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Archive for April 2017

Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington Virginia

Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington Virginia

U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) held their 97th meeting in Arlington Virginia Thursday 23 March – Saturday 25 March 2017.

The meeting was held in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington.

The meeting room was setup with tables forming a horseshoe at the front of the room, with the open end of the horseshoe facing the public seating area. Each Council member had their own microphone. A microphone stand in front of the public area was used for public comment.

NBSAC97 room layout. See the horseshoe arrangement of tables at front (toward the projection screen) for the Council. Public sits in the back.

NBSAC97 room layout. See the horseshoe arrangement of tables at front (toward the projection screen) for the Council. Public sits in the back.


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U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 2 of our coverage.

Thursday Early Afternoon 25 March 2017.

Subcommittee Meetings

Much of the work of NBSAC occurs in the three subcommittees:

1. Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee
2. Prevention Through People Subcommittee
3. Strategic Planning Subcommittee

Each Subcommittee presented some topics Thursday afternoon.


Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee

Pete Chisholm of Mercury Marine chairs this subcommittee.


Visual Distress Signals

Marty Jackson of USCG presented on Visual Distress Signals.

Traditionally boaters carried flares for visual distress signals. Some LED lights are now bright enough to meet nighttime use requirements. The current lights do not work well in daylight.

The technical criteria they have been looking at does not include affordability or durability.

They are considering flashing them at 4 Hertz (4 times per second) or flashing them to sent “S-O-S” in Morse code.

There was considerable discussion about some LED products currently on the market claiming to be USCG approved.

Besides convenience, an LED light that COULD also work in daylight could eliminate the need for flares. It would also eliminate the need to track flare expiration dates and properly dispose of them.


Life Jackets

Jackie Yurkovich of USCG gave an update on the transition to new life jacket approval standards.

Basically they are trying to harmonize U.S. life jacket standards with Canada AND Canada’s standard is much closer to the international standard.

By bringing the standards together (harmonizing them), those building life jackets will no longer have to build special life jackets for each country.
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U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 3 of our coverage.

Thursday Late Afternoon 25 March 2017.
Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee continued

Recent Propeller Injuries & Discussion of Potential Mitigation Strategies

Brian Goodwin of ABYC at NBSAC97

Brian Goodwin of ABYC at NBSAC97

by Phil Cappel Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety and Brian Goodwin of ABYC (John Adey of ABYC was previously listed in error)
Brian Goodwin gave the presentation.

PropellerSafety.com note – this presentation was a followup presentation on the discussion at NBSAC96 about pontoon boat bow riding propeller injuries. Prior to NBSAC96 we sent the Coast Guard a link to our post about a cluster 6 pontoon boat bow riding accidents in 8 days in the summer of 2016. As a result of those accidents they began to look into the issue. In NBSAC96 they announced a study of pontoon boat accident data would be undertaken.

When we were here in the Fall we heard about a rash of accidents that were happening on pontoon boats and what was looked at was bow riding. As a result a Resolution 2016-96-04 was passed.

As a result, USCG reached out to ABYC and that project is what he will be talking about.

The resolution called for:
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U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 4 of our coverage.

Friday 25 March 2017.
Prevention Through People Subcommittee

Rich Jepsen at NBSAC97

Rich Jepsen at NBSAC97

Rich Jepson opened the Prevention Though People segment.

He expressed his thanks to Jeff Ludwig, Jeff Hoedt, and Captain Boross.

Streamlining On-Water Instructor Licensing
by Rich Jepson

He presented and there was an engaging conversation about on water boater safety training, sometimes called skills training. Several groups are beginning to or would like to offer on the water boating safety training for boat operators. Existing regulations consider that act carriage for hire, resulting in the person providing the training needing to have higher level commercial vessel operator licenses, a significant number of hours on the sea, a medical physical (somewhat like a pilot), and pass a drug test. These requirements can cost a few thousand dollars and take a lot of time.

Another possible route has been found. A Limited Operator (LOUPV) category might be used by those providing training.
LOUPV = Limited Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel license.

The Limited Operator licenses must be established and worked out locally. Various local restrictions can be placed upon them such as daylight only, stay out of the sea lanes, stay close to shore, Spring and Summer only, or whatever the local officers deem appropriate.

Mr. Jepson proposes NBSAC work with USCG headquarters to create a guide to help those wishing to provide these services be able to navigate the challenges of obtaining a license to do so.

Captain Gifford asked about age requirements for LOUPV, you must be 18 of older. Several offering on water safety training are though to be under 18.

There was considerable discussion of current regulatory challenges resulting in the inability to create some new category or add a subset within an existing regulation to make what they wanted possible.
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U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 5 of our coverage.

Saturday 26 March 2017.

The last day is typically reserved for the three subcommittees (Boats and Boat Equipment, Prevention Through People, and Strategic Planning) presenting resolutions, the discussion and formalization of those resolutions, and voting on them.

With no resolutions this year, beyond those recognizing those retiring, it was mostly comments on the three topics, planning for the future, and some informational presentations.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Accident Statistics
by Pam Doty of USACE

Pam Doty of USACE presenting at NBSAC97

Pam Doty of USACE presenting at NBSAC97

ACE owns a number of lakes and record accidents at those facilities, not all of which occur on the water.

USACE might be able to move the needle in ways USCG has not been able to on life jacket wear.

Several years ago they required life jacket wear on a part of Mississippi. They previously counted lake traffic there and on surrounding lakes. Traffic did not decrease on mandatory wear lakes, it actually increased. Wear rate is still higher there years later. She hopes to do some counting there this year.

Wear rate went up to about 80 percent.

Officers just enforced the law (mandatory wear) when they encountered people. They gave out warnings and tickets. The word got out and coffee shop chat spread the word.
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This report is of a near miss propeller propeller accident that could have been avoided if the operator had been wearing a kill switch per Canadian authorities.

It also points out the dangers of hypothermia while boating in cold waters that were stressed in the recent NBSAC meeting.

Thursday night, 23 March 2017, a family of four were boating on Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, Canada.

While trying to pull up a crab pot, the two male adults and a 2 year old boy were ejected from the boat when one man inadvertently bumped the throttle, leaving a 5 year old girl and a dog on board.

Only the children were wearing life jackets.

The 5 meter boat spun in the Circle of Death at full speed in the cold water. Read More→