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Hunter Bland and Conner Young of the University of Florida Bass Fishing team were ejected from their bass boat at speed during a Collegiate tournament in January 2017.

A steering system failure caused the boat to abruptly turn to the right. Hunter was operating the boat and had the kill switch lanyard attached. Both young men were wearing life jackets.

Today, July 10, 2017 the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) released a great kill switch Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Hunter Bland.

Kill Switch PSA: NSBC & Hunter Bland


Read More→

USCG Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2016

USCG Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2016

U.S. Coast Guard recently released their annual 2016 recreational boating accident statistics report.

Total counts for 2016 Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) reported accidents were considerably higher than in 2016.

2016 USCG BARD reported accident statistics were 4,463 accidents, 2903 injuries, and 701 fatalities.

2015 USCG stats were 4,158 accidents, 2,613 injuries, and 626 fatalities.

For 2016 USCG reported 171 propeller accidents, 175 propeller injuries, and 24 fatalities.

2015 USCG stats were 158 propeller accidents, 150 propeller injuries, and 27 propeller fatalities.

Thanks to all those at USCG whose efforts helped make this annual statistical report of boating accidents possible.

We would also like to thank USCG, law enforcement officials, lake patrols, first responders, nurses and physicians, those offering boating safety classes, boat safety equipment check points, safe boaters, state boating law administrators, life jacket loaner program participants, Operation Dry Water, those spreading boating safety messages, and all others who work tirelessly to drive these annual totals down.

Plus thanks to all the state boating law administrators and all the officers in the field filling out the accident reports, and to the individuals that self reported their accidents.


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.

Captain Boross said, in 1782 Alexander Hamilton said, It’s our duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.

Meaning, we need to work within the existing system. It does us no good to imaging passing some regulation like we would want because we cannot do that at this time. We need to work within the system as it is, not as it ought to be.

Captain Boross thanked Pam Dillon for the article on page 82 of Proceedings about “on water” skills training.

Captain Boross said concerning creating new regulations to make it easier for entities to provide skills training, His office would carry the flag for us, but they can’t carry this one. But he emphasized that trusted entities in specific locations would be given a limited LOUPV.
He noted that model acts, sample laws written by NASBLA, that could be adopted one state at a time are an opportunity.

There was considerable discussion about people thinking this type of training would reduce the number of accidents, but there is not data available to prove that at this time, so the programs cannot be sold to regulators on that basis.

One concern is the poor behavior of some boaters could result in all boaters being banned from certain areas. It is hoped that on water training would result in more boaters being better neighbors on the water.

It was noted that on water training ranked 14th out of 14 in the vote to establish NBSAC priorities at the last meeting.

Captain Gifford thanked Mr. Jepson.


Accident Data Sources: What’s Available to Review and Analyze

Bruce Rowe of Forever Resorts at NBSAC97

Bruce Rowe of Forever Resorts at NBSAC97

by Bruce Rowe of Forever Resorts

He focused specifically on canoes and kayaks, and some on paddleboards in the BADs. (I think he is speaking of the media reports of boating accidents that Coast Guard contractors collect.)

He opened speaking about a recent kayak accident in the Hudson River in which a ferry departing a dock backed over and injured 4 kayakers that were on a guided tour. (it was a 30 August 2016 accident)

If the boating safety people can’t figure out the differences in the types of canoes, kayaks, paddles, and leashes? How is the general public going to do that that’s buying them at Wal-mart, K-Mart, whatever?

On March 16th, two boys were in a one person kayak, another one where the two people perished and the life jackets were found in the boat. They were still looking for one of the bodies after 36 hours.

He found a 2014 database of rescues in Oregon. Some were found dead, some were found alive.

Until we start doing something about these human powered craft, we’re going to continue to have more and more accidents.

He noted most BADs don’t report life jacket wear status. He said some BADs are 7 or 8 pages long in boating season. Most of them are human powered stuff. Half of them survive of more. He counted 10 to 12 years ago and found over 5.000 people just in BADs alone in one year. He did not count whether they survived or died. If all those turned to deaths, we’re not ready for that.

Somebody told him yesterday New Mexico is encapsulating these rescues also. He spoke with someone at NASBLA and there is no database that they have either.

Scott Brewen of Oregon took over to speak about their Search and Rescue database. He apologized for just seeing this yesterday. They will take this data and enter some of it as reportable accidents. The database is basically of when law enforcement goes out to respond to something. Not all of them are reportable accidents.

