Archive for NBSAC

Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington Virginia

Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington Virginia

U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) held their 97th meeting in Arlington Virginia Thursday 23 March – Saturday 25 March 2017.

The meeting was held in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn in Ballston in Arlington.

The meeting room was setup with tables forming a horseshoe at the front of the room, with the open end of the horseshoe facing the public seating area. Each Council member had their own microphone. A microphone stand in front of the public area was used for public comment.

NBSAC97 room layout. See the horseshoe arrangement of tables at front (toward the projection screen) for the Council. Public sits in the back.

NBSAC97 room layout. See the horseshoe arrangement of tables at front (toward the projection screen) for the Council. Public sits in the back.

Changing of the Guard

Captain Vern B. Gifford (CG-5PC). Chief of Inspections and Compliance will be separating on May 5th. He is over a number reports including Captain Boross.

Captain Boross (CG-BSX), over the Boating Safety Office and the Auxilary since about 2013 will retiring April 11th. He will be replaced by Captain Select Scott Johnson. Captain Boross noted, they while he was an aviator, we would be getting an engineer from the marine side in Captain Select Johnson.

Jeff Hoedt (CG-BX2), leader of the Boating Safety Division for over a decade, retired. His last full day was the last day of the meeting. He will be temporarily replaced by Paublo Oborski of USCG, previously of the Grants division. Applications for the position have since closed and USCG will be determining Mr. Hoedt’s successor in the future. Meanwhile, Mr. Oborski will be the interim leader.

By May 5th 2017, Jeff Hoedt, the face many of us know as representing the boating safety office will be gone, along with his boss, and his boss’s boss.

Non-profit Grants

The Coast Guard annually awards about $5 million in grants to non-profits for boating safety projects. 2017 non-profit grants winners have not yet been announced so the non-profits in attendance may have been a little distracted.

A few non-profits, or non-profit arms of for profit organizations are on the Council. If you are a member of the Council you are likely in a better position to understand recent USCG concerns and motivations, develop a relationship with those representing USCG, and better target what USCG actually wants with your grant proposals. Plus you get your NBSAC travel expenses paid for. A couple years back there were some complaints about this. An Administrative Investigation prescribed some actions to make sure the playing field is reasonably level for all involved.

Opening Remarks

Chairman Dan Maxim showed the first of several Venn Diagrams seen during the meeting. This one showed the total number of boating deaths for a previous year, the number of deaths due to drowning, the number of deaths due to alcohol, and number of deaths in which both were a factor.

NBSAC97 Venn Diagram of Boating Deaths

NBSAC97 Venn Diagram of Boating Deaths

Mr. Maxim, and thus the Council, is very big on Venn Diagrams. He returned this one several times during the meeting.

Mr. Maxim noted the Council should be spending its efforts on these two large circles, and maybe an effort now and then on the remaining white space. We should not be outside of the large white circle.

NBSAC Updates

Captain Boross speaking

The annual statistics have yet to be issued, but the death count is up. In January they announced the 2016 death toll was at 691, but it has since risen to 702, and is still rising. That is already 76 more souls than died in 2015.

Injuries, accidents, and fatalities are all up. It was the worst July in a decade. The trend line screams upward from the low in 2013 that was in the 500’s.

NBSAC97 Coast Guard Proceedings magazine Fall-Winter 2016 cover

NBSAC97 Coast Guard Proceedings magazine Fall-Winter 2016 cover

Many times during the three day meeting, Captain Boross brought up the recent Fall-Winter issue of The Coast Guard Proceedings. The entire issue is devoted to boating safety. Many members of NBSAC contributed articles to the Proceedings and he thanked them for their efforts. He also noted how he was able to use it to communicate with others when he was talking about a topic by pointing out the relevant article in Proceedings.

Captain Boross was given an award for his service.

Captain Gifford (right). Award shows the Proceedings magazine.

Captain Boross (left) receives award from Captain Gifford (right). Award shows the Proceedings magazine.

Jeff Hoedt speaking

The background checks now required by the Auxiliary are a struggle for volunteers.

Don Kerlin is now chief of two divisions, (1)Program Management and (2) Operations.

There was discussion of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. It is funded by the Federal government rebating the portion of road taxes paid on boat fuel and by import duties on fishing equipment. The Coast Guard was a little surprised it was recently re-authorized. There are currently 3 expiration dates. They are going to try to get them all back to the same date as they once were. The Coast Guard’s portion of those funds goes to fund projects at state boating safety offices (about $100 million) and about $5 million goes to grants to non-profit boating safety organizations for projects selected by USCG.

USCG questions the boat registration data in 4 to 6 states. California is the big one. It bumps up and down over time, and they know there have been some droughts, but the continuing falloff in registration catches their eye. This data is important because boat registrations in three size categories are turned in to the federal government for use in calculating the amount of fuel taxes to be rebated to the Trust Fund.

In 2016 the industry reported a 6 percent increase in boat sales, most of that being power boats. So USCG hoped to see higher registration numbers, but instead total registrations were slightly down.

The life jacket wear rate study shows there is some decrease in wear rates as compared to 2015. PWC life jacket wear rates remain high.

In cooperation with paddlecraft manufacturers, USCG printed 7 MILLION brochures for canoe and kayak safety. They have been given to the manufacturers for distribution in new boat packets. Printed enough to last a few years. Some will be distributed outside the U.S.. There is still a problem in Canada because the brochure is not available in French.

A similar effort is currently underway with paddleboard manufacturers to print a safety brochure for inclusion with new boards.

Resolution updates – there were about half a dozen resolutions at the last meeting.
(1) USCG to investigate other distress and alerting signals. There will be a report on those efforts during this meeting.

(2) Consolidate carriage requirements for safety equipment recreational boats (put the list of all the things that must be carried on a recreational boat into one regulation in one place, not have those requirements scattered around in multiple regulatory documents – get them out of 46 CFr and move them to 33 CFR). They are looking into that, but there are administrative restrictions. Regulatory changes are very difficult to make.

Regulatory efforts are basically dead. They have faced considerable challenges in issuing regulations the last several years Now with the new administration (Pres. Trump) new regulations are no longer an effective option for the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety.

(3) Update regulatory requirements for boat builders and boat equipment manufacturers in 33 CFR. Most of the needed updates have been listed. USCG agrees with the need for the update from the dark ages, but it is too challenging to update CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) at this time.

(4) Pontoon boat casualty mitigation. Will visit about this during the meeting.

NBSAC96 Pontoon Boat Propeller Safety Resolution

NBSAC96 Pontoon Boat Propeller Safety Resolution

(5) Study the relationship between on water boater safety training and reduced boater casualties. We will hear more today about efforts to make it more practical to offer on water boater training (skills training). There are currently regulatroy issues making it challenging to offer on water boater safety training. It will be discussed further at this meeting.

(6) Increased emphasis on human factors. They want USCG to study to role of human factors in recreational boating accidents with the idea being how to reduce the number of accidents. USCG concurs but is looking at how this might be accomplished. Will it be done through a grant, a contract, be done by staff, be done through stakeholder entities. Are seeking guidance. It was identified as the top priority at the last meeting.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released the Shared Waterways Safety Recommendation Report. The report focuses on safety issues in areas where recreational boats share the waterways with commercial vessels, some of which are quite large. A copy of the report was supplied with the meeting materials.

As of January 20th, all of our regulatory projects are frozen. Plus January 24th they were told that for every new regulation they will have to give up / kill two existing regulations.

Captain Boross speaking

We work for the Coast Guard’s Chief Office of Prevention. Within his arsenal he has compliance, inspection, and outreach resources. So you have the Federal situation right now. So what are we going to do about it? USCG will now be emphasize as passionately and we can and fund as astutely as we can those outreach efforts. He said, “Outreach is the tool available to us. … Help up optimize the outreach opportunities that we have.”

I did not think of it at that time, but now suspect it was on the mind of the non-profits in the room, does all this emphasis on outreach mean USCG will be putting more funds into the non-profit grant program? That question was not publicly asked, but I suspect the non-profits were thinking about it.

Jeff Hoedt speaking

Recognized Barry Nobles and the good work he has been doing alongside Jeff with legislative issues. They are being called to the hill this afternoon to provide some information they would likely have not been called for in the past because the legislature now trusts them and can learn things from them.

How to Design an Effective Outreach Campaign:
“Challenges and Opportunities in Recreational Boating Safety Outreach”

Bob Sprague of PCI

Bob Sprague of PCI

NBSAC brought in Bob Sprague, President and CEO of PCI Communications to talk about how to design effective communications programs. 2001-2013 Bob and PCI worked on several advertising programs for USCG. He notes things have greatly changed since then. Nowadays outreach plans must have strong online social components. He said 77 percent of adult Americans now have smart phones, not just mobile phones. They can shop for anything anywhere.

The overall objective of marketing is to change behavior.

He noted how adult life jacket wear rates in open motorboats has hovered at 5 percent for years. It is very difficult, expensive, and time consuming to change behavior.

Digital marketing is more affordable and more measurable than anything has ever been.

The lack of efficiency is obvious. You can spend a lot of money advertising to people that never step foot in a boat. Digital marketing is exactly the opposite.
Digital media allows you to precisely select your audience and not pay til they click on a link to engage with you.

Nowdays you can place video Public Service Announcements online vs. begging stations for air time.

He talked about their being much to learn from the field of Behavioral Economics and listed three well known experts in that field: Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, and Cass Sunstein.

Several times Mr. Sprague referenced how bicyclist dress and showed an image of the classic biker wearing a helmet, cycling jersey, biker shorts, shades, gloves, etc. It has become cool to dress like that, even though it looks silly. Through marketing that has become the way you bike. He noted to the comparison to wearing life jackets.

Biker attire image

Biker attire image shown by PCI

Its called a marketing campaign because its a war.

During the questions, Pam Dillon of NASBLA noted that in the past they had shown hock and awe to focus groups, showed them tragedy and accidents. She said they had met some, she does not want to call it resistance, but the industry was concerned people would not have desire to go boating because they got an impression it was dangerous. How would you address that? Give us any advice on how to work that balance between that dynamic? Mr. Sprague, “Its never easy.” “Pam is addressing the fact that as marketers and safety advocates we’d love to go out with an unambiguous message and scare boaters into compliance and people who sell boats and boating equipment have a problem with some of that and I don’t blame them.”

Mr. Sprague continued –
Nobody wants to tell boaters that boating is a dangerous sport. It really isn’t. But there are things you need to do to protect yourself. These are people that want to go boating, they want to relax, they want to have a good time, they want to be free. How can we connect that with a few simple activities to make them a lot safer. I don’t know. That is a tough one for sure. The ad showed earlier with the young woman texting while driving in an accident was funded by AT&T. No one is saying don’t use cell phones, but they are clearly seeing some PR value in supporting an awareness campaign there. I don’t have a magic pill to answer that questions, but I would go to the behavior and what’s going to motivate the behavior. In some cases in may be a greater perception of danger, in others it might be some other thing. note – what everybody was thinking about and nobody mentioned was all the ruckus surrounding Dont Wreck Your Summer, a propeller safety PSA a few years back. It was pulled by USCG due to industry objections.

On occasion, top flight ad agencies do pro bono work for causes, like the Argentine Organ Donor PSA designed and produced by DDB titled, The Man and the Dog. Such PSA’s can have tremendous impact. Mr. Maxum, chairman of NBSAC, noted Argentina now ranks very high in organ donors. He also suggested USCG might beg for similar free assistance.

Captain Boross thanked Mr. Sprague for his presentation. Captain Boross said we want to reach the aspirational (starter) boater. We need compelling content. We need to take our knowledge and ask provacative questions.

2017 National Recreational Boating Safety Survey

Methods and status of the 2017 boating safety survey were discussed by Don Kirland (USCG) and Ed Mahoney of Michigan State.

They met with the grantee, RTI, yesterday and are ready to launch it. The study will now be done on three year rotation to reduce costs. This one will be a national study. It will not supply state by state data as has been done in the past.

It will supply to total number of person days by boat type and size.

It was noted that much of the same data is need by both marketing and safety. Facilities and amenities (like marinas) also need similar data.

Exposure data will be collected close to the point/location of activity and close to when it happened.

There will be two surveys:

(1) Participation – the whole country as a whole

(2) Exposure – will produce state level data for 43 states, this increases the cost of the study

They have 174,000 good addresses. There will be 30,000 surveys.

December 17-January 18th will be the participation study

Exposure data will be collected every month. They will ask for exposure time by daylight and by dark hours.

The surveys will be mailed along with an incentive, nobody completes a phone survey any more.

There was some discussion about going to a 5 year study. A recommendation was made to collect the participation data every 5 years, and the exposure study every 2 years.

The results will be available in SAS and Excel format, both raw data and clean data, plus a query system will be available.


Paublo Oborski USCG

Paublo Oborski USCG. The interim replacement for Jeff Hoedt.

Paublo Oborski gave the grant update. Fiscial Year 2016 will see about $106 million going to the states and about $5.3 million to non-profit grants.

26 attended the grant training session in Florida.

END of part 1 of our coverage

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

0 Categories : Regulations

U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 2 of our coverage.

Thursday Early Afternoon 25 March 2017.

Subcommittee Meetings

Much of the work of NBSAC occurs in the three subcommittees:

1. Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee
2. Prevention Through People Subcommittee
3. Strategic Planning Subcommittee

Each Subcommittee presented some topics Thursday afternoon.

Boats & Associated Equipment Subcommittee

Pete Chisholm of Mercury Marine chairs this subcommittee.

Visual Distress Signals

Marty Jackson of USCG presented on Visual Distress Signals.

Traditionally boaters carried flares for visual distress signals. Some LED lights are now bright enough to meet nighttime use requirements. The current lights do not work well in daylight.

The technical criteria they have been looking at does not include affordability or durability.

They are considering flashing them at 4 Hertz (4 times per second) or flashing them to sent “S-O-S” in Morse code.

There was considerable discussion about some LED products currently on the market claiming to be USCG approved.

Besides convenience, an LED light that COULD also work in daylight could eliminate the need for flares. It would also eliminate the need to track flare expiration dates and properly dispose of them.

Life Jackets

Jackie Yurkovich of USCG gave an update on the transition to new life jacket approval standards.

Basically they are trying to harmonize U.S. life jacket standards with Canada AND Canada’s standard is much closer to the international standard.

By bringing the standards together (harmonizing them), those building life jackets will no longer have to build special life jackets for each country.

New harmonized life jacket label as shown at NBSAC97

New harmonized life jacket label as shown at NBSAC97

Our current Level 3 life jackets are equivalent to Level 70 Canadian life jackets.

Canadian Level 100 and Level 150 life jackets are basically equivalent to some of our higher level life jackets.

Basically, the labeling will change. They hope to only have one or two boating seasons with both labels (old and new) in the marketplace to reduce confusion.

