Expert Witness Services for Boat Propeller Injury Cases / Propeller Guard Trials

Gary and Lora Polson

Gary and Lora Polson

Gary Polson P.E.
Propeller Guard Information Center

I, Gary Polson P.E., provide expert witness services, litigation support services, legal research, accident investigation, and informational assistance in boat propeller injury cases, propeller guard cases, boat kill switch / Circle of Death cases, dredge pipe strike cases, and certain other boating industry cases involving product liability, crashworthiness, or patent issues. We also work in the field of outboard motors striking submerged objects, breaking off, and flipping into boats.

Gary Polson cv
Billing Rate Sheet

My wife, Lora Polson, assists with the office, proofing documents, boat inspections, and traveling.

Among my qualifications are I:

  • Am a licensed professional engineer
  • Hold a Masters of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University
  • Normally spend time daily in the field boat propeller safety
  • Worked six years as an engineer at Mercury MerCruiser, a Brunswick Company
  • Have an understanding of the marine industry, marine drives, and boat propellers
  • Have experience as an expert witness, as a rebuttal expert witness, and as a consultant in boat propeller accident cases
  • Regularly assist attorneys in identifying and obtaining documents and information relevant to their boat propeller injury case
  • Have an understanding of the types of issues raised in a boat propeller injury case as exhibited by my Aspects of the Propeller Safety Debate chart
  • Webmaster of , previously known as the Propeller Guard Information Center
  • Maintain one of the largest archives of propeller safety and propeller accident information
  • Author of, A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety Issues and the Propeller Safety Movement
  • Author of multiple articles on Post Sale Monitoring of Boat Product Safety
  • Skilled user of the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD)
  • Created a series of training videos for boat builders using BARD
  • Bought attention and understanding to bass boat outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats after striking submerged objects.

My experience, qualifications (Gary Polson cv), and our extensive collection of boat propeller safety materials allows me to quickly come up to speed on your case.

Our rates are $100 per hour plus expenses. See our billing rate sheet for additional details.

One unique feature of our litigation support services is the vast amount of information we can bring to bear on your case.

In addition to our ability to identify similar accidents in the U.S. Coast Guard BARD (Boating Accident Report Database) for many types of boating accidents and in our own database of thousands news reports of boat propeller accidents, we maintain one of the largest archives of propeller safety / propeller accident information.

Our historical documents sometimes allow us to shed some light on what specific companies knew and when they knew it regarding specific propeller safety hazards and potential solutions.

Our Propeller Accident and Propeller Safety Archives

Our digital and print archives include:

  • Thousands of media reports of boat propeller accidents worldwide
  • Hundreds of video news reports of boat propeller accidents
  • Copies of propeller safety regulations, proposed propeller safety regulations, and public comments made on those proposed regulations
  • Industry test reports on propeller safety devices
  • Thousands of photographs
  • Archived historical copies of many boating industry websites
  • Archived historical copies of several propeller safety device manufacturer websites
  • Current and historical information on boat propeller safety devices
  • A collection of boat kill switch (emergency engine cut-off switch) documents
  • A collection of boat propeller warning documents including the ANSI Z535 warning standards and the ABYC T-5 technical information report.
  • Contact information for propeller safety researchers, propeller safety device manufacturers, propeller accident victims, and propeller safety advocates around the world
  • Content on and many reference materials used to write those articles
  • Coast Guard Public Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) from 1969 to present
  • Our own documents, like our study of the proposed houseboat propeller accident mitigation regulation and how it was rejected
  • Court documents, including expert witness reports, depositions, and testimonies from several boat propeller injury / propeller guard cases
  • Most of the items listed on our Annotated Bibliography of Propeller Safety
  • Thousands of boating industry documents
  • Files on over a hundred different aspects of boat propeller accidents including: “Circle of Death” accidents, lanyard kill switches / emergency engine cut-off switches, diving accidents, snorkeling propeller accidents, entrapment in a propeller, houseboat propeller accidents, pontoon boat propeller accidents, safety interlocks, specific sites / lakes at which multiple accidents have occurred, jet boats, propeller safety regulations, swim ladders, outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats, individual organizations involved in boating safety, near miss boat propeller accidents, marine life propeller strikes, the National Park Service, individual manufacturers of boats and marine drives, marine drives, propellers, propeller safety campaigns, people struck by propeller guards, wireless lanyards, and the biomechanics of underwater impact
  • Hundreds of boating and boating industry magazines
  • Hundreds of marine drive and boat manufacturer brochures
  • Proposed propeller safety regulations
  • Propeller manufacturing quantities, finances, and profits
  • Propeller safety device patents and the information behind many of those patents (the patent file wrapper)
  • Minutes of U.S. Coast Guard Propeller Injury Avoidance Meetings, National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) meetings, and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) meetings
  • Industry and Coast Guard propeller injury mitigation reports
  • Lists of propeller accidents of certain types (like houseboat propeller accidents, outboard motor struck submerged object and flipped up into boat, boat struck dredge pipe accidents, pontoon boat over the bow propeller accidents, etc.)
  • A large collection of reference books, including several of the actual books used by Chrysler (Force), Kiekhaefer Marine, Brunswick, Mercury Marine, and MerCruiser
  • In September 2012 we acquired a huge archive of boat propeller safety materials from Stop Propeller Injuries Now (SPIN).