Oregon is recognizing the impact non-motorized boating is having and they are trying to get their arms around how many are out there and are we seeing accidents and fatalities go up or are accidents and fatalities going up with increased units on the water. The database helps them see what law enforcement is spending time on. Many of these accidents will not wind up in the reportable threshold. They are hoping to get a better idea of the time commitment they are spending with these vessels.

The kayaks on the Hudson was one where we had a guided tour and there were still major injuries in the whole thing.

Chairman Maxim noted these non-powered craft are accounting for an increased proportion of accidents in BARD. He asked for a quick show of hands if this is something we are going to pursue in NBSAC or not. After encouraging everybody to vote, there was a show of interest.

Matt Holder with Free Sup SoCal asked about the last question on the Chairman’s action on should we pursue this, what is actually being pursued?

Chairman Maxim said, some time ago we wrote and an analysis of life jackets. We summarized what the issues were and summarized the relevent literature. We made some recommendations and Richard Moore spoke very eloquently about some of those recommendations. Mr. Maximim is suggesting we put together a packet of factual information and data that summarizes what we know about the problem, what we don’t know about the problem and wish we did and a possible way forward. He is not putting forth a resolution that the Coast Guard should do anything right now, just that BSAC should put together a useful packet of information that probably will be in the form of a report.


NTSB report
Chris Deck now spoke on the three NTSB recommendations to the Coast Guard.

An 83 page NTSB report titled, Shared Waterways:Safety of Recreational and Commercial Vessels in the Marine Transportation System develops the NTSB recommendations.

One recommendation was for USCG to seek statute authority to require all recreational boaters on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United states to demonstrate they had competed an instructional course or an equivalent that meets NASBLA standards.

A paddleboard representative wanted NBSAC to insert “powerboat” into that proposal.

Jeff Hoedt suggested and NTSB representative be invited to the next meeting to further discuss these recommendations.

Larry Meddok WSIA asked if the committee had any thought had been given to the Universities providing training. He went to school with the director of the training program at San Diego State’s Mission Viejo Aquatic Center. They have to train their instructors almost every year due to high turnover. That process can be burdensome.

Matt Holder of Free Sup SoCal a Paddleboard representative made a public comment after the next presentation that was addressed to this one, so we entered it here. He asked to this body to encourage the Coast Guard to oppose NTSB’s second recommendation (mandatory training). First he thinks this regulatory concept would never see the light of day and Admiral Thomas encouraged this body last October to not press forward regulations that will never see the light of day. Also this regulation does not distinguish between all the different types of operators. He thinks it was sloppy work on their part. Thirdly is this how you would want the Coast Guard spending their time (chasing down people to see their papers)?


Alignment of On-Water Training and Classroom Boating Safety Class Standards

Pam Dillon of NASBLA and Joanne Dorval of U.S. Sailing presenting at NBSAC97

Pam Dillon of NASBLA and Joanne Dorval of U.S. Sailing presenting at NBSAC97

by Pam Dillon of NASBLA and Joanne Dorval of U.S. Sailing

They talked about their work on several training standards, 4 of which have become ANSI standards.

They just completed the 7th public review of the standard for human powered watercraft.

The most recent sailing standard is a descriptive standard rather than a prescriptive standard. Meaning it is outcome based. Those being trained must demonstrate certain things.

ANSI has ten requirements to become a standard.

They talked about trying to harmonize standards for on water and classroom boating safety classes.

The skills standard has been finished and can be seen on OnWaterStandards.org.

Your on water course can be verified three ways:
1. By the provider
2. By the customer
3. By a 3rd party

They talked about Kirkpatrick Measures, a four level model for measuring the effectiveness of training.
The four levels are:

1. Reaction (how the people being trained react to the training).

2. Learning (what have those being trained learned)

3. Behavior (how much did those being trained change their behavior)

4. Results (results of the training)

Richard Moore of Florida at NBSAC97

Richard Moore of Florida at NBSAC97

Richard Moore said he does not like putting funds into skills based training vs. other alternatives or creating false expectations. He does not see much participation in skills training unless it is mandated. States will not require it. Most states would resist the Feds if they mandated it. He expects a positive yield, but not a broad reach without mandates and mandates are extremely unlikely.

Jeff Hoedt said that 400 to 500 thousand boaters a year participate in knowledge based training. He has no idea how many participate in skills based training.


Boating Safety Outreach and Non Regulatory Interventions
by Rich Jepson

He passed out 3 X 5 cards and asked us to write down any advice we had for his subcommittee about non-regulatory interventions.