Currently approved devices will get the new label with no additional testing. Manufacturers will go through a review and have the new label placed in their file, their life jackets will not have to be retested to meet the new equivalent harmonized standard. It will say UL1123. There is no different information. It just appears different.

In this first phase there is not a performance difference.

Currently expect this to take place in the 2019 or 2020 boating season. They hope the policy is out in the next few months.

While this all sounded good, when the new labels were shown, there was considerable confusion. Several present did not understand the graphics.

Jeff Jenson said, you said the graphics in particular were being used in other countries, ISO, whatever. Do you happen to know if anybody has ever tested them on the public to find out what their perception is. Because, frankly, when I explain what a life jackets can do or can’t do for somebody, I tell them to read the label. There’s ten thousand words on the label, but its very clear its approved for a PWC or its not. There is no interpretation necessary, you just read the label. With this one, I’m not comfortable that the average person walking into Wal-mart will know what that graphic means or whatever. So I’m wondering if maybe some testing has been done on using those paper graphics to see if people “get it”. Cause I didn’t “get it” and and Mr. Marlow didn’t “get it”. I’m just wondering it that’s been done.

She was not sure if there has been testing in the U.S. with these exact graphics. She knows they did a study about 2007ish on label graphics and the evidence showed graphics are more compelling than text. That’s whey they went with the graphics We based it on the ISO standard so they kept with their style of graphics.

New harmonized life jacket label icons as shown at NBSAC97

New harmonized life jacket label icons as shown at NBSAC97

One guy (Tom?) said “It looks like a Cyclops to me.” He wonders why we went with a one eyes object. She thinks its not an eye, she thinks it like a flare. She’s not exactly sure. One person said it was a mouth.

She said the icons are very close to the icons we have here.

Phil Dyskow of Yamaha asked what the overriding purpose of this change. She said to help you to select the device based where you are in the water, your activity type, and your need.

The lady presenting the topic said the symbology is not familiar to us South of the Canadian border but it is known internationally.

Roxanne Standover in attendance from Canada said, there will be backup materials and websites to support the change. She thinks all we need to do is have a positive attitude. We can get free publicity to talk about the new labels. You deserve to have choice for your personal protective type. You now have choice and you now have personal responsibility.

The presenter said the numbers (70, 100 150) do correlate with buoyancy, but they do no exactly correlate.

Changes is supposed to increase innovation. The new standard is much more performance based and will increase innovation.

She said we are now 10 years into this process.

Chris Day said we do not sell the Level 50s. That is where the innovation will start. There is hope for innovation on the long time frame (long term).

Roxanne Standover from Canada said, Level 50 is where the real innovation will happen. She thinks we (the U.S.) should look at Level 50, we call them buoyancy aids. They are more comfortable and will help increase wear rates.

There is a standard for people wearing guns and tools working near the water.

Level 50 requires more personal skills.

Chris Evans of BoatUS mentioned their annual life jacket design competition they have held the last 5 or 6 years. Last year they received entries from 38 states and about 20 countries. It will be coming up in a few months.

Captain Boross said we are not the approval of the label. That is beyond the authority of his office. This is an international cooperation.

Richard Moore said that if Europeans could understand the labels, we could as well, but outreach would be critical. He noted the current hang tag has multiple pages and nobody reads it. He wanted to go on record as saying he believes this is going to be the most significant opportunity we are going to have in our lifetimes to educate U.S. boaters about life jackets and life jacket wear and its critical that we get this right when it does roll out. He also asked if they or other groups could do anything to assist with outreach or to help knock down barriers to help get it moved along and implemented. She said her group would not be handling outreach, she thinks there are some grants for that, but she would be making sure it gets done.

A PFDMA (Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association) representative said PFDMA is no longer a subset of NMMA, they are now under NASBLA. He said that to suggest these efforts had not been vetted would be unjust. note – I visited with NASBLA shortly later. PFDMA is not part of NASBLA. The PFDMA representative was mistaken.

The presenter said these slides had not been prepared as a teaching exercise. When they present some people think it looks like turkey or a duck. What everybody here and the associated organizations can best do is have a positive attitude. We shouldn’t be seeing this as huge problem that we have to explain the labels, we should see it as an opportunity to go out and get some free publicity about education and about life jackets that we haven’t had before. Even if we are kinda faking it that there are these huge changes coming. Its not going to be that hard. People will look for the size, they will try it on. You deserve to have choice about your personal protection equipment. We’ve created a performance standard that allows you to choose the best device for you, your body type, your activity, and where your boat. That’s what the important part of the standard is, not the label. You now have choices and you now have personal responsibility in that area. She thinks the problem of the change and education is perhaps over extended.

Someone said, we started this to gain access to some of the better made life jackets from Europe, different designs, and more opportunities to bring in to the United States different types of life jackets. If we are just changing labels and nothing else, why do it? I’m not sure we have a problem with people choosing a life jacket, we have a problem with people wearing a life jacket. note – the images of the icons above came from a photo of the screen during the presentation. Other similar images were also shown. It was very hard to try to figure out what they represented. I thought the hand reaching down in the left image looked like a crescent wrench and also thought the people wearing life jackets looked like they had one huge eye. Life jackets are not our expertise, but we do have a lot of experience with warning icons. It seems odd to change to non tested labels and icons that NBSACs own people could not understand when adult wear rates in open motorboats are at a dismal 5 percent. Eventually I understood the 50 and 70 graphics were supposed to be someone in the water near a dock, where help was quite close. The 100 graphic was near shore where help was not too awful far away, the 150 graphic out in open water or the ocean. note2 – is now about two weeks after the meeting. Online I just learned the numbers (50,70,100,150) associated with the life jacket graphic icons refer to the minimum number of Newtons of buoyancy the jacket has (Newtons are metric units of force). As an engineer it would have sure helped if someone would have mentioned the numbers represented minimum Newtons of buoyancy earlier.

ISO PFD graphic

ISO PFD graphic note 3 – I found several images of the ISO (International Standards Organization life jacket icons. Several of them were not consistent with each other. The image at left is an example. I found it much easier to understand. Putting hands at the end of the arms of the person in the water, making the life jacket gray, opening up the person’s face, turning the dock structure white, adding “N” for Newtons, and making the helping hand look more like a hand make the image much easier for me to understand. I am not positive this is an approved ISO image, but it could certainly stimulate some conversation when compared with the Canadian 50 icon.

In the next segment of the program, three non-profits are going to talk about their Partnership Activities (grants) with the Coast Guard.
(1) National Safe Boating Council on their propeller safety and engine cutoff switch (kill switch) campaigns
(2) Water Ski Industry Association o their educational work
(3) National Marine Manufacturing Association (NMMA) activities to promote boating safety

Rachel Johnson of National Safe Boating Council at NBSAC97

Rachel Johnson of National Safe Boating Council at NBSAC97

Propeller Safty and Engine Cutoff Switch (kill switch) Safe Boating Campaigns by National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)
by Rachel Johnson
who is also a member of NBSAC

She is going to breeze through this really quick because she has fantastic news about their proposed engine cutoff switch and safe boating campaign. It is completely new. She mentioned she was looking at people like Mr. Polson (me) and Anthony (Anthony Viggano of Autotether). She said we should be a part of this.

Earlier they had “clip it” as a brand / logo (reasonably similar to the seat belt slogan – Click it or Ticket)

The goal is to educate boaters on propeller strike injuries and avoidance, specifically though wearing engine cutoff devices.

Focusing on the tragic component of it, but offering that proactive solution, the engine cutoff device.

Want to cultivated a better prepared boater public. While nurturing our collaborative effort.

This week they chose the communications and public relations firm they will be working with. They chose abbi agency. abbi does have some experience working with boating agencies, like Nevada.

There is much work to do. They will start with the basics. What’s the messaging supposed to look like and what’s out strategy going forward. They plan to use focus groups, interviews, and working with partners to make sure we are meeting their target audience. And then the brand and logo development.

As she mentioned earlier, they turned in “clip it” a year ago, but they are not sure it will reach the audience. It was just a placeholder. Some other logo and brand may surface during their market research.

Will then start to get into the deliverable element. With the added group they will be developing things that are known in an outreach and educational campaign. Will also have a digital component. The campaign will be high demand low budget.

Having the media wanting to share this campaign.

Social media deliverables and printed materials.

Thought about making an entire website, but determined to do a microsite, similar to the saved by the beacon campaign.

An overall campaign toolkit for our partners once this is ready to go.

They have a timeline for basic events.

They plan to really get this campaign out with focus in June.

What is our measure. It’s engagement and that behavior change element. Every thing they do will have the call to action. Getting the individual to wear the engine cutoff device. And how all these elements tie into doing so.

There will be more info by tomorrow on the registration rate.

Jeff (a member of the council) mentioned personal watercraft and how runaway boats are a game ender for us (can run over them). So he hopes she will mention all the reasons to wear the engine cutoff device, not just prop strikes.

Matt Walz, council member from Missouri Water Patrol, mentioned many of the prop deaths are not engine cutoff related and encouraged her not to forget that. Sometimes its as simple as not turning the boat off when people are entering or exiting the boat.That’s the common prop cuts that we see in my state.

I made a public comment at this time. Just add with some of the surveys and things we talked about earlier, we’re really short of wear rate data. Wear rate data could help drive her end of things. If we really recognized on a piece of paper that the wear rates in various states and areas are like dismal. I think that would help encourage what she’s talking about.

Captain Boross asked if I was talking about the wear rate on the lanyard and also of the electrical, correct.

I responded, yes, on wearing either type of device. The data is extremely sparse. There’s lots of little pieces and we have gathered many of them. We’ve made estimates off the BARD data. On the BARD data for like any kind of accident for which it is recorded for wearing or not, rates are down to 13 to 30 percent. But it also shows life jacket wear rates much higher than they are observed. thought after the meeting, I should have mentioned the use of “kill switch” vs. “engine cutoff device” and boaters not understanding the second phrase.

Educational Work by Water Ski Industry Association (WSIA)

presented by Larry Meddock WSIA note – In 2003 WSIA founded the Water Sports Foundation (WSF) as its non-profit educational arm. WSF was specifically designed to to be WSIA’s boating safety and education division. WSF has been very successful in securing USCG non-profit grants. WSF was awarded $700,000 in 2014, $825,000 in 2015, and $1,100,000 in 2016. Jim Emmons WSIA’s WSF grant manager currently serves on NBSAC.

WSIA developed some of these materials in conjunction with the Coast Guard, and some of them on their own. WSIA’s general council previously worked for the snow ski industry and developed a responsibility code for snow skiers. Their general counsel used that as a starting place from which to develop the Watersports Responsibility Code below.

WSIA Watersports Responsibility Code

WSIA Watersports Responsibility Code

WSIA developed the Towed Watersports Handbook. The handbook is currently in the rewrite stage. Mr. Meddock noted they would be removing the USCG “Boat Responsibly” logo from the cover. They were once approved to use the logo on the handbook, but are no longer approved to use it there.

WSIA Towed Water Sports Handbook

WSIA Towed Water Sports Handbook

The Fedorko Foundation (named for Emily Fedorko who died by a boat propeller strike a few years ago) contacted WSIA about sponsoring the handbook. The back page is a dedication to Emily Fedorko. note – Mr. Meddock described the accident that claimed the life of Emily Fedorko. His description of the accident bore little similarity to what was reported by the media. He said her inattentive boyfriend backed over her. Per accident reports, four teenage girls were tubing. Two fell from a tube, the other two girls came back around to pick them up. The two girls in the water were struck by the propeller. There was no boyfriend on the vessel.

WSIA water sense logo

WSIA water sense logo

WSIA developed a Water Sense Logo in conjunction with the Watersports Responsibility Code.

Tow boat builders are now including the handbook in the packet of information provided with new boats. note – We were unable to find the handbook (its contents) online on the WSIA web site. Their site does sell it in quantities for 99 cents per copy. No minimum order quantity is listed. It would receive much more circulation if WSIA put it on their website.

Captain Boross asked if they could put some notation about water temperature on the cover of the handbook (list the water temperature). Several times during the meeting USCG spoke of their concerns surrounding cold water exposure / hypothermia. He also suggest the white “Know the Code” warning include “Know the Temperature”.

Mr. Meddock said, Done.

He tried to show their tubing safety video but had technology challenges. The video is available from YouTube below.

Inflatables Safety Video

WSIA Inflatables Safety Video

They were able to show the tubing safety video at the end of the day after the meeting was adjourned. This video was also dedicated in part by the Fedorko Foundation in memory of Emily Fedorko.

Mr. Meddock said they had Q-codes printed on every tube that link cell phones to the video above.

He said there are no standards for testing tubes and showed a video in which they worked with Guidance Engineering of Seattle to instrument elite athletes, tubes, ropes, and vessels to gather data for the formulation of a testing standard.

The video was titled, Scientific Study and Research for Emerging Popularity of Inflatables”. note – the tube testing video was very interesting. We hope they publicly release it in the future.

Mr. Meddock said similar, but separate testing was done to see how far a tube would slide when a rope broke, such as a tube whipping around, the rope breaking, and the tube crashing into the dock. He said they will not go very far, only a maximum of about about 50 to 60 feet. He said they stop fairly quickly because of high drag on the tubes. They tested a 3 man tube with 520 pounds of people on it. He said if that tube went 50 to 60 feet he would eat his hat. They also tested a light tube with a small girl on it. This tube also stopped quickly after it was released.

He said, if someone says the line broke and they whipped into the dock, you know the line separated after they hit that dock, it didn’t separate before.

Mr. Meddock said it looks like they need to stay a minimum two rope lengths from fixed objects (most tube tow ropes are 60 feet in length). It is not yet official, but they will probably say to stay 150 feet from fixed objects.

NMMA’s Activities to Make Boating Safer

Nicole Vasilaros of NMMA at NBSAC97

Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA VP of Federal & Legal Affairs at NBSAC97

presented by Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA VP of Federal & Legal Affairs

She said they work with dealers, distributors, and others and try to be the source of safety information.

NMMA prints the Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract.

NMMA develops economic infographic helps for here and with key decision makers in USCG, on the hill, and in the White House.

They work with Discover Boating and helped with USCG Proceedings issue.

They bring boating safety to boat shows, right to the consumers.

She talked about a triad of the Industry, the Coast Guard, and the Legislature.

NMMA can help move regulations.

NMMA promotes mandatory wear of lanyards and engine cut off switches. She things they may be able to use the model of the Coast Guard bill that passed in 2015 and get the Coast Guard, industry, and legislators to come together and see if we can move the ball on that. note – not sure if she heard USCG comments earlier today about all future regulations being dead at this time or not. Plus they already had over a decade to pass it. There were NBASC resolutions for mandatory installation of kill switches in certain sizes of power boats and for their mandatory use when one was present way back in 2006.)

NMMA helps makes sure people that buy boats register them. Registration count helps the Trust Fund.

NMMA also works on boating infrastructure.

Are assisting the government develop economic impact numbers for boating.

The second half of her presentation was on ethanol and biobutanol. note – the first half of her presentation appeared to be somewhat of a canned presentation about the kind of thinks NMMA does on the Federal side of their operations. A few of those items certainly have something to do with boating safety but most of them are far from the Venn Diagram Chairman Maxim opened the meeting with (the huge proportion of boat fatalities in which alcohol or drownings were involved). The ethanol part of her presentation felt totally out of place to us. We agree ethanol is a very important issue to the boating industry, but failed to see its relevance to this meeting.

END of part 2 of our coverage

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

0 Categories : Regulations

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. 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:

recommends that the U. S. Coast Guard initiate a project in collaboration with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) certified pontoon boat manufacturers, staff and contract engineers, and other interested parties to develop the analysis determining the factors that led to each of the accidents involving pontoon boats over the past 5 years;
Recommendations from that analysis may include but are not limited to:
• Development and issuance of a USCG Boating Safety Circular or USCG Recommended Practice,
• An enhancement to a current ABYC standard or creation of a new standard, noting that a voluntary collaborative approach might be more efficient and more rapidly implemented than by direct regulation.

For ABYC’s bowriding study they will be focusing on people that are outside of the enclosure of pontoon boats.

You can see in the photos that people want to be up here. These boats are obviously anchored. We are talking about when boats are underway.

Pontoon boat issue - bow riding NBSAC97

Pontoon boat issue – bow riding NBSAC97

You can see it happens in much larger boats as well.

“The obvious issue is you go off the front you’re not going to be able to stop the boat, the operator’s not going to be able to avoid the person, you’re not going to be able to put it in neutral, you’ll most likely get struck by the prop.”

Then he described the process as he showed the image below:

Pontoon boat issue - propeller NBSAC97

Pontoon boat issue – propeller NBSAC97

Mr. Goodwin said, you have a low proximity to the water, they will go right under and struck by the prop.

He described the process they used to select accidents from 2011-2015 BARD data. There are over 28,000 accidents in that dataset. Then they cut it pontoon boats (1,238 accidents). Then they looked at how many of those accidents fell overboard or were ejected (132). They did not include accidents where people voluntarily departed the boat. Then looked which ones of those 132 accidents were struck by the propeller or by the vessel. 66 accidents remained. They looked at the narrative of those accidents and tried to decide where that person was. Were they outside the enclosure or were they within the confines of the pontoon boat enclosure. Were they in the stern?

Pontoon boat accident analysis NBSAC97

Pontoon boat accident analysis NBSAC97

Also looked at some vessel dynamics, what was going on. Was the vessel changing speed, changing direction, cruising, idling, manufacturers, models, years, horsepower. When you get down to it and you look at the bow riding and focus down on those narratives there were a couple trends they observed. Some of these shouldn’t be a bit surprise. “A lot of drinking factors, of alcohol and operator inattention.”

Pontoon Boat Bow Riding Trends

Pontoon Boat Bow Riding Trends note – It is interesting that percentages were provided for most of the variables, but not for the causes (alcohol and inattentiveness).

The vessels were generally cruising, going in a fairly straight line, fairly calm conditions. Not making turns, Not making sudden speed changes. The perception is its a fairly comfortable environment.

The non-bowriding accidents were often caused by a sudden change in speed.

All the accidents were single engine boats. That is just a reflection of what the market share looks like, pontoons are single engine boats.

Over half of these accidents were rental boats.

The market the user group at most risk is rentals.

In 2007 there’s over 800,000 registered pontoon boats out there, but over half these accidents are rentals.

36 accidents were bowriding.

Whats the next step? We’re going to look a little deeper at the actual design of the boats and see if there are trends we can analyze and reach out to the manufacturing community.

Reality is we can say all day long that if you get rid of this front section this problem goes away, but does it really? Do people just open the gate? Do they sit there? Are there legitimate reasons to have a deck area on the boat that is wanted by the customer / the boater? They may be fishing. They may be a fish and ski model where they want to have that deck for fishing.

The person that knows their product best is the manufacturer. They know their customers and what know they do. If we can bring this discussion to them we can help steer the discussion on what is viable changes that may be incorporated into the standards.

He found this picture interesting in that it kinda promotes being in a bad place on the boat when underway. note – he was speaking of the boat shown near the bottom of the slide above. I enlarged a portion of that image and show it below. As to promoting being in a bad place on a boat when underway, the recent popularity of stern facing seats comes to mind.”

Rental pontoon boat with seats forward of the fence

Rental pontoon boat with seats forward of the fence

ABYC’s H-35 standard addresses pontoon boats. It has a warning that’s supposed to go on that gate (shown below).

Pontoon boat propeller warning by ABYC NBSAC97

Pontoon boat propeller warning by ABYC NBSAC97[/caption:

The warning warns the operator not to go up there.

ABYC standards cover the the railing and the gates. We’ve actually made improvements in the last couple years to gate strength. We want to be able to withstand a 400 pound load. Just like the safety railing lifeline around the boat itself.

From a standards perspective, there are standards there. So what is the next step. I talked about working with manufacturers and identify possible engineering solutions, and taking these recommendations, and we’d look at including them in a standard and publish it out there.

There are some other things / opportunities out there, such as to work with NASBLA for a model act. What is the oversight of this rental community? Its a large percentage of the accidents. Its a limited user group. Are those boats built to the standards. Do they need to be? Is anyone inspecting those boats? Do they have the appropriate warnings? Does someone know they shouldn’t go up there. And lastly, targeted outreach to these rental companies.

[caption id="attachment_12897" align="alignright" width="700"]Pontoon boat accidents - next steps NBSAC97 Pontoon boat accidents – next steps NBSAC97

He showed some of the new designs coming to pontoon boats in the slide below.

Pontoon boats - next generation NBSC97

Pontoon boats – next generation NBSC97

That’s where we’re at right now. We’re going to keep digging at this.

Captain Boross thanke him for taking the project on and for putting things into context. On average for that five year period we lost two people per year and one person per month on average is going to get struck off a pontoon boat by the propeller and either seriously injured or killed. We’re damned because of statistics inform us. So that helps us be able to provide that narrative, because numbers do matter. In terms on the targeted approach I appreciate the honing in on the fact that more than half of the mishaps happened on rented pontoon boats. So outreach to rental companies would be an appropriate mitigating measure by us, by our auxiliaries, and by our power squadron personnel as well. Thank you for presenting that information. We will put it into the context you just heard. Thanks.

Chairman Maxim said it was a very important presentation, thank you.

Rich Jepson said he was interested in what controls or standards exist for the rental companies now. Not so much in terms of manufacturing, but their operations and their choices of clients.

Someone asked if someone with the Coast Guard(Phil?) had anything to add to that, but it is his understanding that is mostly a state issue, BLA’s could speak to it better than he could.

Pete Chisholm said:

Comment by Pete Chisholm
“I think the sad part about it is there is really not a lot of standards involved in the rental industry. I’ve had some personal experiences with a rental company that is literally in my backyard in Wisconsin. When the person who went to rent the pontoon boat, which is my manager, looked at the lanyard switch which was missing and said something to the rental operator. The rental operator basically went on a tirade about well its not there because your just gonna trip it, your gonna call me. I’m gonna have to drop what I’m doing, get a boat and go find you to put the switch back on, and then your gonna want your money back. They just totally disregarded it. Obviously they had not had any kind of conversation with their insurance agent or a lawyer.”

Jeff Johnson, Alaska BLA, said they were losing people in some paddle board rental operations. They came up with a vendor checklist that they required vendors to provide to renters when they are under the auspices of waters controlled by the state parks or DNR. It hits the high points. There is an opportunity to control that type of activity through the commercial permit system (rental operation is permitted to operate in a state park, etc.)

