Archive for Australia

Denique Peace

Denique Peace
cropped from a Facebook image

Denique Peace, now 16, was struck by a boat propeller while wake boarding back on 12 December 2014 on the Murray River in Australia. The young girl aspiring to be a dancer lost her left leg just below the hip.

19 January 2016, about a year after the accident,Daily Mail, a well known U.K. media outlet with in Australian presence, published an excellent followup story on Denique’s recovery. As some other young girls struck by propellers, Denique has been extremely resilient. Now she hopes she will be able to dance in her school prom using her prosthetic leg.

The Daily Mail article is titled,

It felt as if my leg had gone through a shredder.
by Jenny Awford for Daily Mail Australia.
19 January 2016. Read More→

New South Wales (NSW), an Australian state that includes Sydney, recently proposed an update to their Marine Safety Regulations. The update addresses many issues, including mandatory wear of kill switch lanyards on vessels of less than 4.8 meters (about 15.75 feet) equipped with a kill switch.

The new proposed safety regulations are introduced by their Maritime Management Centre at Marine Safety Regulation. The page includes links to the proposed regulation, a regulatory impact statement, and a feedback form. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Yachting Australia logo

Yachting Australia logo

Yachting Australia, a national sports organization for Sailing, issued a Safety Information Notice on the Risk of Propeller Strikes 26 August 2013.

Yachting Australia is a federation of 8 state and territory yachting associations that represent a total of nearly 400 affiliated sailing clubs and about 60,000 members. and Australian Sailing are also under the Yachting Australia umbrella organization.

The recent Safety Notice is a continuation of many steps being taken in Australia to improve boat propeller safety.

Per the statement, Yachting Australia recommends “The use of propeller guards for outboard engines at training centres and clubs where there is dinghy and windsurfing training.” Read More→

1 Categories : Regulations

The June 2013 editorial in Afloat, an Australian boating and sail boating magazine, is titled “Exposed Propellers Are Now Both a Safety…. And Financial Hazard!“. The editorial by Robin Copeland strongly makes the point that Australian regulators and New Zealand Courts are charging and pursuing organizations that fail to provide safeguards for their employees and volunteers.

Three recent events are cited as examples:

Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

On 31 July 2009, UNSW (Australia) School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences was conducting a field trip in Darling Harbor. Students were to visit sites within the harbour using an outboard powered RIB and move on to other nearby destinations.

The boat operator (a University research assistant with a boat operator license) was turning at about 10 to 12 knots, lost control of the Zodiac RIB, and three passengers were ejected. A student (Ms. Gall) among those ejected was seriously struck by the boat or propeller.

The University was sued by WorkCover NSW in New South Wales (NSW) Industrial Court for failing to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2000, and fined $100,000 (Australian dollars).

The boat was found to have been too heavily loaded in the bow, creating bow steering, which caused the boat to inadvertently steer to the left or right.

Following the accident, UNSW implemented several safety changes and has since logged over 500 boating days without an accident.

Importance of This Fine

While the claims are not specific as to the injured party being struck by the boat OR by the propeller, this case comes on the heels of the Australian Military Being Fined $210,000 for Not Using Propeller Guards.

Together, these two workplace cases set a considerable precedent. Workplace Safety Australia is going to be investigating workplace propeller injuries to determine if the employer had proper safety practices and equipment in place before the accident, and charging employers that fail to safeguard their employees.

New Zealand has been seeing several propeller accidents recently and is obviously watching what is going on in Australia. The U.K. is still responding the high profile fatality of Charlie Hutton, along with many other propeller accidents. As we visit with people “in the mix” in the UK they are very aware of what is happening in Australia on this front and many other propeller safety issues.

These cases are setting a significant precedent for workplace propeller safety around the world, and a wakeup call for those manufacturing recreational boats and marine drives as well. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

Back in February 2010, Oliver Minchin, a 19 year old military cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy was participating with other cadets in fast water insertion training (jumping in while underway at speed) from a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) on Lake Burrinjuck. Minchin was severely struck by the propeller. His father, a well known senator, stepped down from politics in part to care for his son during his long recovery.