Our access to these materials makes me a much more effective expert witness or non-testifying expert witness. We can quickly bring relevant information to bear on your case. Some of these materials and documents are not available anywhere else.

How People Can be Hit by a Boat Propeller

As an expert witness, I recognize people can be hit by a boat propeller as the result of many situations including:

  • Man overboard
  • Boat collision
  • One boat riding up over another
  • Swimming, diving, or snorkeling
  • Boat hits a wake and a person ejected
  • Unmanned boat goes into the “Circle of Death”
  • People trying to board an unmanned spinning boat from the water, from a PWC, or from another boat
  • Good Samaritans trying to rescue those in the water from a circling unmanned boat are struck by the propeller
  • People in the water trying to shield their loved ones from an oncoming circling unmanned boat
  • People in the water wearing life jackets trying to dive under an oncoming boat
  • Outboard or stern drive starts in gear and either ejects people or strikes those already in the water
  • Outboard or stern drive shifts into gear on its own and either ejects people or strikes people already in the water
  • Failure of the steering system and outboard or stern drive steers hard to one side
  • Failure of a fence or railing on the boat allows person to fall overboard
  • Design capacity of vessel exceeds the number of people it can safely carry and someone falls overboard
  • Collision with a floating object or log, submerged object, or fixed object like a boat dock, and a person is ejected
  • Collision with a log, dredge pipe, or other floating or submerged object and the outboard motor flips into the boat while the engine is still running
  • Sudden acceleration or deceleration of the boat ejects a person onboard
  • Boat operator throws the direction controls the wrong way by mistake
  • Person falls from the bow of a open bow boat or pontoon boat
  • Child, youth, or adult dangling feet over the front of a pontoon boat while underway, boat hits a wake or stops quickly, and they are ejected
  • Person falls overboard while trying to retrieve objects in the water
  • Person becomes entangled in tow rope, trotline, or fishing line and is pulled into the propeller
  • Motor is started or running when swimmer approaches the stern or swim ladder
  • Person boarding boat from dock and falls in
  • Boat runs over tubers they are towing themselves, or runs over tubers towed by others
  • One or more persons falls from skis, a wakeboard, tube, or other towed apparatus and is ran over by the boat towing them while they are being picked up, or by another boat while they are in the water
  • Personal WaterCraft (PWC, JetSki) hits boat, those on PWC are struck by propeller or those onboard the boat are ejected and struck
  • As the result of horseplay
  • As the result of teak surfing (hanging on to swim platform)
  • Wave surfing behind an outboard motor (surfing closely without a rope)
  • Person jumps in to urinate
  • Slips from boarding ladder
  • Houseboat with stern visibility issues
  • Person on a large boat or houseboat goes off a water slide just as the boat begins to reverse
  • Steps on non-rotating propeller while boarding
  • Rough weather ejects one of more persons
  • People in the water pushing the boat away from the rocks or out of the mud are struck by the propeller
  • Rope starting an outboard, it starts in gear or jumps in gear, ejecting the person
  • Boats enter swimming areas
  • Boats go too close to a diving flag
  • People fall from commercial vessels (party boats, party barges, diving tour boats, snorkeling boats) or approach them from the water at unsafe times
  • Equipment failure
  • Intentional acts of violence
  • Boat motor strikes stump and flips into boat
  • A period of time after dying from another cause (drifting body is struck by propeller)
  • Submerged hazards are not clearly marked
  • Boat rental operations may fail to properly train / educate those who take out their vessels

Product liability, crashworthiness, Admiralty Law, guarding, warnings, kill switches, and swim ladders are often elements of boat propeller / propeller guard cases. We provide expert witness services in these types of situations.

Some of Our Other Resources

In addition to our vast library, I am in contact with many researchers, propeller safety device manufacturers, propeller safety device inventors, boat propeller accident victims, and propeller safety advocates around the world. Those contacts help us sense the pulse of current developments and allow us to obtain additional materials and information.

We can post online requests to viewers for information about a specific accident, or other needs we may have.

Our archives, contacts, and access to many proprietary databases typically allow us to immediately retrieve several documents relevant to your case, identify other materials we may need, and quickly get to work as your expert witness, consultant, or as your non-testifying expert.

Contact Us

We can be reached the “Contact Us” tab on the top menu.