Bruce Rowe, said something like that exists. Checklists, everything, videos. Its been out there for about ten years.

There was some talk of a resolution.

Pete Chisholm said the report is not finished yet. He said when the report is finished, a resolution may be a way to bolster its findings.

I made a public comment at this time.

Public Comment by Gary Polson
“I’ll go with Mr. Rowe on they had a very nice flip chart. I’ve got one, this big flip over printed chart they’re really nice, they had them a long time ago. I’ve got one . You can still see the charts online at
We were the ones that kind discovered the burst of pontoon boat accidents, there were roughly six of them in eight days last year. One thing that we missed in the presentation here was children. Children are very big factor in bow riding often and they’re often not paired with alcohol. They’re just mom, dad, kids up front, and kids falling off. We put up actually two post that covered a lot of ways to try to prevent this accident all kinds of ways. Some of them aren’t feasible. We just tried to point out ideas that might be able to address some issues. One we pointed out a lot was defensive architecture. Trying to do something up front to make it uncomfortable to sit there and one thing we showed was in big cities, like we’re in right now, they do things on to the benches and other things to make them hard to sit on them . If you go around the corner somewhere past Buffalo Wild Wings turn right, they’ve done it to some benches out there, you can sit on them, but you sure can’t sleep on them. You do something up there like a piece of angle iron over the edge where the angle iron toes up kinda so you could puts your toe into it or something like that. You wouldn’t wantabe hanging your legs over that. Another one is they make a bunch of grills for stairways and that kind of stuff. You don’t like sitting on a grill if your in a swimsuit and those kinda things. There’s a lot of opportunities that if you still want to put something up front, you can make it uncomfortable to sit there. Thank you.” note 1 – when I said “grill” above, I meant to say “grate” or “grating”. Like this stuff:

Grip Strut safety grating. Image courtesy of Eaton

Grip Strut safety grating
image courtesy of Eaton note 2- our two posts covering ways to prevent these accidents are: Preventing Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents and Preventing Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents by Design.
We also have a list of pontoon boat over the bow propeller accidents. note 3 – in retrospect we identify “over the bow accidents”, they (ABYC) limited the study to people who started outside of the rails. Our list of over the bow pontoon boat propeller accidents includes several people who fell over or through the rails or the gate and met the same end (struck by prop). It would be good to keep this broader perspective in mind when evaluating mitigations and some mitigations might prevent these “start inside the rails” accidents as well. Our 2011-2015 data identified about 57 people going over the bow struck by the propeller including about 11 fatalities. My data includes some accidents in which those struck fell over the rail or through the gate. The ABYC study found 29 bow riding injuries and 7 deaths (36 total). They tried to read the narratives to determine how they entered the water. We have media reports of many of these accident that also provide insight into how they entered the water. I supplied our accident list to USCG back when we identified the accident cluster. When this project began, I was told they had the list and would ask for my assistance if they needed additional information about any accidents on the list. In addition, ABYC should have had access to the accidents data from the states we cannot see (states not reporting to Public BARD, unmasking more accidents than those seen by us). It would have been nice if we could have participated in the accident data review process.

Update of Review of Federal Manufacturing Standards (33 CFR Parts 181 and 183) & Discussion of Potential Recommendations
presented by Phil Cappel USCG.

He thinks these questions were answered this morning. There really is not an environment for us to introduce or even start as large a project as we have. We did have a Congressional mandate that we were supposed to change the outboard motor weight table but that is a very small portion of the regulations we want to update and it was put in our authorization by bill Congress to do this. We got as far as getting the Department to approve it on the 19th of January and on the 20th of January it was stopped. It has been appealed because it is not a large change. The Department has told us to change some wording on it so it might be able to be published. But as of yet, we are still waiting for the Department to go ahead and let us publish it.

So for use to start a project on our own of basically changing a third of our regulations by updating them, its really not worth trying to attempt it and put it into the hopper right now. But it is ready to go if we can just get a little change in the regulatory environment.

The standards for boat manufacturers in the Federal Code of Regulations (CFR) are out of date and it is very challenging to update them, especially in the current environment.

New Business and Public Comment on Issues Related to Boats & Associated Equipment Safety

Larry Meddock WSIA said if he remembers correctly, last year the Coast Guard moved forward on a CFR (I think Mr. Meddock is referring to the Code of Federal Regulations) for the engine cut off switch. He thinks he heard Nicole say a few minutes ago that one of NMMA’s goals was to see something on the engine cut off switch to move forward.

He wants this Council to know that he personally will go to the board of directors of the Water Sports Industry Association and ask them to support and engine cut off switch and hopefully a CFR. His question is, What is it going to take to get this done? I don’t know if you can make a resolution on top of a resolution but if that’s what we gotta do or he just stands up here and pitches a fit.

What’s it gonna take if the Coast Guard knows the NMMA is behind this. If their behind this, what’s the problem? I’ll leave it at that.

Captain Boross responded to Mr. Meddock. He highlighted Mr. Viggiano’s article in the Proceedings. On the right hand side of the page, he has the NMMA verbiage appended to the article there. All I can ask you all to do, is to continue your advocacy as often and as fervently as possible. Then he thanked Mr. Meddock for getting up and speaking on this issue.

Phil Cappel (I think), said the Coast Guard can’t approach Congress directly. We rely on other people. NMMA has their office here in D.C. to basically help move things forward for them by going down and seeing their Congressman and Senators. NMMA was able to put a directive into the USCG bill that was able to change the engine weight table for outboards. It was NMMA that basically did that for us. USCG did not ask the to do it and they are not asking them to insert engine stop switch requirements in USCG’s next authorization bill. But it might be a way forward. He thanked Nicole (NNMA)for attempting that.

Captain Boross noted the Proceedings article notes NMMA sent a letter in support of mandatory installation of engine cut off switches and mandatory use of lanyards in 2011. He has brought up this support to the Admiral. We have been moved up on the priority list, but we have not been moved any further along.

Read Admiral Thomas is carrying this forward. It will be passed forward. Rear Admiral Thomas is departing Washington D.C. this summer for another position.

Polson – I made a public comment noting the first two resolutions passed about 2006. One for putting them on boats and one for mandatory wear. I mentioned we have a kill switch study from about 1977 done by the Coast Guard.

We submitted a public comment letter and I think one of the paddle board guys noted we only had a four day submit period. Would be nice if it was a little longer than that. We were watching the Federal Register and only caught it on the last afternoon.

What we talked about was large outboard motors striking a submerged object, breaking off, and flipping into the boat. A comment by Captain Boross two meetings ago in which he talked about the study that found 21,000 BARD entries from 2010-2014 and identified 888 propeller injuries (I should have said “accidents”, not “injuries”). He said:

Captain Boross from NBSAC 95 minutes
“Some of these incidents occurred when a propeller of an underway vessel struck a submerged object and the propeller recoiled and the engine launched and came up out of the water and came inside the boat which amazed him and members of his staff, as there were hundreds of those events.”

We really appreciate the attention he brought to this issue. We would just like to add that its typically the leading edge of the drive, the skeg or the nose cone or something that strikes, its not usually the propeller that make this happen..

We had a chart up earlier and recently posted a different one. Its part of the stuff that we distributed. It shows some of the paths by which these accidents could be prevented. We just like to call it to the attention of everybody. Thank You.

I also said we really appreciated Mr. Hoedt who will not be with us much longer. I’m are sure Marion does as well. I am not a real SPIN person but he helped her a lot and I’m sure she appreciated that.