Comcare, Australia’s version of the the United States’ Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), sued the Defence Force and the Australian Defence Academy for unsafe practices regarding the accident.

On 13 December 2012 Federal Court of Australia decided Comcare v. Commonwealth of Australia. Judge John Griffiths levied a $210,000 AU (Australian dollars) fine against the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) for not having propeller guards on the boat involved in the Minchin accident. He also awarded Comcare their costs. As of December 2012, one Australian dollar is equal to just a little more than one U.S. dollar. ($1AU = $1.05 US). Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

Adrian Todd was 14 years old when he was struck in the face by a boat propeller on April 21, 2008 at Refuge Bay in New South Wales (NSW) Australia. His cheekbone was crushed, his left eye socket was damaged, his left cheek was severely lacerated, his nose and upper lip were cut in half, his right cheek and eye lids were lacerated, and his right eye was permanently damaged.

Adrian Todd pull started a 8 horsepower Mercury outboard motor, the motor was in gear or slipped into gear, Adrian fell over the stern of the Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) and was struck by the propeller.

Legal action was brought against Mercury Marine Australia. The case rose through the Australian court system to the Supreme Court of NSW, Court of Appeal in Sydney. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

An NSW Transport Roads and Maritime accident investigation report dated February 2, 2012, “Report of a Special Purpose Investigation: Into a Propeller Strike Injury Involving an Australian Defence Force Academy Vessel on Lake Burrinjuck NSW on 14 February 2010”, found a group of Cadets and Midshipmen were undertaking training for water insertions (leave the RIB while underway) on Lake Burrinjuck NSW. After the training, the Cadets took the 6.3 meter RIB powered by a 115 HP Yamaha outboard for a joyride including high speed turns during which several people were ejected. In one of those incidents, a Cadet fell from the boat and sustained life threatening injuries from the propeller.

NSW Propeller Accident Investigation Report

NSW Propeller Accident Investigation Report

The investigation found:

  • The Defence literature provides sufficient guidance to conclude that a propeller guard should have been fitted unless there were compelling operating reasons not to do so.
  • There is no evidence of any compelling operational reasons for not fitting a propeller guard.
  • There is no evidence that the vessel was previously fitted with a propeller guard.
  • The risk assessment for water insertions did not adequately consider the likelihood and consequences of a propeller strike.
  • There was no assessment for joyriding.

While the report does not identify the injured Cadet, it is obviously Oliver Minchin. This was a very high profile accident in Australia. Senate Leader Nick Minchin is Oliver Minchin’s father. The accident and Oliver’s recovery were prominently covered in the news.

0 Categories : Regulations

Propeller Guard Design: An Investigation Using CFD. Oliver Lee. University of Sydney (Australia). November 2011.

Mercury CFD mesh

Mercury Marine CFD mesh

We are thrilled to welcome this Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of propeller guards into the library of academic research studies on propeller guards by college students around the world. We also proud to have been a small part of it as it developed. A huge thanks to Oliver Lee for his efforts, to Dr. Steve Armfield his supervisor, to Julian Todd (an Australian propeller safety advocate who assisted with the project), and to the University of Sydney for all their support.

We first heard from Oliver Lee back in late March 2011 as he was getting underway on his Senior Thesis and were able to point him to some information and other studies he found helpful.

Since then he took on a broad swath of propeller guard topics in addition to performing the CFD analysis:

  • Surveyed the types of propeller guards and other propeller safety devices available
  • Investigated the history of propeller guards and the debate surrounding their use
  • Investigated the accident frequency of propeller guards
  • Investigated the relative costs of propeller guard designs
  • Investigated the Australian Safety Propeller and how it fits within this arena
  • Developed a propeller guard rating system based on the protection provided
  • Developed the model and the equations for the CFD analysis

You can download the full pdf document from the link below the thesis. Read More→

0 Categories : Research Projects