy Los Angeles juke box chain operator
  • Florence Bleck, 20 year old student

Read More→

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced the availability of a report, “Estimating Benefits of Reducing Recreational Boating Accidents: Alternative Sources of Information on Fatalities, Injuries, and Property Damages” in the June 28, 2013 issue of the Federal Register. The study is dated September 12, 2011.

Benefits of Reducing Boating Accidents USCG report

Benefits of Reducing Boating Accidents

The report reviews data related to recreational boating accidents to help USCG determine how to better quantify the benefits of Coast Guard regulations, policies, and programs. It compares USCG’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) data to other databases containing similar records (like hospital visit databases, cause of death databases, NEISS, etc) in an attempt to estimate the number of unreported accidents in BARD, and the cost of those accidents.

The report also discusses the “willingness to pay” approach to placing values on preventing certain types of accidents/injuries. It also reviews the status of property damage reports in BARD and how well they might represent the total amount of property damage caused by boating accidents.

USCG is encouraging public comments and submission of related materials on this study via, fax, mail, or by hand delivery. All comments and materials received will be published on Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

David Cass

David Cass

David Cass, 30 of Minneapolis Minnesota, was operating a pontoon boat on Lake Bell Taine near Nevis and Park Rapids, in northern Minnesota about 1:45pm Wednesday June 26, 2013. Two other people were onboard the pontoon boat. David Cass moved toward the bow of the pontoon boat, fell overboard, and was struck by the propeller.

When emergency crews arrived, he was unconscious with severe cuts on his arm. They began to try to resuscitate Cass and he was life flighted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo with life threatening injuries.

He was still in an intensive care unit on Friday June 28th, and died on Sunday June 30, 2013. Read More→

Keaton Howard

Keaton Howard

Keaton Howard, a 5 year old American Fork Utah boy, out with his family on Lake Powell was riding in the bow of a boat about 6:30pm Friday June 28th, 2013. The boat hit a wave, Keaton was ejected, struck in the head by the propeller, and killed instantly.

The boat propeller accident happened near buoy 110 in the Tapesty Wall area of Lake Powell, uplake of Bullfrog Marina. The accident happened inside Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in the State of Utah.

Officials note that everyone onboard was wearing a life jacket and alcohol was not involved.

Keaton Howard’s family issued a statement today (July 2nd):

“Our hearts are broken as we mourn at this time of trial. We love Keaton and his bright personality. He was and is our little man. As a family of faith, we take comfort in our knowledge of God’s love for him and for us. We continue to love him and pray for peace and comfort for all who knew him. As we mourn together, we find joy in remembering the light he is in our lives.”

Keaton loved to read, so in lieu of flowers, the family has asked the public to donate a children’s book to American Heritage School in American Fork, Utah. Read More→