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Archive for kill switch

Large outboard motors lined up at 2014 Tulsa Boat Show.

Large outboard motors lined up at 2014 Tulsa Boat Show.

The boating industry has been plagued with certain boat propeller safety hazards / issues for decades, some for over a century. While progress have been made on many fronts, some problems remain perpetual / eternal. Some solutions that have been applied have failed, others have wilted on the shelves for a variety of reasons.

Some Perpetual Boating Safety /Propeller Accident Scenarios

As a result of the issues described above, and more, we have been left with a number of PERPETUAL / ETERNAL boating safety / propeller safety accident scenarios including:

  • Participants in towed sports being run over by the boat propeller after they fell from the skis/board/tube/inflatable and the operator returned to pick them up
  • Unmanned outboard powered boats go in the Circle of Death
  • Children bow ride pontoon boats underway, fall between the pontoons, and are struck by the propeller
  • Operators reversing houseboats from beaches with swimmers in the water behind them
  • Boat operator and others being ejected from a bass boat
  • Bass boats strike submerged objects, their outboard motors break off, and flip into the vessel with their propeller still running
  • Inflatable PFDs not inflating or being cut and deflated by propellers if they do
  • Boaters not wearing their life jackets and if they do, they increase their likelihood of being entrapped on the propeller or being struck by the propeller in a Circle of Death accident
  • Entrapped on open boat propellers
  • Coaching, escort, and safety boats used with youth sailing, open water swimming, rowing, crewing, sculling, canoeing, wake surfing (with a sail), and other similar activities often in an amateur racing format are striking people in the water with their propellers. For example, the July 2017 Long Island New York accident
  • Those reboarding the boat at the swim ladder are sucked into the propeller
  • Divers and snorkelers being ran over by boat propellers and sometimes struck by the propeller of their own dive charter boat
  • PWC riders interacting with the wake of boat or trying to spray those on board are stuck by the propeller
  • Outboard motor starts in gear (typically involves rope started tiller steered outboards), one or more persons are ejected and struck by the propeller, can also happen with stern drives
  • Someone jumped into the water unbeknownst to the operator OR just at the moment the operator was going to reverse the boat

A quick look at the list shows several of those accident scenarios are interrelated, and most of them are tied to issues listed below (People Hazards, Water Hazards, Industry Positions, Media Reluctance, Existing Boat Designs), and all go back to the basic principles of propellers (rotating and sharp).


How the Propeller Accident Scenarios Listed Above Became Perpetual

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Ten people were onboard a 21 foot Ski Nautique on Lake Gage in Steuben County Indiana about 7:15pm Saturday July 15, 2017. Dominique Effinger a 20 year old female was operating the boat. The boat took a hard turn and all ten people on board were ejected.

The unmanned boat went into the Circle of Death at an estimated 30 mph with ten people in the water.

A quote from the Journal Gazette perhaps best describes the chaos.

Journal Gazette
16 July 2016
 

“Several seriously injured people were taken to shore by local citizens’ boats so EMS and fire units could tend to the injuries, the statement said. It said two people were flown to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne with injuries including a skull fracture and a partial lower-arm amputation. Others less seriously hurt were taken to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola.
 
Conservation Officer Jake Carlile launched a Department of Natural Resources patrol boat as county sheriff’s deputies urged residents to move their boats and clear the area, the statement said. It said the unmanned 21-foot Ski Nautique motorboat was coming closer to boats and docks with each circle.
 
Carlile threw a rope from the patrol boat to entangle the motorboat’s propeller, the statement said. It said the boat then struck a dock and changed direction, striking the back of the patrol boat and disabling the patrol boat’s motor.
 
The rope slowed the motorboat, the statement said, and Carlile used a nearby personal watercraft to jump onto the runaway boat while both were in motion. He then brought the motorboat to a stop.”

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U.S Coast Guard has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) reenacting the June 1994 accident on Table Rock Lake in Missouri that maimed Phyllis Kopyto and claimed the lives of her husband Bob Kopytko and of their fishing guide, Paul Brundridge. Phyllis speaks over the reenactment video.


USCG Kopytko kill switch PSA

USCG Kopytko kill switch PSA



The video is very forceful.
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The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) “Get Connected” campaign, funded by a U.S. Coast Guard grant, encourages boat operators to connect the kill switch / engine stop switch.

