PropellerSafety.com

Archive for May 2014

Todd Iwamoto

Todd Iwamoto

Todd Iwamoto, 40 of Mountain Home California, and his fishing partner (S.G.) were fishing in the BBT Delta/Wine – Delta bass tournament on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Old River near Brentwood, California on Saturday 19 April 2014.

Their Ranger bass boat powered by what appears to be a Mercury Marine outboard motor is thought to have struck a submerged object about 11:30 am near a rail road bridge close to Cruiser Haven Marina. The outboard motor broke loose from the boat during the impact, both men were ejected from the boat. The boat is thought to have continued on and lightly struck the BSF Railway railroad bridge. The boat operator was pulled from the water from the water 10 to 15 minutes later, but no sign was found of Todd Iwamoto.

Authorities, divers, and a Coast Guard helicopter searched for his body. Also responding were American Medical Response (AMR), Knightsen Fire Department, Oakley Police, and the Contra Costa County Sheriff. California Highway Patrol also provided aerial support. About 40 minutes into the search and rescue operation it was changed to a recovery operation. Todd Iwatoma’s body was found about 5.5 hours later at 5 pm. Read More→

Rex Chambers

Rex Chambers

Rex Chambers and his fishing partner, Danny Pettus / Daniel Pettus of Madison, Alabama, were participating in the Homeland Security bass fishing tournament on Wheeler Lake, at Decatur Alabama on Saturday May 3, 2014.

The were running in the 50’s (mph) headed toward the main channel, headed to Mallard Creek, when they hit a partially submerged log. They saw it, but without time to react, the outboard motor (a Mercury Marine 250 horsepower outboard) struck the log, broke loose from the transom, and flipped / flew into the boat still running with the prop rotating.

Rex Chambers reports hearing the loud over-revving motor and feeling it hit his back and crush him against the steering wheel and console. His partner was struck in the head by the skeg which then broke off. Rex reports the motor was moving toward and over him. The propeller hit the glove box, Rex’s left leg, and his left shoulder. Seconds later, they both recognized they were not doing well and both began to use their phones to call for help. Read More→

16 June 2014 UPDATE – According to corrected USCG statistics propeller injuries were actually slightly down. Below we will explain how the error was identified, corrected, and why we kept this post

History of this Post

We created and posted this article on 23 May 2014 based on the then recently released U.S. Coast Guard annual Recreational Boating Statistics for 2013.

Events Leading to Discovering the Error

On June 3, 2014 we forwarded a link to the post to the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety to make sure they were aware of the spike in boat propeller injuries.

The next day, June 4, 2014 USCG responded, said they were concerned about the spike in propeller accidents and they have an ongoing project looking at trends in accidents of various types.

On June 11, 2014, a reporter asked me some questions about current annual boat propeller accident statistics. I read him the 2013 data we had recently posted on our Statistics page and told him I would send him a link to the same data as presented by the Coast Guard.

When I went to the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety web site and downloaded the 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics report and was looking for the page number to point him to the data, I noticed the data had changed. I quickly checked the copy we had downloaded previously to make sure I had not made an error in transcribing the propeller accident data, the data was definitely different.

I sent the reporter a link to the report and told him I was confused. I did not know which data set was correct, but that I would ask USCG and they would respond, but possibly not by his deadline.

That same day I sent USCG an email saying we noticed the data for the struck by boat and the data for the struck by propeller row had been swapped and asked about the changes in the data.

Monday 16 June 2014 USCG responded and said they had originally mistakenly swapped the two rows of data. The error had been corrected, and an updated version of the report was now available (the same one I “found” on 11 June.

I thanked USCG for explaining what happened and told them I totally understand how easy it would be to swap some data rows in the annual statistics report.

Why we left this post up

This error is emblematic of a much larger problem. We cannot see the data behind the annual recreational boat statistics report. Many states no longer make their data available to the Public version of BARD. We need access to that data for a multitude of reasons and will leave this post up to demonstrate this reason (we cannot confirm data in the annual report).

We posted a copy of Version 2 of USCG’s Table 17 immediately below (the corrected version). We labeled it as Version 2 in red at the top.

U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics Table 17, version 2 (as captured 11 June 2014)

U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics Table 17, version 2 (as captured 11 June 2014)

You can see the rows for struck by boat and struck by propeller swapped data compared to the same table in our original post below.

