Archive for October 2016

Good Samaritans in Minnesota have came to the rescue in at least two different Circle of Death boating accidents so far this year.

Neighbors were recently honored for saving Lora Sweet, 51, and Timothy Bahama, 48, both of Brainerd Minnesota from a 15 April 2016 Circle of Death accident on Rice Lake. They were in a 17 foot tiller steered fishing boat powered by a 40 horsepower outboard. Lora and Timothy were both flung from the boat into cold 44 degree water about 6pm, the boat went into the Circle of Death, and ran over Sweet more than once. News reports sway she was struck by the motor / propeller twice. WCCO 4News at Noon told the story of the award ceremony on 27 September 2016.

Rescuers Honored in MN

Neighbors Honored in MN boat accident rescue

The video above appears to show a tiller steered Lund boat.

The second pair of Good Samaritans, Brian Bahr and Kyle Bourasa, sprang to the rescue this past Sunday, 24 October 2016 on Bald Eagle Lake near the town of White Bear Lake. They pulled two men from 50 degree water while the victim’s boat was in the Circle of Death. KSTP ABC News5 ran a great article and video telling of the rescue.

The video above also appears to show a tiller steered Lund boat, this one with a Mercury Marine outboard motor.


Thousands of boaters owe their lives to similar Good Samaritans around the country and world. We thank all of them and encourage the rest of you to be prepared and willing to spring into action should the need arise. Boat propeller accidents would be more frequent and more severe without your help.

Timothy Clippard

Timothy Clippard

In May 2013 Timothy Clippard of Missouri was killed in a boating accident on Kentucky Lake during a bass fishing tournament. His fishing partner piloted the Ranger bass boat as they passed under a large bridge on the way back to weigh in. The 225 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor struck a barely submerged bridge support beam hidden by high water. The outboard motor broke off the back of the boat, flipped into the boat, and with the propeller still rotating under power, fatally struck Tim Clippard. We previously covered the accident at Timothy Clippard of Missouri Killed on Kentucky Lake in Boat Accident.

Mr. Clippard’s widow sued Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan).

Clippard, et al v. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., et al
United States District Court
Western District of Kentucky
Case # 5:;14-cv-83-TBR

The complaint alleged:

1. Yamaha was aware of the risk of outboard motors striking submerged objects and flipping into the boat, and was aware of feasible alternative designs to eliminate these risks, and did little to develop and nothing to implement such alternative designs.

2. Yamaha knew or should have known the hazards and dangers associated with the motor and failed to adequately warn expected and foreseeable users.

In addition to traditional damages sought with the death of a loved one in a collision accident, the family also sought punitive damages based on Yamaha’s knowledge of the problem and their failure to develop and implement alternative designs.

Curtis O. Poore of The Limbaugh Law Firm and Peter Perlman of Peter Perlman Law Offices filed the complaint on 30 April 2014. Midway during the case, Morry S. Cole of Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. replaced Mr. Perlman.

Linsey W. West and Kara M. Stewart of Dinsmore & Shohle LLP and Richard A. Mueller of Thompson Colburn LLP represented Yamaha.

The Judge, Judge Thomas B. Russell, issued an Order of Dismissal on 30 September 2016 announcing a settlement had been reached, and the case was dismissed.

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

U.S. Coast Guard emblemIn advance of the October 21-22, 2016 National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 96th meeting, the U.S. Coast Guard requested public comments on items on the agenda. The announcement was published in the September 26th Federal Register and the public was given 5 days to respond.

One of the topics to be presented at the conference is a talk by Mr. Phil Cappel titled, “Recent Propeller Injuries & Discussion of Potential Mitigation Strategies”. We submitted a comment on this topic. Our comment lists three types of recent accidents and provides economical mitigation strategies for each of them that are not in wide use:

  • Pontoon boat “over the bow” propeller strikes – many are preventable by eliminating the bow forward of the fence OR by making it very uncomfortable to sit forward of the front fence and especially to sit on the bow with your legs dangling over the bow. One mitigation shown uses safety grating as flooring forward of the front fence. It is easy to walk on and very uncomfortable to sit on.
  • Circle of Death bass boat propeller strikes – preventable by the use of foot throttles (boat slows to an idle if ejected without a kill switch lanyard attached). Foot throttles are in wide use on bass boats, but they are not currently being marketed as a propeller safety device.
  • Large outboard motor strikes submerged object, outboard motor breaks off, and flips into the boat propeller strikes – preventable by the use of a tether

Our public comment letter provides additional details and links describing these accidents, provides lengthy lists of accidents of each type, and addition details on the mitigations mentioned above.

0 Categories : Regulations