The purpose of connecting the kill switch lanyard / engine stop switch or using a virtual lanyard is to cause the boat to stop if the operator is ejected. Unmanned outboard motor boats underway tend to circle in the Circle of Death, repeatedly striking striking those in the water with the propeller.

In some instances stern drive or outboard powered boats can just run on down the lake leaving those in the water with no chance of reboarding and no visual indicator to others of their presence in the water. They may drown or be run over by other vessels.

We found one of NSBC images particularly striking and will comment on it below.

Get Connected hand image

Get Connected hand image


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Anderson County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) in South Carolina was conducting on water training exercises in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Lake Hartwell in the Singing Pines Recreational area near Starr South Carolina on Thursday 1 June 2017. ACSO Deputy Devin Hodges and another ACSO person were on a USACE boat thought to have been being operated by a USACE participant in the training exercise.

An accident investigation is underway. For yet to be determined or released reasons, all three people on board were ejected from the 19 foot Pioneer patrol boat. The boat unmanned circled in the Circle of Death and Officer Devin Hodges was fatally struck by the propeller.

Deputy Devin Hodges

Deputy Devin Hodges

Some reports say he was struck in the head. Read More→

U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 3 of our coverage.

Thursday Late Afternoon 25 March 2017.
Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee continued

Recent Propeller Injuries & Discussion of Potential Mitigation Strategies

Brian Goodwin of ABYC at NBSAC97

Brian Goodwin of ABYC at NBSAC97

by Phil Cappel Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety and Brian Goodwin of ABYC (John Adey of ABYC was previously listed in error)
Brian Goodwin gave the presentation.

PropellerSafety.com note – this presentation was a followup presentation on the discussion at NBSAC96 about pontoon boat bow riding propeller injuries. Prior to NBSAC96 we sent the Coast Guard a link to our post about a cluster 6 pontoon boat bow riding accidents in 8 days in the summer of 2016. As a result of those accidents they began to look into the issue. In NBSAC96 they announced a study of pontoon boat accident data would be undertaken.

When we were here in the Fall we heard about a rash of accidents that were happening on pontoon boats and what was looked at was bow riding. As a result a Resolution 2016-96-04 was passed.

As a result, USCG reached out to ABYC and that project is what he will be talking about.

The resolution called for:
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0 Categories : Regulations

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.
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0 Categories : Regulations

To: Fell Marine
From: PropellerSafety.com
15 February 2017

We were thrilled to see your entry into the wireless lanyard / kill switch market in the United States.
We recently posted coverage of your MOB+ device after which I dropped you an email asking you contact us after the Miami International Boat Show in response to a few questions we had. My email quickly received an automatic response and yeterday we were contacted by a gentleman in Norway who included a couple others in the email conversation, including a gentleman in the U.S. The email was very informative and inviting to learn more about your product.

MOB+ image from Fell Marine web site

MOB+ image from Fell Marine web site

We will visit with you after the boat show about our questions specific to MOB+, but thought of several more general topics related to kill switches we would like to share with you that might be of interest to others as well. So I posted this portion of my conversation with you here as an open letter on the topic.

Much of the content of this email will come from some of our previous posts on these topics. Read More→

Hunter Bland and Conner Young are members of the University of Florida Bass Fishing Team. Saturday January 14, 2017 Bland and Conner were fishing in the FLW bass tournament on Lake Seminole along Georgia’s border with Florida. It looks like the accident may have occurred shortly after blastoff as they are following a wake and several boats run by them to their left. Bland and Young are running about 57 mph, the boat’s hydraulic steering is thought to have malfunctioned, the large outboard motor fliped all the way to the side and the boat swerved hard right. They were both ejected.

The accident was captured by an onboard GoPro camera providing the first ever bass boat ejection video we are aware of. The video is remarkably stable, in high resolution, and even provides a slow motion view. Fittingly, it opens with a scripture.


Ejected from bass boat

Ejected from bass boat


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Kill switch preventable accident after kill switch preventable accident is stacking up this summer. It is long past time for the industry to investigate alternative methods to prevent Circle of Death accidents. Outboard powered recreational boats from which an operator has been ejected, circle repeatedly striking those in the water.

This post opens with a discussion of the ineffectiveness of kill switch lanyards because almost nobody uses them, then reports on a special control lever created by Vermeer to detect operator presence with potential application to passive (fully automatic) boat kill switch applications.

Vermeer OPS patent application

Vermeer OPS patent application

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0 Categories : Guard Technologies