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Below is our original post

NOTE – the calculations below are based on the WRONG data
(before USCG corrected the error)
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The annual 2013 U.S. Coast Guard Boating Statistics report released in May 2014 indicates a 65 percent increase in boat propeller injuries compared to 2012. Boat propeller accidents and fatalities also increased significantly.

2013 USCG recreational boat propeller accident data, as seen in the table below, reports 251 boat propeller accidents resulting in 309 injuries and 24 deaths. Read More→

U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics 2013 cover

U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics 2013 cover

U.S. Coast Guard released their annual recreational boating accident statistics report on Wednesday May 14th. The total fatality count for 2013 was 560 deaths, the lowest number of fatalities on record.

USCG reported 251 propeller accidents, 309 propeller injuries, and 24 propeller fatalities. We cover the huge spike in recreational boat propeller accidents, injuries, and fatalities in a separate post.

We would like to thank USCG for all the efforts they put into this annual statistical report of boating accidents.

We would also especially like to thank all the USCG, law enforcement officials, first responders, those offering boating safety classes, boat safety equipment checks, safe boaters, state boating law administrators, and others who helped drive the 2013 death total to a significant all time low (the previous recorded low was 651 deaths in 2012).


Social Media posts, photographs, and videos from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube, and others are becoming increasingly important in accident cases (auto accidents, workplace accidents, etc.).

This post will focus more specifically on the legal aspects of sharing and social network Social Media with respect to boat propeller accidents, and more specifically the legal aspects of social media with respect to the boat propeller accident involving DJ Laz. In addition to the many Social Media sites mentioned above, online boating forums represent yet another type of social media as well. Boating forums play such a large role they will be discussed separately in a future post.

Quad Yamaha 350's behind DJ Laz's boat

Quad Yamaha 350’s behind DJ Laz’s boat

Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

DJ Laz, a well known Miami, Florida area radio personality was operating a boat promoting Voli Spirits when it was involved in a fatal boat propeller accident on Sunday 4 May 2014.

The next day, Monday 5 May he posted a message on Facebook and Tweeted condolences to the deceased man’s family and said he was fully cooperating with the authorities.

Later the same day his Twitter account vanished from the Internet.

The next day (May 6th) his Facebook account vanished from the Internet.

We assume this attempted shutdown of his social media presence is due to him anticipating litigation being filed against him in the boat propeller accident (a suit was shortly later filed against him).

In response to the significant role Social Media is playing in this accident, and others, we created a post titled: Legal Aspects of Social Media and Boat Propeller Accidents: the DJ Laz example.


0 Categories : Legal Shorts

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez was killed by a boat propeller on Sunday 4 May 2014 near Key Biscayne Florida. The large boat involved was operated by a well known radio personality, DJ Laz (his real name is Lazero Mendez). We previously covered the accident in depth at DJ Laz Boat Propeller Kills Ernesto Hernandez.

Ernesto’s mother (Maricel Valdez) filed a law suit / legal action against DJ Laz and other today (Friday May 9, 2014) in Miami Dade County Court and held a news conference with her attorney, Carlos Silva.

The Miami Herald posted copy of the complaint. It charges DJ Laz with negligence for operating the boat’s motors while people were trying to push the boat off a sandbar. One news clip states Ernesto Hernandez had been asked to help, other news clips were less certain if people were invited or just came over to help. The lawsuit says, “DJ Laz solicited,asked or otherwise instructed and/or enlisted the event invitees, including the decedent Ernesto Hernandez, to help him extract the boat from the sand …” Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

Ernesto Hernandez Struck by Boat Propeller

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez, 23 of Hialeah, was among several who came to help push a large boat off a sandbar near Key Biscayne Florida on Sunday afternoon 4 May 2014. During the process, somehow he ended up behind the stern of the boat powered by four 350 horsepower Yamaha outboard motors. His torso was caught in a propeller, causing very serious injuries.

DJ Laz, stage name for Lazaro Mendez, a well known Miami Florida radio personality, was boating in Bill Baggs State Park, off Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne Florida. The area is known as No Name Harbor. He was operating his 42 foot HydraSports boat, “Off the Air”. His boat is used for sports fishing and to promote Voli Spirits / Voli Vodka. Read More→