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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)
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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

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

CED Propeller Guard Testing @ SUNY

USCG released the new Propeller Guard Test Procedure / Propeller Guard Test Protocol earlier this week on September 11, 2013.

We have since had time to quickly read through it and have a few comments:

    1. The entire document appears to have been re-written since the October 2012 version. A quick comparison of page 3 of the new version and corresponding portions of pages 2 and 3 of the old version (both versions shown below) make that pretty obvious.

    The October 2012 version below talks about the tests being a way consumers could evaluate propeller guarding products, and how manufacturers might include test results on their packaging and advertising materials. They say its purpose was “to evaluate the essential safety consequences of installing a propeller guard on an outboard or sterndrive boat. Read More→

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced the availability of a report, “Estimating Benefits of Reducing Recreational Boating Accidents: Alternative Sources of Information on Fatalities, Injuries, and Property Damages” in the June 28, 2013 issue of the Federal Register. The study is dated September 12, 2011.

Benefits of Reducing Boating Accidents USCG report

Benefits of Reducing Boating Accidents

The report reviews data related to recreational boating accidents to help USCG determine how to better quantify the benefits of Coast Guard regulations, policies, and programs. It compares USCG’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) data to other databases containing similar records (like hospital visit databases, cause of death databases, NEISS, etc) in an attempt to estimate the number of unreported accidents in BARD, and the cost of those accidents.

The report also discusses the “willingness to pay” approach to placing values on preventing certain types of accidents/injuries. It also reviews the status of property damage reports in BARD and how well they might represent the total amount of property damage caused by boating accidents.

USCG is encouraging public comments and submission of related materials on this study via Regulations.gov, fax, mail, or by hand delivery. All comments and materials received will be published on Regulations.gov. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

Terrell Horne Way III Street Sign

Terrell Horne Way III Street Sign

The town of Emerald Isle renamed a street as a memorial tribute to Terrell Horne III, U.S. Coast Guardsman killed by a boat propeller in a drug interdiction chase of California near Santa Cruz. We previously covered the incident in which he was killed at Terrell Horne USCG Killed by Boat Propeller

Terrell was stationed at the USCG station in Emerald Isle, and has been credited with saving at least 38 lives and performing 63 search and rescue operations during his time there. Terrell had served in the Coast Guard for 14 years, and stationed at Emerald Isle for 2 years.

Rachel, his wife, and their 3 young boys attended the ceremony in which the young boys helped unveil the new street sign. Read More→

1 Categories : Memorials