Jim Emmons of WSIA suggested “Outreach” might limit our thoughts to as means to accomplish our purposes. Mr. Jepson said he was open to other words in that slot but none were suggested at that time.


New Business and Public Comment on Prevention Through People

Pete Chisholm showed a brief video that shows why we are on NBSAC. It included some boat show photos from years ago where no one wore life jackets on boats in the water vs. now when life jackets are ubiquitously worn on boats in the water at boat shows.


Phil Hoedt receiving an award from his supervisors for his excellent work at the USCG Office of Boating Safety at NBSAC97

Phil Hoedt receiving an award from his supervisors for his excellent work at the USCG Office of Boating Safety at NBSAC97

Awards to Jeff Hoedt

The Strategic Planning Subcommittee just got underway and Captain Boross apologized for interrupting them.

Jeff Hoedt was presented two awards. A plaque by his superiors and a ship’s bell plaque by his staff.

Jeff Hoedt receives an award from those who served under him at NBSAC97.

Jeff Hoedt receives an award, a ship’s bell, from those who served under him at NBSAC97.

PropellerSafety.com comment – we would add our best wishes to Mr. Hoedt in his retirement as well. He was a pleasure to work with. To borrow a phrase from Captain Boross, Jeff Hoedt did a great job of listening to all the equities involved.

When we forwarded some bit of information to him, we typically received a prompt response. He often distributed materials we sent him about specific accidents, specific types of accidents, or propeller safety devices to others at USCG.

We also thank him for his many interactions with Marion at SPIN and always being willing to listen to her.

While at the meeting, I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Hoedt’s wife. As one might expect, she is a great woman.


Strategic Planning Subcommittee

Results of Issues Prioritization Survey
by Harry Hogan

Harry Hogan presenting priorities survey at NBSAC97

Harry Hogan presenting priorities survey at NBSAC97

Members ranked a list of priorities at the last NBSAC meeting. USCG representatives were asked to rank the same list.

Harry Hogan presented the results and a statistical analysis of the data.

The basic finding is NBSAC rated priorities in this order:

  1. Learn more about human factors
  2. Increase life jacket wear
  3. Alternatives to regulation
  4. Learn more about paddlecraft
  5. Improve outreach activities
  6. Change focus of boating safety courses
  7. Improvements to National Survey
  8. Improve analytic techniques
  9. Increase Boating Survey focus on small boats
  10. Improve ways to correct for underreporting
  11. Improve BARD
  12. Optimize grant program
  13. Simplify licensing process of On-Water Instructors
  14. Portals for increased access of survey and BARD data

Several Coast Guard folks took the same survey and ranking their first five like this:

  1. Improve outreach activities
  2. Learn more about paddlecraft
  3. Increase life jacket wear
  4. Improve ways to correct for underreporting
  5. Learn more about human factors
  6. Change focus of boating safety courses
  7. Alternatives to regulation

There was considerable discussion about the variability of rankings withing NBSAC and their lack direct obvious correlation with USCG’s priorities per the survey. However both groups did reasonably agree on which items should be in the top half.

There was discussion of voting again, voting within the top half and other ideas. In the end, the priorities were left the way they were in the vote.


Strategic Planning Initiatives Reports

Each of the three groups reported.

Initiative 1. Education, training, outreach

Initiative 2. Leverage, enforce, policies, regulations, standards

Initiative 3. Research and Development


Initiative 1. Education, training, outreach Report
by Vann Burgess

He talked about measuring and setting targets.

By following an evidence based approach, we first analyze surveillance data, better define the problem, identify possible strategies, align strategies with CoAs, and set targets. This path also leads to operationalizing the plan.

There was some discussion about what a strategic plan was. This one started out as what new things should we be doing, and did not include what things we are doing we feel we should continue to do.

In order to make sure existing good things to do not get overlooked, a track was inserted for the existing things.

The Kirkpartick Mode was discussed as a means of evaluating outreach efforts. The Kirkpatrick Model is a pyramid with Results at the top, then on successive layers: Behavior, Learning, and Reaction.

He said we could add one more step to the model, Return on Investment.


Initiative 2. Policies, Regulations, and Standards
by Phil Cappel USCG

Phil Cappel USCG at NBSAC97

Phil Cappel USCG at NBSAC97

He talked about identifying high risk locations on the water to use as test beds for accident mitigation strategies. They are not officially measuring risk (would require exposure time data), they are just finding areas where accidents of a certain type happen with a higher frequently than most other places.