A link to our written public comment on large outboard motors.

Dave Marlow said we had a good presentation from ABYC remarking pontoon boat rental operations appear to be ripe opportunity for education and Mr. Rowe brought to our attention there is a site out there, to address some issues that the Coast Guard sponsors as well as NASBLA sponsors. I had a look at the website and the information claims to be brought forward by the Coast Guard and by NASBLA. Anyway, as I have reviewed it in subsequent conversations it appears that it could be updated. There is no mention of the emergency cut off switch or use of the words cut of switch that I could find. It might be in the video’s I didn’t have a chance to view. But I wonder if this serves as an opportunity to revisit and update that material given the information we have today.

Bruce Rowe talked about the origins of what is now It started out with 6 or 7 of us working on it as a BSAC project. Wound up with him and Fred doing it. They did it at one his marinas and he paid the gas to get the videos done. Its been out there for he believes ten years now. Everything has been redone on it. They now have it in English and Spanish. There are also quizzes on the website and on the videos. He will take a look at it and if there is nothing on there about the ignition kill, they will get that on there.

An actor, Michael Copon, a Power Ranger did a PSA for it an the visitation went up astronomically. So they have been continuing to upgrade it. At the next BSAC meeting he will bring copies of the different videos to hand out to the Council.

Pete Chisholm asked him if he could provide some additional information to the subcommittee at their next meeting and Mr. Rowe said he would.

Pam Dillon of NASBLA said just to correct the record, that was a grant to Safe Boating Council (the materials). NASBLA assisted on it with the Coast Guard.

Bruce Rowe said it was a BSAC initiative that Fred and he worked on to get it done. Pam Dillon said she stands corrected. Bruce said he sent copies of it to someone at NASBLA and that year at the Summit the Coast Guard got the award for the best safety video of the year.

Chairman Maxim asked if there was anything they (NBSAC) needed to do to cause this to happen (the materials to be updated). Bruce said, no. He will look at it and make sure there is something on there about the ignition kill switch and the safety lanyard and on the check sheets. Bruce thinks its on there, but if its not they will get it added on the website immediately.

Polson – I made a comment that about 2005-2006 there was a BSAC project of which Marion was a part that developed a flip chart. I actually have one. They put together roughly 20 slides and there is a flip chart that is pretty big. When you flip the slide over the person being trained sees the slide, while the person training them sees the backside of the next slide and reads what they are training them about. It’s really slick and a very nice thing. Those slides are online. I think they distributed like ten or twelve of the flip charts to test them out. They did not get any feedback, and it died.

Jeff from the Coast Guard said that for the record, that is the Water Solutions Group grant. note – as seen above, there was considerable confusion about the origin of the materials on I think part of the confusion about who did this project comes from the project having many pieces.

Among the pieces are the materials on the flip chart, the videos shot by Bruce and Fred, and the website running under Water Solutions Group, originally under a grant.

As to the source of the materials (content of the flip charts) back in November 2005 at NBSAC76, a group was formed to address propeller injury avoidance. (see page 16 of the NBSAC76 minutes).

That group reported at the next NBSAC meeting in April 2006 (See page 6 of NBSAC77 minutes). The findings of that workgroup, of which Marion Irving deCruz was a member, is both interesting and sad. That portion of the minutes are copied below.

NBSAC77 Minutes April 1-4, 2006 page 7.
Propeller Injury Avoidance Workshop Report
John Adey presented on the Propeller Avoidance Workshop. Much of what he had to report was covered in the Chief’s report. He expressed excitement about the possibility of a unique solution. The workshop was in Alexandria, VA, and four ideas came out of the meeting. The first was an educational package for rental boats, which would quickly teach people about boating rules and safety. The second was that every original equipment manufacturer (OEM) install a cutoff switch and the cutoff switch be installed immediately on all boats. Third, a law could be passed requiring that, if the boat has a cutoff switch, it must be attached to the operator. The last idea, which was similar to California’s AB 2222, was that if you are in the water holding onto a boat, the engine must be turned off. All of these items were to be addressed at the Boats and Associated Equipment Subcommittee.

Those same ideas continue to be bounced around in NBSAC over a decade later.

The flip charts and check sheets now on were an outgrowth of that project.

END of part 3 of our coverage

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

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.

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

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. 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. 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

U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) 87th meeting in Arlington Virginia March 23-25, 2017. Part 5 of our coverage.

Saturday 26 March 2017.

The last day is typically reserved for the three subcommittees (Boats and Boat Equipment, Prevention Through People, and Strategic Planning) presenting resolutions, the discussion and formalization of those resolutions, and voting on them.

With no resolutions this year, beyond those recognizing those retiring, it was mostly comments on the three topics, planning for the future, and some informational presentations.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Accident Statistics
by Pam Doty of USACE

Pam Doty of USACE presenting at NBSAC97

Pam Doty of USACE presenting at NBSAC97

ACE owns a number of lakes and record accidents at those facilities, not all of which occur on the water.

USACE might be able to move the needle in ways USCG has not been able to on life jacket wear.

Several years ago they required life jacket wear on a part of Mississippi. They previously counted lake traffic there and on surrounding lakes. Traffic did not decrease on mandatory wear lakes, it actually increased. Wear rate is still higher there years later. She hopes to do some counting there this year.

Wear rate went up to about 80 percent.

Officers just enforced the law (mandatory wear) when they encountered people. They gave out warnings and tickets. The word got out and coffee shop chat spread the word.

The mandatory wear study is online at USACE Life Jacket Study.

With no resolutions pending, each subcommittee spoke, read their report, and discussed various items, mostly following up on items discussed earlier.

Prevention Through People subcommittee

Paddlecraft is the next frontier to prevent injuries through people.

Jim Emmons said two companies developed the Paddle Responsibly logo, similar to USCG’s Boat Responsibly logo, for free.

Paddle Responsibly logo

Paddle Responsibly logo

They are now going to add a standup paddleboarder to a similar logo.

Human powered craft are taxing efforts at the state level, but not contributing financially (fuel tax). They don’t consider themselves to be boaters.

This subcommittee will take ownership of paddle craft issues and present them at the next meeting.

Boats and Boating Equipment subcommittee

There was a brief chat about non-pryotechnic signal devices doing some testing in early summer and mention of May 19th being wear your life jacket to work day.

The electronic visual distress device currently on the market claims to meet USCG standards. Jeff Ludwig was asked if that was true. He said it meets the requirements for night use. It does not meet daytime requirements. Daytime requirements can be met with a flag.

Strategic Planning Subcommittee

They are focused on goals, timelines, and milestones.

NBSAC97 closing report from Strategic Planning subcommittee, small image

NBSAC97 closing report from Strategic Planning subcommittee

I took the photo above while Dr Marshburn (closest to camera) was presenting. It does a nice job of showing some of the major players during a thoughtful moment. Captain Boross is to the far left, then Chairman Maxim, then Captain Gifford. Rachel Johnson is looking toward Dr. Marshburn’s computer.

If you click on hte image above, you can see a larger, higher resolution image.

Captain Boross

Captain Boross made some closing remarks.

Dick Snyder at NBSAC97

Dick Snyder at NBSAC97

He asked Richard (Dick) Synder retired of Mercury to stand.

He asked Mr. Snyder why he continues to come to these meetings. (I think this is his 57th meeting)

Mr. Snyder said he spent 58 years at Mercury and now 17 years as a consultant for them.

The world of boating means the world to him.

He spoke of loosing a friend to drowning when the friend was 8 years old and having a cub scout funeral for him.

