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U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council met for its regularly scheduled NBSAC 95 meeting April 21-23, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia.

Minutes of that meeting were posted in October 2016.

We have spent considerable effort in recent years encouraging NBSAC to:

  1. Recognize outboard motors are breaking off and entering boats with their propellers still running after striking floating or submerged objects, and that this accident scenario is often associated with bass boats.
  2. Increase awareness level of this accident scenario

As we recently closely read the April 2016 NBSAC meeting minutes we noticed they did mention this accident scenario, but they described it in a manner we have never seen or heard before.
We find that quite odd, since several members of the committee and other industry representatives present were well associated with the problem.

NBSAC 95 minutes composite

NBSAC 95 minutes composite

The image above is a composite of pages 1,7, and 8 of the minutes. Read More→

Back in July 2016, we posted a chart for use in designing and testing outboard motors in a way to prevent them from breaking off and entering boats when striking submerged objects.

Today we are posting an updated / enhanced version of that chart. The new chart specifically identifies three more potential design / testing paths to achieve the objective.

Flip In Design Chart

Flip In Design Chart


Read More→

We have been following the rising waters in California which the industry was first touting for the additional sales it would generate as many lakes had been down a while depressing marine sales there.

Now as waters continue to rise, California faced/faces continuing issues at the Lake Oroville Lake spillway evacuation, and now the United States Coast Guard is said to be planing to issue a debris warning for San Francisco Bay today.

ABC News 7 of San Francisco released a video when they learned of the debris warning planning to be issued Wednesday 15 February. They note much debris is still floating down into the bay from the Sacramento Delta.

We cover the hazards of marine drives striking floating debris on PropellerSafety.com including the possibility of outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats while still under power when striking floating debris at speed.

We suspect high waters will increase debris in many California waters, especially impacting bass tournament fishing. We encourage everybody to be extra safe out there and lookout for debris.

We will post the debris warning when it is released.

Meanwhile, Pressure-Drop, a sailing forum, has some great satellite, aerial, and on water photos of the status of the region. The also have a nice discussion of flow rates at the bridges and how and why they differ at the surface near bridges.

Back in 2012 Mark Barhanovich of Biloxi, Mississippi was going out fishing in his boat with a friend just off Biloxi. The Suzuki outboard motor struck a dredge pipe, broke off, flipped into the boat, and killed Mr. Barhanovich, at least partially with the propeller.

Mark Barhanovich's center console fishing boat. Photo from Edward Fritsch expert witness report

Mark Barhanovich’s center console fishing boat.
Photo from Edward Fritsch expert witness report

Mark Barhanovich

Mark Barhanovich

Bean, the dredging firm, previously settled with the Barhanovich family.

Bean brought Suzuki of Japan into the suit in an effort to recapture some of any potential losses. Suzuki moved for summary judgement in U.S. District Court of Southern Mississippi and the case was dismissed.

We covered the Barahanovich accident and case in several previous posts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard the Barhanovich case in September 2016.

On 4 November 2016, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals filed its opinion. As is sometimes the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirms in part (agree with the lower court on some things), and reverses and remand in part (disagree with some of the lower court’s findings and remand the case back to them). Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

Timothy Clippard

Timothy Clippard

In May 2013 Timothy Clippard of Missouri was killed in a boating accident on Kentucky Lake during a bass fishing tournament. His fishing partner piloted the Ranger bass boat as they passed under a large bridge on the way back to weigh in. The 225 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor struck a barely submerged bridge support beam hidden by high water. The outboard motor broke off the back of the boat, flipped into the boat, and with the propeller still rotating under power, fatally struck Tim Clippard. We previously covered the accident at Timothy Clippard of Missouri Killed on Kentucky Lake in Boat Accident.

Mr. Clippard’s widow sued Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan).

Clippard, et al v. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., et al
United States District Court
Western District of Kentucky
Case # 5:;14-cv-83-TBR

The complaint alleged:

1. Yamaha was aware of the risk of outboard motors striking submerged objects and flipping into the boat, and was aware of feasible alternative designs to eliminate these risks, and did little to develop and nothing to implement such alternative designs.

2. Yamaha knew or should have known the hazards and dangers associated with the motor and failed to adequately warn expected and foreseeable users.

In addition to traditional damages sought with the death of a loved one in a collision accident, the family also sought punitive damages based on Yamaha’s knowledge of the problem and their failure to develop and implement alternative designs.

Curtis O. Poore of The Limbaugh Law Firm and Peter Perlman of Peter Perlman Law Offices filed the complaint on 30 April 2014. Midway during the case, Morry S. Cole of Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. replaced Mr. Perlman.

Linsey W. West and Kara M. Stewart of Dinsmore & Shohle LLP and Richard A. Mueller of Thompson Colburn LLP represented Yamaha.

The Judge, Judge Thomas B. Russell, issued an Order of Dismissal on 30 September 2016 announcing a settlement had been reached, and the case was dismissed.


0 Categories : Legal Shorts

U.S. Coast Guard emblemIn advance of the October 21-22, 2016 National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 96th meeting, the U.S. Coast Guard requested public comments on items on the agenda. The announcement was published in the September 26th Federal Register and the public was given 5 days to respond.

