Archive for October 2013

Michael Meyer, about 65, was on a Caribbean cruise with his wife and another couple at St. Lucia on March 10, 2011.

As with many cruise ship destinations, a host of vendors provide tours to local sites, or provide packaged experiences (scuba diving, snorkeling, historical site visits, scenic tours, adventure tours, etc.). Some of those tours are on shore, and some are on the water.

Today their group would be going on a Sail Catamaran trip they had previously booked. During the trip, Michael was seriously injured by one or more of the tour boat’s propellers.

Sea Spray sail catamaran near the Pitons.

Sea Spray sail catamaran near the Pitons.

The Pitons, twin peaks, are well known St. Lucia landmarks. Before taking the cruise, Michael Meyer purchased tickets for “Catamaran Cruise to the Pitons”, a cruise related excursion, from Carnival Corporation, a Panama Corporation doing business as Carnival Cruise Lines. The peaks as shown at right with one of Sea Spray’s smaller sail catamarans in the foreground. Read More→

We recently spent quite a bit of time updating our May 2013 list of Pontoon Boat Bowriding propeller accidents.

Since creating the list in May 2013, we have become aware of or identified approximately 45 more over the bow pontoon boat propeller accidents.

In addition to adding many new accidents, we also cleaned the list up some and put it in better chronological order.

The new updated list is now available from our previous post at Pontoon Boat Bow Riding and Over the Bow Propeller Accidents List.

Pontoon Boat anchor on shore

Pontoon Boat anchored on shore

We previously covered the Casey Schulman propeller accident. The 20 year-old young woman from Falls Church, Virginia was struck and killed by the propeller of a snorkel tour boat while visiting the Caribbean island of Dominica as part of a University of Virginia Semester at Sea program.

Her father, David Schulman, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Miami Division on Thursday October 17, 2013. The suit / complaint is officially listed as:

David Schulman as Personal Representative of the Estate of Casey Schulman, deceased
Institute for Shipboard Education dba Semester at Sea,
Anchorage Hotel Ltd,
Global Citizens Travel, LLC,
and Fountain-Pajot S.A., a foreign company

MV Explorer

MV Explorer
image courtesy Wikipedia

Semester at Sea uses a retired cruise ship vessel (M/V Explorer) as a floating teaching platform to take students from many U.S. universities to foreign lands. Read More→

1 Categories : Legal Shorts

The boating industry has a long history of misleading the public and authorities by providing recreational boat propeller accident counts much lower than the official accident statistics provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Several of these instances result from the industry falsely using Event 1 only statistics to represent the total number of propeller accidents, injuries, or fatalities. U.S. Coast Guard reports accidents as a sequence of events (like Event 1 = collision with submerged object, Event 2 = fell overboard, Event 3 = struck by propeller). Most propeller accidents tend to be reported as Event 2 or Event 3 accidents. Something else happens first, like a collision with fixed object, collision with submerged object, collision with floating object, collision with recreational vessel, falls overboard, etc, then the person is struck by the propeller.

We highlighted a table from USCG’s 2010 Boating Statistics below as an example.

USCG 2010 Propeller Accident Statistics

USCG 2010 Propeller Accident Statistics

USCG’s 2010 Table 17 above shows 179 accidents, 27 deaths, and 178 injuries from Person Struck by Propeller. The industry keeps wanting to use the Event 1 data only to the left (49 people struck).

From 2003 through 2012, there have been about 49 to 107 Event 1 propeller accidents per year with about 1 to 8 fatalities per year resulting from those Event 1 accidents.

However, during the same years there have been a total of about 176 to 266 propeller accidents per year with about 19 to 47 fatalities per year resulting from those accidents per USCG.

When the industry only cites Event 1 accidents they are significantly misrepresenting the total number of reported propeller accidents.

We have covered some instances of the boating industry misrepresenting these statistics in the past. We recently encountered another one, and decided to pull some of them together into this post.

  • Dick Snyder, Mercury Marine propeller accident expert and industry expert witness – 1988 presentation and letters concerning the upcoming 1989 USCG National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) Propeller Guard Subcommittee Report.
  • Bill Calore, General Counsel Volvo Penta – Presentation to NBSAC 1996.
  • Ralph Lambrecht, longtime OMC technician and industry expert – Boat and Motor Dealer. Sep/Oct 2006.
  • Don Kueny, OMC Chief Marine Engineer – the June 2009 Audrey Decker trial.
  • Pete Chisholm, Mercury Marine / Brunswick Corporation – the Jacob Brochtrup trial (April 2010) and in Brunswick’s request for a rehearing (June 2011).

Read More→

Samantha "Sam" Smith of BBC

Samantha “Sam” Smith of BBC

“Inside Out South West” on BBC aired about a ten minute investigative report on boat kill cord safety in the UK on Monday evening September 30, 2013.

If you have not yet seen the video, details for viewing it through approximately Monday October 6th are on our announcement of the broadcast. If you are still unable to view the video, BBC did share about two minutes of the ten minute video at Call for Compulsory Speedboat Safety Cords. They also made that two minute clip available on YouTube, but it was later removed.

Most of the ten minute show focused on the issue of making the wearing of boat kill-cords mandatory and if the industry and regulatory groups were doing enough to make boaters safe.

Samantha “Sam” Smith, a nice, bubbly female reporter / presenter that can get serious when she needs to, leads viewers through BBC’s findings.

Others on the show or mentioned included:

  • Heddon Johnson – father of Tristan Johnson killed in a kill cord preventable accident in 2000
  • Paul Glatzel – RYA power boat trainer
  • Nicholas Milligan family – the family in the Padstow accident is discussed
  • James Hobard – powerboat expert that demonstrated wireless Coast Key
  • Harbor Patrol – Heddon Johnson goes for a ride with them

Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations