Archive for Mercury Marine

Virginia Tech researchers have been studying ways to make drones safer, including simulating drones crashing into humans. Drones share air space with humans, just like boats share water space with humans.

Drone impact testing

Drone impact testing

Virginia Tech released the video above on YouTube 6 January 2017.

While recreational drones crashing into humans is relatively recent event, boats have been doing it since the days of Noah. Boats, outboard motors, propellers, and propeller guards have been impact tested against a range of objects to simulate human impacts, including anthropometric dummies and cadavers. 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

Edwin Evers celebrating winning Bassmaster Classic 2016 Mercury Marine image

Edwin Evers celebrating winning Bassmaster Classic 2016
Mercury Marine image

We were privileged to attend the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake with the weigh-ins in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 4-6, 2016.

Edwin Evers, a local professional bass fisherman came from behind on day 3 to win the tournament.

We just noticed Mercury issued a press release back on 8 March 2016 about the Evers win and about him using their Mercury 250 Pro XS outboard motor.

We congratulate Mercury on being on the winner’s boat.

While at the tournament we noted the presence of technical support crews and trucks from various manufacturers associated with the event, including Mercury.

Near the end of the press release, Mercury tells of the reliability of their outboard and of the contribution made by their tech support crew when Edwin Evers struck a log on day 2 (Saturday).

Mercury Marine
portion of Press Release
8 March 2016

Evers leans on dependability, service crew

Evers wouldn’t have been in position for a Sunday comeback without the reliability of his 250 ProXS (and the on-site Mercury service crew) on Saturday. Making the run back to the check-in point at the end of the day, Evers struck a log while on pad, severely damaging his propeller and causing a wicked vibration in his lower unit. Evers managed to continue motoring back to Wolf Creek in time to check in, and turned his boat over to Mercury’s on-site service crew for emergency repairs.
“That lower unit held together for 30 miles at 60 miles per hour,” Evers said. “The vibration from the damaged prop was just crazy – I was a nervous wreck, but I didn’t have any other choice but to keep going. I wouldn’t have had a chance to win the Classic without the durability of my 250 ProXS.”

Below is a photo we took of Mercury’s support truck while we were at the event.

Mercury Marine fishing tournament support trailer at Bassmaster Classic 2016 on Grand Lake.

Mercury Marine fishing tournament support trailer at Bassmaster Classic 2016 on Grand Lake.

As in our Day 2 photo below, we saw Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude, and Suzuki outboards at the Classic. While not true in this particular photo, Mercury powered more boats than all the other manufacturers combined.

2016 Bassmaster Classic Day 2. Outboards at the dock before blastoff.

2016 Bassmaster Classic Day 2. Outboards at the dock before blastoff.

0 Categories : Bass Tournaments

Mercury Marine Moving Propeller (MP) Alert

Mercury Marine Moving Propeller (MP) Alert

We covered Brunswick / Mercury Marine’s Moving Propeller Alert back in November 2011.

We followed that post up with a call for inventors and college project classes to consider trying design a free standing, energy harvesting, self powered version that did not require the use of the expensive underlying Smart Craft bus system.

Now, about two years later, Brunswick’s patent for the Moving Propeller Alert issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

U.S. Patent 8,803,711
System and Methods for Displaying Operational Characteristics of Marine Vessels.

Inventor: Steven J. Gonring.
Assignee: Brunswick Corporation.
Issued 12 August 2014.

The patent application was filed back on January 28, 2011. It is a continuation of an application filed 22 September 2010 (about 4 years ago) so it probably had some problems along the way.

The patent cites U.S. Patent 7,247,063 by Marc S.Lemchen that detects propeller rotation and/or CO2 presence and generated a warning signal with the intent to warn a swimmer in the proximity.

The basic premise of the invention is that a device a bit larger than a coaster that has a series of led lights in the form of a circle (a circular array of lights). The lights blink in a rotary sequence to suggest rotation when the propeller is rotating at low to moderate speeds. Read More→

0 Categories : New Products

Todd Iwamoto

Todd Iwamoto

Todd Iwamoto, 40 of Mountain Home California, and his fishing partner (S.G.) were fishing in the BBT Delta/Wine – Delta bass tournament on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Old River near Brentwood, California on Saturday 19 April 2014.

Their Ranger bass boat powered by what appears to be a Mercury Marine outboard motor is thought to have struck a submerged object about 11:30 am near a rail road bridge close to Cruiser Haven Marina. The outboard motor broke loose from the boat during the impact, both men were ejected from the boat. The boat is thought to have continued on and lightly struck the BSF Railway railroad bridge. The boat operator was pulled from the water from the water 10 to 15 minutes later, but no sign was found of Todd Iwamoto.

Authorities, divers, and a Coast Guard helicopter searched for his body. Also responding were American Medical Response (AMR), Knightsen Fire Department, Oakley Police, and the Contra Costa County Sheriff. California Highway Patrol also provided aerial support. About 40 minutes into the search and rescue operation it was changed to a recovery operation. Todd Iwatoma’s body was found about 5.5 hours later at 5 pm. Read More→

Rex Chambers

Rex Chambers

Rex Chambers and his fishing partner, Danny Pettus / Daniel Pettus of Madison, Alabama, were participating in the Homeland Security bass fishing tournament on Wheeler Lake, at Decatur Alabama on Saturday May 3, 2014.

The were running in the 50’s (mph) headed toward the main channel, headed to Mallard Creek, when they hit a partially submerged log. They saw it, but without time to react, the outboard motor (a Mercury Marine 250 horsepower outboard) struck the log, broke loose from the transom, and flipped / flew into the boat still running with the prop rotating.

Rex Chambers reports hearing the loud over-revving motor and feeling it hit his back and crush him against the steering wheel and console. His partner was struck in the head by the skeg which then broke off. Rex reports the motor was moving toward and over him. The propeller hit the glove box, Rex’s left leg, and his left shoulder. Seconds later, they both recognized they were not doing well and both began to use their phones to call for help. Read More→

The boating industry has a long history of misleading the public and authorities by providing recreational boat propeller accident counts much lower than the official accident statistics provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Several of these instances result from the industry falsely using Event 1 only statistics to represent the total number of propeller accidents, injuries, or fatalities. U.S. Coast Guard reports accidents as a sequence of events (like Event 1 = collision with submerged object, Event 2 = fell overboard, Event 3 = struck by propeller). Most propeller accidents tend to be reported as Event 2 or Event 3 accidents. Something else happens first, like a collision with fixed object, collision with submerged object, collision with floating object, collision with recreational vessel, falls overboard, etc, then the person is struck by the propeller.

We highlighted a table from USCG’s 2010 Boating Statistics below as an example.

USCG 2010 Propeller Accident Statistics

USCG 2010 Propeller Accident Statistics

USCG’s 2010 Table 17 above shows 179 accidents, 27 deaths, and 178 injuries from Person Struck by Propeller. The industry keeps wanting to use the Event 1 data only to the left (49 people struck).

From 2003 through 2012, there have been about 49 to 107 Event 1 propeller accidents per year with about 1 to 8 fatalities per year resulting from those Event 1 accidents.

However, during the same years there have been a total of about 176 to 266 propeller accidents per year with about 19 to 47 fatalities per year resulting from those accidents per USCG.

When the industry only cites Event 1 accidents they are significantly misrepresenting the total number of reported propeller accidents.

We have covered some instances of the boating industry misrepresenting these statistics in the past. We recently encountered another one, and decided to pull some of them together into this post.

  • Dick Snyder, Mercury Marine propeller accident expert and industry expert witness – 1988 presentation and letters concerning the upcoming 1989 USCG National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) Propeller Guard Subcommittee Report.
  • Bill Calore, General Counsel Volvo Penta – Presentation to NBSAC 1996.
  • Ralph Lambrecht, longtime OMC technician and industry expert – Boat and Motor Dealer. Sep/Oct 2006.
  • Don Kueny, OMC Chief Marine Engineer – the June 2009 Audrey Decker trial.
  • Pete Chisholm, Mercury Marine / Brunswick Corporation – the Jacob Brochtrup trial (April 2010) and in Brunswick’s request for a rehearing (June 2011).

Read More→

Aaron Tepfer

Aaron Tepfer

Friday afternoon August 23, 2013 Aaron Tepfer, 10 of Cedarhurst New York, was tubing with four friends on Reynolds Channel, just off Lawrence, New York (an area known as Five Towns). The boat was being operated by the father of one of the other boys. Aaron fell from the tube and was climbing back into the boat about 2:20 pm when his left leg became caught / entrapped in the propeller.

Emergency calls came in at 2:23 pm. Five different emergency rescue teams responded. They were able to extricate him from the propeller. Aaron Tepfer was unconscious when they pulled him from the water. He was life flighted to St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway in serious condition with severe injuries to his thigh, then transferred to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

First responders rushed to his aid on jet skis (PWCs) and boats. He had lost a lot of blood and every second counted. Read More→

The two major U.S. recreational marine drive companies of the past many years: Brunswick / Mercury Marine and Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) have been in the forefront of “debunking” propeller guards in court since the 1970’s. In this post we estimate their total expenses in developing propeller guards designed to protect people at less than $25,000 combined.

Outboard Marine Corporation was formed in 1929 from the merger of two existing outboard motor manufacturers. OMC went bankrupt in December 2000, but their insurance company still represents them against propeller injury claims.

Mercury Marine began as Kiekhaefer Corporation in 1939, and was acquired by Brunswick Corporation in 1961.

During the late 1980’s and in the 1990’s OMC and Mercury often worked together in testing propeller guards, most notably during the November-December 1990 SUNY tests. They also collaborated on legal defense efforts. Dick Snyder, Mercury Marine’s expert witness in propeller injury cases, served as an expert for OMC in several cases as well. Plus they conducted a large joint mock propeller trial in early 1989. Mercury later tried to downplay this period of legal cooperation with OMC against their common enemy (propeller injury suits). We mention this period of cooperation because it is relevant to Mercury and OMC being the major industry voices in the U.S. against propeller guards.

We (and they) have occasionally been asked how much money they spent trying to develop a “people protecting” propeller guard. The “people protecting” part is important as the industry has developed a few propeller guards which they claim were not for protecting people or were for protecting people in an extremely limited instance. Quite recently we were asked this same question again so we began to gather documents and created this post. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

We have long considered trying to create a timeline of recreational boat propeller safety issues, accidents, legal cases, and the propeller safety movement.

As a preparatory effort to any future efforts at documenting the history of propeller safety, we created, “A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety Issues and the Propeller Safety Movement”

We recognize the events listed are described in a very abbreviated form, and much has yet to be added. We are publishing it in it current form to request your input in helping us further develop this history.

Download the paper in pdf format from the link below.

A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety

Download Report Here

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Please post your comments and suggestions using the comment box below, or contact us directly using the Contact Us tab in the top menu.

We are already aware of several items we still need to include and will start building a list below for future updates.

Future Updates

  • Cover the history of neutral shifting issues as they relate to propeller safety
  • Cover the history of steering failures as they relate to propeller safety

Other Boat Propeller Safety Histories

0 Categories : History