One of the topics to be presented at the conference is a talk by Mr. Phil Cappel titled, “Recent Propeller Injuries & Discussion of Potential Mitigation Strategies”. We submitted a comment on this topic. Our comment lists three types of recent accidents and provides economical mitigation strategies for each of them that are not in wide use:

  • Pontoon boat “over the bow” propeller strikes – many are preventable by eliminating the bow forward of the fence OR by making it very uncomfortable to sit forward of the front fence and especially to sit on the bow with your legs dangling over the bow. One mitigation shown uses safety grating as flooring forward of the front fence. It is easy to walk on and very uncomfortable to sit on.
  • Circle of Death bass boat propeller strikes – preventable by the use of foot throttles (boat slows to an idle if ejected without a kill switch lanyard attached). Foot throttles are in wide use on bass boats, but they are not currently being marketed as a propeller safety device.
  • Large outboard motor strikes submerged object, outboard motor breaks off, and flips into the boat propeller strikes – preventable by the use of a tether

Our public comment letter provides additional details and links describing these accidents, provides lengthy lists of accidents of each type, and addition details on the mitigations mentioned above.


0 Categories : Regulations

Outboard can strike submerged object, break off, and flip into the boat warning

Outboard can strike submerged object, break off, and flip into the boat warning

In 1970, William Haddon, Jr. a well known safety expert published a ground breaking safety article:
 
On The Escape of Tigers: an Ecological Note.
by William Haddon, Jr.
American Journal of Public Health.
December 1970. Vol.60. No.12. Pages 2229-2234.

The the article has since been widely republished and reprinted.

The thesis of the article is that per Mr. Haddon, by 1970 The United States and most developed nations had made significant progress against “living environmental hazards” (medical issues caused by living organisms such as germs, bacteria, etc.). However, similar progress had not been made against “non-living hazards” (accidents leading to injury or death).

The field of Medicine had many strategies and processes by which to attack emerging problems causes by living organisms (such as the Zika virus in current times). While science may not immediately defeat the Zika virus, the basic processes and methods to use to begin to develop a means to combat such a threat are well known.

That same basic structure of processes by which to develop a means to combat an emerging health risk caused by a living organism did not exist to combat a health risk caused by a non-living structure (such as some new type of accident that injures or kills humans).

In his paper, Haddon tried to bring structure to the process of mitigating or eliminating accidents resulting from the sudden release of energy.

In order to better marshal resources against these “non-living hazards”, William Haddon, Jr. suggested that many of them result from “the transfer of energy in such ways and amounts,and at such rapid rates, that inanimate or animate structures are damaged. (Like a bass boat outboard motor striking a submerged object, breaking off, flipping into the boat, and striking those on board with its still rotating propeller). Haddon goes on identify some harmful “non-living hazards” that interact with people and property as: hurricanes, earthquakes, projectiles (like an outboard motor), moving vehicles (like a boat), ionizing radiation, lightning, conflagrations, and notes the cuts and bruises of daily life illustrate our interaction with the rapid transfer of energy.

The paper’s title derives from one example of the quick release energy, the release of tigers. Read More→

Rex Chambers' boat with outboard motor broke off

Pro angler, Rex Chambers’ boat with outboard motor broke off

When outboard motors strike submerged objects they can break off and flip into the boat as seen in our lists of outboard motors breaking off and flipping into boats and large outboard motors breaking off and flipping into bass boats.

We previously posted information on several existing and proposed solutions, including The Leash, a vectran tether targeting bass boat applications.

Submerged objects have a wide range of characteristics ranging from almost pure water with just a few weeds or small pieces of debris all the way up to stumps, pilings, dredge pipes, railroad ties, and concrete piers. When outboard motors from various manufacturers of various sizes and speeds strike this wide range of objects, the outboard motor log strike system behaves in a number of different ways (modes).

Especially of interest are outboard motors that break off the boat. Breaking off the boat is a prerequisite to breaking off and flipping into the boat. Not all outboards that break off will flip into the boat. But for an outboard to pass over the rear deck, and enter the seating area of a bass boat, it must first break off the boat.

The Outboard Motor Log Strike Modes Chart for a bass boat below illustrates the range of behaviors (modes) encountered.

Outboard Motor Log Strike Modes

Outboard Motor Log Strike Modes

Read More→

Evinrude operators manual warning for outboard may break off and enter boat after striking submerged objects.

Evinrude operators manual warning for outboard may break off and enter boat after striking submerged objects.

Bombardier and Mercury Marine outboard operators manuals have long warned parts of or all of an outboard motor may enter the boat after striking a submerged object.

An example from the 2012 250 horsepower Evinrude E-tec manual is shown at right.

A big thanks to Bombardier Recreational Products & Vehicles (BRP) for putting their operators manuals online.

Some manufacturers sell the manuals at price point preventing many from ordering them. Bombardier does sell the manuals if you want a paper copy, but they also make them available online. Those who may have lost the manual or purchased a used boat without the manual, have free access to the outboard manuals.

We encourage all boat and marine drive manufacturers to make their operators manuals available online in the interest of boating safety. Read More→

We charted the the Design Flow Process designing outboard motors in a manner that prevents them from entering the boat after striking submerged objects. The chart was designed specifically with tournament bass boat outboard motors in mind.

The chart has since been updated since it was originally posted. The most recent version is below.

Flip In Design Chart

Flip In Design Chart

Read More→