PropellerSafety.com

Archive for Boating Safety

A brief review of the major propeller safety events in 2016 including safety meetings, accidents, legal cases, deaths of those involved in the movement, statistics, patents, articles published, public service announcements, anniversaries, regulations, and other related events. Read More→

Categories : Year in Review

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→

Back in November 2011 we covered Mercury Marine’s Moving Propeller Alert. It displays LED lights to swimmers behind the vessel when the engine is running. Those same LED lights blink in a rotational pattern when the engine is on and the propeller is rotating. The propeller safety device was originally limited to boats with Mercury’s SmartCraft CANBUS network.

Mercury Marine MP Alert oval bezel

Mercury Marine MP Alert oval bezel

Mercury Marine has since updated their Moving Propeller Alert (MP Alert). MP Alert is now available in a smaller size for mounting where space is limited and for use on non-SmartCraft boats and with non-Mercury outboard motors. The system can run up to four individual rotating lights that can be a mix of the larger and smaller ones if desired.

As to use on non-Mercury systems, as we understand it, a switch in the dash allow the operator to turn the system off and on when swimmers are in the water. The two page flyer does not specifically say the lights automatically rotate when the engine is running and shifted into gear on non-Mercury outboards. They may be asking the operator to switch it on at those times when swimmers are in the water.

The LED lights are automatically dimmed at night so they will not be confused with navigational lights.

Mercury issued a colorful 2 page pdf sheet describing the updated MP Alert propeller safety system.


0 Categories : New Products

Chris Lane, popular professional bass angler, fished the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake near Grove Oklahoma using The Leash. Outboard motors can strike submerged objects at bass boat speeds, break off, and flip into the boat while still running. Just like a NASCAR tire tether prevents tires from breaking loose during a collision and becoming a dangerous projectile, The Leash prevents the outboard from reaching bass boat operators or passengers.


I used Photoshop to crop and brighten an image taken by Bassmaster showing Chris Lane with his orange Power Poles and orange The Leash.

The Leash on Chris Lane's boat during 2016 Bassmaster Classic photo is an edited version of Bassmaster's Bling Gallery image #24

The Leash on Chris Lane’s boat during 2016 Bassmaster Classic
photo is an edited version of Bassmaster’s Bling Gallery image #24

All the remaining photos were taken by me.


Chris Lane at Bassmaster Classic 2016 blastoff Day 1

Chris Lane at Bassmaster Classic 2016 blastoff Day 1

Blast-off Day 1. We have a high resolution version of this image that looks very nice.


Read More→

0 Categories : Bass Tournaments

The recent death of Sri Shim by a boat propeller has energized calls for safer waters off Hawaii.

Luke Evslin, injured in a high profile propeller accident 5 years ago, is also speaking out for the need for propeller guards.

House Bill 2024 now calls for propeller guards / prop guards to be installed on all motorized recreational boats operating within 500 meters of shore.

A House Committee will hold a hearing on the bill Wednesday 17 February at 9am.

Hawaii proposes propeller guard bill. Hawaii News Now

Hawaii proposes propeller guard bill. Hawaii News Now image

Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

When an outboard motor strikes a submerged object at speed it may break off and flip into the boat. Outboards that flip into the boat usually do so with the engine still running and the propeller turning at thousands of RPM. Those on board can be critically injured or killed.

We have long been especially pointing out the need to prevent larger outboard motors, such as those on bass boats, from entering the boat.

The Leash is a new product designed specifically to prevent outboard motors from flipping into bass boats and usable in other applications as well.

All images below, except the hand sketch have their origins based on images on The Leash’s Facebook page.

Shortly after we posted this page, The Leash also launched a web page on TheLeash.net.

The Leash: promotional image

The Leash: promotional image

Read More→

0 Categories : New Products

Christopher D'Amico

Christopher D’Amico

“Christopher’s Law”, named for Christopher D’Amico from Mount Arlington, New Jersey was signed into New Jersey law on Tuesday 19 January 2016. Ten year old Christopher was fatally struck by a 20 foot rental pontoon boat on Lake Hopatcong 24 June 2015.

While details are a little sketchy, it looks like young Christopher probably fell from the bow of a rented pontoon boat, as have many children, and was struck in the head by the propeller.