Captain Boross offered a quote, “Seek not to be heard, but seek to be worth listening too.” and he thanked Mr. Snyder for being here. He jokingly thanked him for providing the adult supervision to the other folks from Mercury and Brunswick on the Council that they so desperately needed.

Captain Boross asked me to stand.

He noted I came all the way from Oklahoma and asked me why I came.

I told him its great to be here. I had been here once before, not 57 times as my friend here has (referring to Mr. Snyder)

I told him it was in part due to my friend, Mr. Snyder.

Its great to be here, to see the organization, to see the safety work going, to see and understand in some of the struggles you have with regulatory issues and other things, and to meet some of the people involved. I’m here for that. I love that. I’m grateful to see the other aspects. As Mr. Snyder does, I worked in propeller safety strongly and have ideas in some of other fields that might be helpful and useful. Like life jacket wear and those kinds of things. Its great to be here. Thank you.

Captain Boross thanked me. He said he and his staff really appreciate my advocacy, persistence, and my communications with them.

He thanked me for being there to represent the SPIN cause issues that Marion is no longer with us, and Phyllis could not be with us this conveening.

Captain Boross then highlighted the members of the Council that are also members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (Bruce Rowe, Dr. Marshburn, and one more, and encouraged others to do the same.

Captain Boross spoke on the status of NBSAC membership. Some came back this time to help when the next round had yet been appointed. There have been many more applications than open slots, plus it has been difficult to get those selected officially approved and appointed by the government.

Chairman Maxim

Chairman Dan Maxim presenting closing thoughts at NBSAC97

Chairman Dan Maxim presenting closing thoughts at NBSAC97

Chairman Maxim said we need more effective communications between meetings. Many files are too large for email, we need a DropBox type of thing and to be able to access a common database.

He mentioned Don Kerlin’s Initiative 3 for a centralized database, we can start from here.

We have to get better at outreach activities.

He noted Bob Sprague spoke some on how people make decisions and that is not always done rationally.

Dan Ariely at MIT talks about this in a TED talk he will show after the meeting. It’s about 17 minutes long.

Paddle craft will be handled by Prevention Through People, they will have a presentation next time.

We will have to deal with UI (Boating Under the Influence) one way or another and we should probably start with a paper that summarizes where we are. He will give a report on that at the next meeting and put it in a Power Point for them.

We need to get the “first team” for advertising support. He asked if anybody had an inside contact with a major league Madison Avenue type that could tell us how to sell Wheaties.

Philip Kotler was mentioned as being recognized as the father of social marketing, he’s cooperated with a lady named Nancy Lee that presented at NASBLA and at the Summit.

Chairman Maxim said, Captain Gifford wants us to be clever on our priorities plus a pocket list of things we hope for maybe even in the white area of the Venn Diagram shown on day 1, that are not hard to do, that we may be able to get done.

Chairman Maxim said NTSB is probably the premier safety agency. They wrote the Shared Waterways report. We need to give that report the respect it deserves.

During the opening session of NBSAC97 Chairman Maxim referred to a 2015 Venn Diagram showing the major areas in which fatalities occur and thus identifies the areas in which we should be focused.

NBSAC97 Venn Diagram of Boating Deaths

NBSAC97 Venn Diagram of Boating Deaths

He wants future content to be in the Green or White areas of the Venn Diagram. A whole bunch of things come up at our meetings. Passionate people express issues. Somehow we have to get them into our priority order.

Some of the briefings given at this meeting were squarely in the green, some of the briefings were up in the white. For example the wonderful presentation we had from ABYC was a great presentation that happened to be in the white area. Fair enough because that’s something we can take advantage of and its on target.

We also had a bunch of briefings, and he won’t name them, that were squarely in the blue area. That is outside of where we are.

He wants the Council to be more pro-active in structuring the content of these meetings so that we stay in at least the white area and at best in the green area.

He is concerned the existing regulatory stuff is not in the plan so he would like to craft the operational annex (includes the plan plus the daily stuff) into the strategic plan.

Chairman Maxim showed the Super Bowl commercial a few years back about herding cats in response to Dr. Ernie Marshburn’s efforts to hold the plan together. Everyone got a great laugh out of it, especially Dr. Marshburn.

Chairman Maxim ran through several parting pieces of advice / counsel, some are in the slide below.

NBSAC97 closing advice from Chairman Maxim.

NBSAC97 closing advice from Chairman Maxim.

Chairman Maxim showed the video below about the encabulator mentioned on his slide above. It drew some laughs. It was a gobledy gook technical presentation using a whole bunch of big words with no substance. Meaning we should not give presentations like that one.


The Turbo Encabulator

He talked about the Argentine organ donor PSA that was shot for free by a major firm.

Argentine organ donation PSA

Argentine organ donation PSA

He noted Argentina is now doing very well in organ donations per a journal.
Maybe we should beg and get a big firm to help us for free.

Chairman Maxim said we should value input, be alert for surprises, and dream big.

He showed a video of a young girl singing opera on Holland Has Talent as an example. We need to maintain high expectations.

Holland girl sings opera

girl on Holland Has Talent

Chairman Maxim popped up a final slide noting Our profound gratitude for the thoughtful guidance, insights, enlightened leadership, and continued support provided by our heroes: Jeffrey N. Hoedt and Captain F. Thomas Boross.”

NBSAC97 was concluded and adjourned.

END of part 5 of our coverage

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

We welcome comments and corrections to our coverage of NBSAC97.

0 Categories : Regulations

U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) will be holding its 97th meeting on March 23-25, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia.

Their March 2, 2018 notice in the Federal Register invited public comments, due by March 6th if they were to be distributed in advance to NBSAC members.

We submitted a pubic comment, our recent Propeller Safety dot com post on our updated design chart for preventing outboard motors from breaking off and flipping into boats when striking floating or submerged objects.

We used a cover letter to point out NBSACs own discovery of this problem as retold in the NBSAC95 minutes and attached a copy of our design chart post. Read More→

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→

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

U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) will be meeting April 21-23, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia for its 95th meeting (NBSAC95).

The Coast Guard recently published a request for public comments in the Federal Register to be submitted by April 14th for distribution to NBSAC Council members. We responded today with two public comments.

Public Comment #1 – we resent the same public comment we sent back in October 2014 about the industry ignoring the scenario of large outboard motors striking submerged objects, breaking off boats, and flipping into the boat with the propeller still under power and turning at a very high RPM.

Public Comment #2 – at NBSAC94 a request was put forth to look into the October 2007 dismissal of the proposed Houseboat propeller safety regulation USCG-2001-10163. Advance materials for NBSAC95 include the Federal Register entry for the rejection of 10163. Our 2nd public comment requests NBSAC (1) review three pages of our previous report on errors made in the rejection of 10163, (2) publicly respond to the points made on those three pages based on conditions at that time so the errors of the past will no longer misguide the conversation of potential future actions. Then we suggest some steps for NBSAC and the Coast Guard to consider in any current efforts to address houseboat propeller injuries.

Our second comment included a copy of our 2010 report analyzing USCG-2001-10163 and its rejection. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations

U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) will be holding its 92nd meeting on November 6th-8th, 2014 in Arlington, Virgina.

Nonprofit Grant Comments

For the first time ever, they invited public comments about non-profit grant interest areas before the meeting. Each year the Coast Guard awards nonprofits a tidy some of money to promote boating safety and to run some studies, like the annual life jacket wear rate study. In 2013, the grants totaled over $5.5 million. Many boating safety organization live and die by these grants. Read More→

0 Categories : Regulations