Archive for September 2013

We discuss and review the actual broadcast at BBC Kill Cord Investigative Report.

This page announced the program and covers how to “watch” the program until approximately Monday October 7th, 2013.


We just heard the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will be broadcasting their boat kill-cord / lanyard kill switch short documentary film tonight, Monday September 30, 2013.

The film will be shown on “Inside Out South West” tonight at 19:30 on BBC1 in the South and South West of England.

The film will focus entirely on boat kill cord issues and the campaign to make their use mandatory.

Interest in boat kill cord issues soared after the Milligan family accident at Padstow Harbor in early May 2013.

The BBC kill cord video will then be viewable on iPlayer for a week. Just search for “Inside Out South West”

NOTE – iPlayer can only be used to view BBC programing from within the UK.

BBC has a global version of their iPlayer available for a fee in some countries, but not yet available in the U.S.

There are various techniques that can be used to watch from the U.S.. Among easiest approaches is TunnelBear (a VPN). They give you 500 MB of free viewing, which was far more than enough to watch this particular segment of the show once (it is the first segment of the show).

Anyway, please watch the show if you can and let us know what you thought. We will be posting our thoughts in a separate post soon.

0 Categories : Regulations

An August 2013 academic study of children water-associated trauma (WAT) advises the boating industry to prevent exposure to boat propellers with this statement:

“manufacturers should be strongly advised to consider redesigning some of the components of watercraft known to induce major injuries in victims in these accidents, including preventing exposure to propellers for instance.”

They go on to state, “the public should be educated on the potential dangers of towed tubing and watercraft associated trauma.”

Children Tubing

Children Tubing
image courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Read More→

0 Categories : Research Projects

U.S. Coast Guard Senior Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was second in command aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut the night on December 1, 2012 as they encountered suspected smugglers off Santa Cruz Island, California. Very early December 2nd in an encounter in which the alleged smugglers purposefully rammed a 21 foot RIB with four men on board including Terrell, he was ejected, and struck by the boat propeller. Terrell Horne III was declared dead when they reached the dock.

The annual Coast Guard Cadence Contest 2013 is now underway with 5 new marching cadence (marching drill chants). The cadences are being released individually over this week. A cadence titled, “Oh Dear Rachel” has been dedicated to Terrell Horne’s wife. The cadence is written as a message from Terrell to her the last few minutes of his life.

Oh Dear Rachel

Oh Dear Rachel

Read More→

0 Categories : Memorials

Tyler Murphy

Tyler Murphy

Tyler Murphy, a recent graduate of Turlock High School, was on Lake Tulloch near his parents home in Turlock California on August 8, 2013. He and some friends were with a boat. Tyler’s right leg and hand were struck by the boat’s propeller. Details surrounding the accident are still very sketchy.

Tyler Murphy wrapped up his high school baseball days as a pitcher earlier this year and was just one week from going to St. Mary’s College to play collegiate baseball when he spent a day at Lake Tulloch with friends.

Tyler was life flighted to Memorial Hospital in Modesto and spent 18 days there (per the Moultrie Observer). He has had six surgeries (per a report in the 19 September Moultrie Observer) and may have more. The surgeries included grafting some skin from his grandfathers leg to Tyler’s injured right leg, and repairing Tyler’s injured right hand. Later reports say his right leg was cut from his upper hamstring to his ankle. Read More→

We examine the propeller guard Rating system and the numbers and data behind those Ratings as defined by the new U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) / American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Propeller Guard Test Procedure.

The new propeller guard test procedure (originally called the Propeller Guard Test Protocol) assigns ratings (typically 0,1,2,3) to prop guards in each of four categories:

  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Ease of Installation
  • Effectiveness

The procedure stresses it is for testing guards on a specific or unique boat. Comparisons between different guards will only be valid if they were tested “using an identical boat/engine combination.” Read More→

Media (television, printed, radio, online, movies, etc.) all have an impact on public perception of the danger of boat propellers, on the public’s awareness of steps to be taken to improve their safety, on public awareness of potential solutions, on public awareness of regulations and proposed regulations, and on the ability of both sides of the issue to make their points within the industry and to the public as a whole. This is true not only within the U.S., but across the world.

It is also important to recognize many different media segments impact boat propeller safety, including: Read More→

0 Categories : Media


The boating industry often cites the dangers of being struck by a propeller guard as a reason for not using them. They claim boat propeller guards exhibit a much larger cross sectional area than an unguarded propeller and as a result those in the water are much more likely to be struck by the prop guard than struck by the propeller. The industry also claims blunt trauma injuries from being struck by a propeller guard are more significant than the “clean cuts” resulting from being struck by an open propeller.

What is Blunt Trauma?

Many of us hear or use the term, blunt trauma, without really understanding what it means. We grow up hearing about people being hit by blunt objects and suffering blunt trauma, but just exactly what blunt trauma is remains a bit nebulous.