They studied 5 years of collision data and identified 12 locations with >20 collisions.
They also reached out to the BLAs in these same areas.

The Colorado River near Bullhead City Arizona and Laughlin Nevada (these areas are across the river from each other) had 94 collisions in 5 years. Most of them involve Navigation Rules (Nav Rules) violations.

They are looking at using this area as a test bed for ways to reduce collisions through outreach and other programs.


Initiative 3. Research and Development
presented by Don Kerlin USCG

Don Kerlin USCG at NBSAC97

Don Kerlin USCG at NBSAC97

He spoke about the existing data (BARD), the existence of some other data sets, creating a centralized depository, and they are headed toward Data Fusion (integrating data and knowledge from multiple sources).

They are working toward 100 percent completeness and accuracy and timely submission of BARD reports by 2021.

They will ensure the maintenance of ongoing activities such as BARD updates and the annual Boating Statistics publication.

They are discussing what data should be public, and how to access the data. He talked about the possible use of dashboards to access the data.

PropellerSafety.com note – while the notes above speak primarily about accident data, they are talking in a much broader scale about all kinds of data that could be useful in USCG recreational boating safety decision processes (like the hours of use studies, life jacket wear studies, etc.)

Why Does NBSAC do a Strategic Plan?

There was a question from the Council about why does NBSAC create a strategic plan for USCG. Shouldn’t USCG create their own. After some discussion, Captain Boross said, it is the law. Everything they (USCG) does is in accordance with FACA laws (Federal Advisory Committee Act) requiring them to conduct these convenings. He thanked them, especially the public and the equities.

He said it is a statutory requirement that the group create this plan.


END of part 4 of our coverage


Links to the meeting agenda and all 5 parts of our NBSAC97 coverage are below.


0 Categories : Regulations

USCG 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics cover

USCG 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics

U.S. Coast Guard recently released their annual 2015 recreational boating accident statistics report. Total counts for 2015 BARD reported accidents were 4,158 accidents, 2,613 injuries, and 626 fatalities.

USCG reported 158 propeller accidents, 150 propeller injuries, and 27 propeller fatalities.

We would like to thank USCG for all the efforts they put into this annual statistical report of boating accidents.

We would also like to thank USCG, law enforcement officials, lake patrols, first responders, nurses and physicians, those offering boating safety classes, boat safety equipment check points, safe boaters, state boating law administrators, life jacket loaner program participants, Operation Dry Water, and all others who work tirelessly to drive these annual totals down.

Plus thanks to all the state boating law administrators and all the officers in the field filling out the accident reports, and to the individuals that self reported their accidents.


Live Like Kali stampTexas flats boats also called bay boats have been found unsafe by a United States Coast Guard Contractor. Bay boats / flats boats are relatively flat bottomed for shallow water operation.

In July 2012, Kali Gorzel, a 16 year old girl loved by hundreds, fell from a bay boat off Port Aransas Texas when the operator lost control in a relatively slow speed turn and the boat spun, she fell overboard, and was fatally struck by the propeller.

In the wake of the Kali Gorzell accident, her parents began to hear of other similar accidents, bay boats spinning out of control.

Similar accidents included Michael Dominguez (a 6th grader from San Antonio, Texas) and the fatal accident of Janis Lindeman of Blanco, Texas.

Kali Gorzell’s parents found an interested partner in Cody Jones, Assistant Commander with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TXPWD). He was interested in part because a game warden had been tossed from a similar boat. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Marion Irving deCruz, longtime proponent of boat propeller safety was recently recognized for her decades of dedication to boat propeller safety.

Marion founded Stop Propeller Injuries Now (SPIN) in the wake of the death of her son, Emilio Cruz in a 1993 houseboat propeller accident.

Her tireless work and efforts have made the waters safer for all.

In November 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) passed a resolution encouraging the U.S. Coast Guard to honor her efforts.

Marion was presented the USCG Public Service Commendation award on February 19, 2016 at Morrow Bay, California.

Marion Irving deCruz receiving USCG Public Service Commendation

Marion Irving deCruz receiving USCG Public Service Commendation

Read More→

3 Categories : Propeller Safety News

Many opportunities exist for manufacturers of boating products to monitor their products after sale for previously unknown safety issues, risk, and hazards.

The legal, regulatory, and moral obligations to monitor boating products post sale / post market / conduct post sale surveillance and vigilance are detailed in two previous posts.

This series of posts is NOT legal advice. The articles were written to stimulate action and conversation on this topic

This post is part of a series of posts. Links to the other posts can be found in the Introduction.

