Archive for August 2016

Its been about two years since we updated the List of Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents, many of which result from bow riding / bowriding.

The recent cluster of pontoon boat propeller accidents, 6 media reported accidents in 8 days in late July and early August, followed by the Kaden Frederick fatality, the chaos at Ocean City Maryland following several accidents there, combined with our earlier efforts at trying to prevent these accidents, and a possibility to get some attention focused on this issue caused us to update the list.

The new version is two pages long, includes 198 incidents, some of which included multiple propeller strikes.

Pontoon Boat anchor on shore

Pontoon Boat anchored on shore

We tried to limit the list to only over the bow prop accidents on pontoon boats. There are numerous other ways to get struck by the propeller of a pontoon boat, but this is the leading cause, and the cause that most often involves children. Read More→

A flurry of boat boat propeller accidents in Ocean City, Maryland has many talking about the recent cluster of accidents.

As we scanned the news this morning (24 August 2016) our eyes were drawn to a DelmarvaNow headline, “In Ocean City, Propeller Accidents Chop Up Vacations”. DelmarvaNow is part of the USAToday media network. DelmarvaNow is named for a large peninsula that includes most of Delaware and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

Original DelmarvaNow headline

Original DelmarvaNow headline

Boating communities, like Ocean City, have long been known for minimal coverage of boating accidents because such coverage can drive boaters and tourists away (AND ADVERTISERS with connections to those activities which is most of them in a resort community).

Our observations, some of which have been documented, are the U.S. media fails to cover many fatal boating accidents, only locally covers those they do, and uses much tamer (less shocking) headlines and photos than the rest of the world. Read More→

Outboard can strike submerged object, break off, and flip into the boat warning

Outboard can strike submerged object, break off, and flip into the boat warning

In 1970, William Haddon, Jr. a well known safety expert published a ground breaking safety article:
On The Escape of Tigers: an Ecological Note.
by William Haddon, Jr.
American Journal of Public Health.
December 1970. Vol.60. No.12. Pages 2229-2234.

The the article has since been widely republished and reprinted.

The thesis of the article is that per Mr. Haddon, by 1970 The United States and most developed nations had made significant progress against “living environmental hazards” (medical issues caused by living organisms such as germs, bacteria, etc.). However, similar progress had not been made against “non-living hazards” (accidents leading to injury or death).

The field of Medicine had many strategies and processes by which to attack emerging problems causes by living organisms (such as the Zika virus in current times). While science may not immediately defeat the Zika virus, the basic processes and methods to use to begin to develop a means to combat such a threat are well known.

That same basic structure of processes by which to develop a means to combat an emerging health risk caused by a living organism did not exist to combat a health risk caused by a non-living structure (such as some new type of accident that injures or kills humans).

In his paper, Haddon tried to bring structure to the process of mitigating or eliminating accidents resulting from the sudden release of energy.

In order to better marshal resources against these “non-living hazards”, William Haddon, Jr. suggested that many of them result from “the transfer of energy in such ways and amounts,and at such rapid rates, that inanimate or animate structures are damaged. (Like a bass boat outboard motor striking a submerged object, breaking off, flipping into the boat, and striking those on board with its still rotating propeller). Haddon goes on identify some harmful “non-living hazards” that interact with people and property as: hurricanes, earthquakes, projectiles (like an outboard motor), moving vehicles (like a boat), ionizing radiation, lightning, conflagrations, and notes the cuts and bruises of daily life illustrate our interaction with the rapid transfer of energy.

The paper’s title derives from one example of the quick release energy, the release of tigers. Read More→

Kaden Frederick cropped from Daily Mail image

Kaden Frederick
cropped from Daily Mail image

Kaden Frederick, 9 of Howell New Jersey, was among 17 people on a rental pontoon boat in Sinepuxent Bay near Ocean City Maryland on Wednesday afternoon August 17th. Four people, including Kaden, were bow riding / bowriding with their legs dangling off the front of the pontoon boat. About 2:50 pm Kaden Frederick and an 11 year old fell overboard. The operator could not stop the boat in time. Both children were struck by the rental pontoon boat propeller. Kaden was struck several times by the propeller. His father is Ulyssee Frederick Jr. The driver of the boat has not yet been identified.

A group of paramedics and state troopers were nearby on a pontoon boat. Six of them boarded the rented pontoon boat ( says those included two nurses, on emergency medical technician, and two off-duty troopers) to help out after Kaden’s relatives pulled him from the water. Kaden went into cardiac arrest and died.

The pontoon boat had been rented from Under the Bridge Water Sports in Ocean City Maryland. says the operator took a brief safety course at the rental facility before the group of 17 family members and friends departed the dock. Per, a spokeswoman for Maryland Natural Resources Police said, “It is not legal for a person to sit with his or feet draped over the edge of a pontoon in Maryland” and that alcohol is not expected to be a factor in this accident.

Under the Bridge rental pontoon boats

Under the Bridge rental pontoon boats

The maker of the pontoon boat and outboard motor have not been publicly identified. From the rental facility website, there is a strong probability the outboard is a 90 horsepower Honda outboard.

Like many accidents, early on there is conflicting information. For example, early reports say the other child (11 year old) was taken to a local hospital with propeller lacerations. However, later reports say only one child was involved.

WDRE posted a great video with some footage of the area and the tour boat that came to the rescue. Read More→

Pontoon boat propeller accidents tend to pileup in the summer months. But the recent cluster of 6 media reported pontoon boat propeller accidents in 8 days should be a wake up call for change. As always, these are media reports, exact circumstances may not be correct and things may change by issue of actual official boat accident reports, however pontoon boats were involved and people were thought to be struck by the boat or propeller:

  • 30 July 2016 – Natalya Potsurko, 26 year old female, struck off Ocean City Maryland. Standing on bow of a rental pontoon when it hit a wake, she fell overboard and was struck by the propeller in the face and leg. news clip
  • 1 August – Pamela K. Portillo, 53 of Iowa, struck in Stockton Lake in Missouri August 1st. Pontoon boat gate gave way, propeller struck her legs, one since amputated below the knee. news clip
  • 3 August – Jesse Nicholas Cardone, 19, struck in Maine on Long Lake. Boating with his family and another family, fell from front of pontoon boat, boat passed over him, his body was recovered late the next day using sidescan sonar. news clip
  • 6 August – Kevin Theodore Husum, of Florida, struck on Lake Lanier in Georgia. He was throwing a football to another boat, jumped off, ended up under the boat, and struck by the propeller. Authorities are still searching for his body. newsclip
  • 6 August – a boy less than 10 years old struck in Massachusetts. His legs were struck by the propeller of the pontoon boat that took him out on the Beaver Lake to swim. news clip
  • 6 August – Wilmer Ramirez-Escalante, 20 year old male, struck at Isle of Wight Bay in Maryland. Rental pontoon boat ran aground, officers found several people in the water including a man bleeding profusely from an artery in his arm after being struck by the propeller. news clip

Pontoon boat on Keystone Lake in July 2016

Pontoon boat on Keystone Lake near Manford Oklahoma on 2 July 2016

Read More→