When the human body is struck by a blunt object that does not penetrate the body, the body must absorb the blow. That energy can be absorbed by:

  • Partially crushing or crushing part of the body (hitting your thumb with a hammer)
  • Accelerating the body or part of the body (Force = Mass X Acceleration)
  • Secondary impacts (the body crashes into other things after being hit by the blunt object)
  • Drag (such as when the body is struck and moves through water)

Read More→

4 Categories : Medical

This post is Part 2. Please view Part 1 first.


Per Biomechanics of Chest and Abdomen Impact. Chapter 53. David Viano and Albert King. Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals:

“The biomechanical response of the body has three components: (1) inertial resistance by acceleration of body masses, (2) elastic resistance by compression of stiff structures and tissues, (3) viscous resistance by rate-dependent properties of tissues.”

At moderate impact speeds, your body just deforms some to accept the impact OR it deforms enough to buy time until the affected segments of your body begin to move to absorb the load.

At higher impact speeds the ability of the body to deform is limited by its inertial and viscous properties. It can’t deform if it can’t get some of the internal fluids and tissues out of the way fast enough. You can be severely injured before your body can get out of the way.

The ability of an organ to absorb impact energy without failing is called tolerance.

Our bodies are well suited to try to protect our most valuable organs. For example: our brain is surrounded by our skull, our heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are protected by our backbone and ribcage. Our extremities (arms, hands, legs, feet) are less protected, but more expendable. We can still survive if they are crushed (and we quickly receive the level of trauma care available at many major hospitals). One of my uncle’s had his arm crushed between a dump truck bed and its undercarriage a few years ago. Even though he was trapped for several hours before anyone became aware of his predicament, his arm was saved and he has since been been able to recover much of his previous capabilities. If his chest or head been similarly smashed, he would probably no longer be with us.

Vian and King note chest impacts compress the ribcage causing a tensile strain on the outside of the ribs. As compression increases, so does the risk of rib fractures. They also note that blunt impact of our upper abdomen (just below our rib cage) can compress and injure our liver or spleen before our body begins to accelerate from the force.

Common techniques to minimize blunt trauma injuries are to:

  • Avoid the impact
  • Reduce the impact velocity of the object
  • Reduce the mass of the object
  • Spread the impact energy over the strongest body structures
  • Wear protective equipment or pads
  • Extend the time allowed for deceleration (reduce peak acceleration of your body)

Read More→

0 Categories : Medical

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

USCG released the new Propeller Guard Test Procedure / Propeller Guard Test Protocol earlier this week on September 11, 2013.

We have since had time to quickly read through it and have a few comments:

    1. The entire document appears to have been re-written since the October 2012 version. A quick comparison of page 3 of the new version and corresponding portions of pages 2 and 3 of the old version (both versions shown below) make that pretty obvious.

    The October 2012 version below talks about the tests being a way consumers could evaluate propeller guarding products, and how manufacturers might include test results on their packaging and advertising materials. They say its purpose was “to evaluate the essential safety consequences of installing a propeller guard on an outboard or sterndrive boat. Read More→

Helimed life flight helicopter arrives

Helimed life flight helicopter arrives

We frequently read of people making great efforts and sometimes even risking their own lives to save the lives of boat propeller accident victims. A recent propeller accident re-enactment spurred us into action to recognize the pilots, EMT’s, paramedics, doctors, nurses, bystanders, and others that often come to the rescue. They often represent the difference between life and death for propeller strike victims.

Having read thousands of media reports of boat propeller accident victims, several common rescuer themes come to mind. Among them are the many people springing into action to try to save the lives of the victims by getting them out of danger, trying to stabilize them, transporting them to major medical care facilities, and tending to their wounds. While we do not have space of time to list the thousands of individual selfless efforts to try save those struck by boat propellers, we thought we would try to start to list them by category, then briefly describe one such instance as representative of similar efforts made by many others.

The Rescuers

  • Placing their body between loved ones and an oncoming boat to shield them from the propeller
  • Bystanders quickly calling authorities to report the accident
  • Stopping an unmanned circling boat that might repeatedly strike them
  • Well prepared and trained commercial vessel crews with adequate medical supplies on board tour, dive, snorkel, charter, party vessels
  • Bystanders that pull propeller strike victims from the water
  • Apply tourniquets or pressure to stem blood loss shortly after individuals are pulled from the water
  • On water rescue crews (USCG, RNLI, local water rescue crews, police & fire departments, etc.) including Search and Rescue
  • Getting air to victims entrapped on propellers
  • Removing the propeller when people are entrapped
  • Pulling them from the water
  • Doctors, nurses, and medics along with the group or nearby spring to action
  • Lifeguards
  • Marinas
  • 911 Operators & Dispatchers
  • Local paramedics and EMT’s that respond before life flight services arrives
  • Life flight pilots and crews
  • Surgeons and those who assist them
  • Blood Banks
  • Blood Donors
  • All These Groups Working Together to Save Lives

Read More→

0 Categories : Medical