Below we will discuss some of the major sources and opportunities for post sale marketing, then conclude with an extensive list of those sources. Read More→

Nicholas Milligan's Boat / RIB

Investigators at the 2013 Nicholas Milligan family accident in the U.K.

Manufacturers can be responsible for tracking post sale accidents worldwide such as this very high profile U.K. accident in which two were killed and two were critically injured. Boat builders, marine drive manufacturers, and other boating industry manufacturers have a duty to design, manufacture, and sell safe products. However, it does not end there. A post sale (post-sale) duty to warn of hazards, risks, accidents, incidents discovered after sale exists in some situations. Monitoring post sale risks is often called monitoring post sale performance by the legal community.

We note this post sale monitoring requirement can extend to aftermarket parts and accessory manufacturers as well.

The point of this post is that in order for a manufacture to warn customers of post sale of risks discovered after the sale, the manufacturer must monitor its products in the field, sometimes called post sale or post market surveillance to identify those risks. Read More→

16 June 2014 UPDATE – According to corrected USCG statistics propeller injuries were actually slightly down. Below we will explain how the error was identified, corrected, and why we kept this post

History of this Post

We created and posted this article on 23 May 2014 based on the then recently released U.S. Coast Guard annual Recreational Boating Statistics for 2013.

Events Leading to Discovering the Error

On June 3, 2014 we forwarded a link to the post to the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety to make sure they were aware of the spike in boat propeller injuries.

The next day, June 4, 2014 USCG responded, said they were concerned about the spike in propeller accidents and they have an ongoing project looking at trends in accidents of various types.

On June 11, 2014, a reporter asked me some questions about current annual boat propeller accident statistics. I read him the 2013 data we had recently posted on our Statistics page and told him I would send him a link to the same data as presented by the Coast Guard.

When I went to the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety web site and downloaded the 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics report and was looking for the page number to point him to the data, I noticed the data had changed. I quickly checked the copy we had downloaded previously to make sure I had not made an error in transcribing the propeller accident data, the data was definitely different.

I sent the reporter a link to the report and told him I was confused. I did not know which data set was correct, but that I would ask USCG and they would respond, but possibly not by his deadline.

That same day I sent USCG an email saying we noticed the data for the struck by boat and the data for the struck by propeller row had been swapped and asked about the changes in the data.

Monday 16 June 2014 USCG responded and said they had originally mistakenly swapped the two rows of data. The error had been corrected, and an updated version of the report was now available (the same one I “found” on 11 June.

I thanked USCG for explaining what happened and told them I totally understand how easy it would be to swap some data rows in the annual statistics report.

Why we left this post up

This error is emblematic of a much larger problem. We cannot see the data behind the annual recreational boat statistics report. Many states no longer make their data available to the Public version of BARD. We need access to that data for a multitude of reasons and will leave this post up to demonstrate this reason (we cannot confirm data in the annual report).

We posted a copy of Version 2 of USCG’s Table 17 immediately below (the corrected version). We labeled it as Version 2 in red at the top.

U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics Table 17, version 2 (as captured 11 June 2014)

U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics Table 17, version 2 (as captured 11 June 2014)

You can see the rows for struck by boat and struck by propeller swapped data compared to the same table in our original post below.

****************************************

Below is our original post

NOTE – the calculations below are based on the WRONG data
(before USCG corrected the error)
************************************************************

The annual 2013 U.S. Coast Guard Boating Statistics report released in May 2014 indicates a 65 percent increase in boat propeller injuries compared to 2012. Boat propeller accidents and fatalities also increased significantly.

2013 USCG recreational boat propeller accident data, as seen in the table below, reports 251 boat propeller accidents resulting in 309 injuries and 24 deaths. Read More→

U.S. Coast Guard Senior Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was second in command aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut the night on December 1, 2012 as they encountered suspected smugglers off Santa Cruz Island, California. Very early December 2nd in an encounter in which the alleged smugglers purposefully rammed a 21 foot RIB with four men on board including Terrell, he was ejected, and struck by the boat propeller. Terrell Horne III was declared dead when they reached the dock.

The annual Coast Guard Cadence Contest 2013 is now underway with 5 new marching cadence (marching drill chants). The cadences are being released individually over this week. A cadence titled, “Oh Dear Rachel” has been dedicated to Terrell Horne’s wife. The cadence is written as a message from Terrell to her the last few minutes of his life.

Oh Dear Rachel

Oh Dear Rachel

Read More→

0 Categories : Memorials