Governor Chris Christie signed bill S-3233 into law. It was sponsored by Anthony Bucco, Gail Phoebus, and Nancy Munoz. The new law requires those renting pontoon boats to complete safety instruction training before taking out the boat. Business renting pontoon boats must now prominently post a large metallic propeller warning sign near the entrance to their rental area. Read More→

1 Categories : Regulations

I attended day one of the 19-20 September 2015 Nichols Marine Tournament Series Championship bass tournament at Wolf Creek boat ramp on Grand Lake. This was a chance to see the Wolf Creek ramp facilities in action during a large tournament (195 boats) prior to the Bassmaster Classic in March 2016 as well as to test out some of our gear in that setting.

Prizes were significant, including a Ranger Z119c with Mercury 225 Pro XS for first place, and a Triton 189 TRX with a Mercury 150 outboard for second.

They used a large tent as headquarters for the tournament.

Large tent used as headquarters for Nichols Marine Tournament Series Championship, Grand Lake, September 2015.

Large tent used as headquarters for Nichols Marine Tournament Series Championship, Grand Lake, September 2015.

We will open our coverage with some of the safety features we saw in new boats on display by Nichols Marine under the tent. Read More→

0 Categories : Bass Tournaments

This is part of our advance coverage of the 2016 Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament to be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.

With the tournament coming back to Grand Lake (was here in 2013) we decided to take an early look at the facilities layout back in May 2015. I arrived on site at Wolf Creek Ramp on Grand Lake the morning of 4 May 2015. It was a very nice day. I hope the weather is this nice come tournament time (early March 2016).

I grew up about 30 miles from Wolf Creek Ramp. Many of my ancestors lived where the lake now is a far back as the Civil War.

Wolf Creek Park regularly hosts bass tournaments and has has wonderful facilities for doing so. Several agencies and Grand River Dam Authority planned significant facility upgrades in advance of the tournament. Most of those upgrades have been completed, but Grand Lake was flooded in late December 2015 and crews are still cleaning up in the aftermath.

The base of the boat ramps was sandbagged to prevent erosion during the flooding.


The park has a large nice parking lot nearby the ramps.

Large parking lot at Wolf Creek Park, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Large parking lot at Wolf Creek Park, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma in May 2015

In the distance you can see a nice building (red roof) containing restrooms.


They have a nice building containing large spacious restrooms within walking distance of the boat ramps. The photo below was actually taken in September 2015 as it came out much better than some I shot in May.

Restroom building at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Restroom building at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

As you walk on down past the restroom building you enter the area with some trailer parking near the ramps. The trailer parking was left open to allow staging for rapidly launching in advance of a tournament I observed in September 2015. A much larger area for parking trailers is nearby.

Below is the dock most often shown representing Wolf Creek boat ramp. It splits into two moderate length and runs out into the lake. Locally it is known as the “Tuning Fork” dock (looks like a piano tuning fork from the air).

Docks at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma in May 2015

Docks at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma in May 2015


The park is very nice with life jacket loaner stations and a multiple fishing line recycle stations.

Life Jacket loaner stand at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Life Jacket loaner stand at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Reel In and Recycle! station near dock at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Reel In and Recycle! station near dock at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma


Wolf Creek Park has nice weigh in facilities for smaller bass tournaments. They even have cement tank to keep the fish in.

Weigh in station at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Weigh in station at Wolf Creek boat ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Tournament tank for holding fish at Wolf Creek Ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma

Tournament tank for holding fish at Wolf Creek Ramp, Grand Lake, Grove Oklahoma


I am a firm believer in Restrooms being a thermometer of the condition of a park. On my September 2015 visit to Wolf Creek ramp I happened to be the only one in the men’s restroom so I snapped the photo below. I dare you to compare that with most lake park restrooms. This is a place we can be proud of.

Men's Restroom at Wolf Creek Park near the boat ramps. September 2015.

Men’s Restroom at Wolf Creek Park near the boat ramps. September 2015.


We borrowed a December 15, 2015 aerial photo from Wolf Creek Park’s FaceBook page showing some paving improvements near the ramps before the flood.

Wolf Creek boat ramp improvements 15 December 2015

Wolf Creek boat ramp improvements 15 December 2015
photo courtesy Wolf Creek Park FaceBook page

Other recent facility updates include:

  • New sidewalks & storm water drainage.
  • Streamlining the entrance from Highway 59.
  • The existing boat ramps (as shown in the May 2015 photos above) were ripped out and replaced by Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA). The new ramps have a more appropriate slope.
  • Parking near the ramps now better blends with the slope of the ramps.
  • Additional parking has been added to the south of the existing parking near the ramps

Its great to see our state pulling together to make improvements in advance of the tournament during challenging economic times (our state economy is heavily dependent on oil money).


We cover a large bass tournament at Wolf Creek boat ramp in September 2015 in our next post.


0 Categories : Bass Tournaments