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Archive for Propeller Safety

Three boys in a sailing class at Centerport Yacht Club on the north side of Long Island, New York were out sailing in Northport Harbor Tuesday afternoon 18 July, 2017. Their boat was capsized on purpose as part of a man overboard exercise. Two of the boys stayed with the sailboat. The third boy was picked up by an 18 year old sailing instructor on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat).

When the boat operator began to gradually accelerate the boat, the boy fell overboard and was fatally injured by the propeller.

Details are still sketchy, but some accounts say his life jacket was entrapped in the propeller and he was struck in the chest by the propeller.

The 18 year old instructor was able to get the boy back in the boat and performed CPR on him.

One news report mentioned the yacht club instructors were all trained in CPR.

The injured boy, from Northport, was taken to Huntington Hospital where he died.

Propeller guards are sometimes used to prevent youth sailing propeller accidents such as this one. We talk further about their use near the bottom of this post.

The instructed that performed CPR on the boy suffered shock and was taken to the hospital.

The boat was a Zodiac powered by a Yamaha outboard motor.

Centerport Yacht Club RIB involved in the accident

Centerport Yacht Club RIB involved in the accident
An Associated Press image

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


USCG Kopytko kill switch PSA

USCG Kopytko kill switch PSA



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

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

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

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

Get Connected hand image

Get Connected hand image


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Fell Marine will be showing MOB+, their wireless kill switch at the Miami International Boat Show this week per their 8 February 2017 press release. They will be in the Fugawi Software booth and have two center console boats on the water in Mag Bay Yachts slips.

MOB+ image from Fell Marine web site

MOB+ image from Fell Marine web site

MOB is a popular nautical abbreviation for Man OverBoard.

Fell Marine has partnered with Mag Bay Yachts of Adelanto to install MOB+ on all their future boats.

Fell Marine is a subsidiary of a Norwegian firm, Fell Group AS.

Fell Marine’s MOB+ literature repeatedly touts its electronics do not interfere with existing systems on your boat or other wireless systems.

They say their product brings style, design, and comfort to this market, and their system can be restarted by those remaining on board just 6 seconds after someone has been ejected. Read More→

0 Categories : New Products

Over the years we have seen many boat propeller warnings that were not as effective as they should have been for all kinds of reasons. Over the last 40 plus years I have looked at thousands of warnings on many kinds of equipment and none of them have ever made me sick.

All that changed Friday 3 February 2017 when we walked the Tulsa Boat Show and my eyes encountered the warning below.

Super Air Nautique GS aft facing seat warning

Super Air Nautique GS aft facing seat warning – closeup port seat

Just attempting to read the warning while the boat was sitting on the trailer made me nauseous. I called Lora over to try to read it, she looked at it and turned toward me with a very perplexed look on her face. Read More→

A brief review of the major propeller safety events in 2016 including safety meetings, accidents, legal cases, deaths of those involved in the movement, statistics, patents, articles published, public service announcements, anniversaries, regulations, and other related events. Read More→

Categories : Year in Review

Its been about two years since we updated the List of Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents, many of which result from bow riding / bowriding.

The recent cluster of pontoon boat propeller accidents, 6 media reported accidents in 8 days in late July and early August, followed by the Kaden Frederick fatality, the chaos at Ocean City Maryland following several accidents there, combined with our earlier efforts at trying to prevent these accidents, and a possibility to get some attention focused on this issue caused us to update the list.

The new version is two pages long, includes 198 incidents, some of which included multiple propeller strikes.

Pontoon Boat anchor on shore

Pontoon Boat anchored on shore

We tried to limit the list to only over the bow prop accidents on pontoon boats. There are numerous other ways to get struck by the propeller of a pontoon boat, but this is the leading cause, and the cause that most often involves children. Read More→

A flurry of boat boat propeller accidents in Ocean City, Maryland has many talking about the recent cluster of accidents.

As we scanned the news this morning (24 August 2016) our eyes were drawn to a DelmarvaNow headline, “In Ocean City, Propeller Accidents Chop Up Vacations”. DelmarvaNow is part of the USAToday media network. DelmarvaNow is named for a large peninsula that includes most of Delaware and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

Original DelmarvaNow headline

Original DelmarvaNow headline

Boating communities, like Ocean City, have long been known for minimal coverage of boating accidents because such coverage can drive boaters and tourists away (AND ADVERTISERS with connections to those activities which is most of them in a resort community).

Our observations, some of which have been documented, are the U.S. media fails to cover many fatal boating accidents, only locally covers those they do, and uses much tamer (less shocking) headlines and photos than the rest of the world. Read More→

Back in November 2011 we covered Mercury Marine’s Moving Propeller Alert. It displays LED lights to swimmers behind the vessel when the engine is running. Those same LED lights blink in a rotational pattern when the engine is on and the propeller is rotating. The propeller safety device was originally limited to boats with Mercury’s SmartCraft CANBUS network.

Mercury Marine MP Alert oval bezel

Mercury Marine MP Alert oval bezel

Mercury Marine has since updated their Moving Propeller Alert (MP Alert). MP Alert is now available in a smaller size for mounting where space is limited and for use on non-SmartCraft boats and with non-Mercury outboard motors. The system can run up to four individual rotating lights that can be a mix of the larger and smaller ones if desired.

As to use on non-Mercury systems, as we understand it, a switch in the dash allow the operator to turn the system off and on when swimmers are in the water. The two page flyer does not specifically say the lights automatically rotate when the engine is running and shifted into gear on non-Mercury outboards. They may be asking the operator to switch it on at those times when swimmers are in the water.

The LED lights are automatically dimmed at night so they will not be confused with navigational lights.

Mercury issued a colorful 2 page pdf sheet describing the updated MP Alert propeller safety system.


0 Categories : New Products

Marion Irving de Cruz with photo of her son Emilio

Marion Irving de Cruz
with photo of her son Emilio
cropped from USCG award ceremony photo

Marion Irving de Cruz lost a long battle with medical issues and passed from this life at her California home on Wednesday afternoon May 18, 2016.

Know by many as a long time advocate for boat propeller safety, founder of SPIN (Stop Propeller Injuries Now, and by the boating industry as “one of those crazy ladies that kept turning up at Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) meetings”.

Marion was perhaps best described recently by one of her longtime friends often in the saddle for SPIN as “the wind beneath our wings.” Marion enlisted and encouraged thousands of people in her efforts calling for boat propeller safety.

She was preceded in death by her son Emilo in 1993. A college engineering junior preparing to take the steps many take at that age in their life. Instead of taking those steps he was instead suddenly struck down and killed by a houseboat propeller. Marion quickly began learning about other houseboat propeller accidents, about propeller guards, and how they could prevent many houseboat propeller accidents.

She teamed with other families of survivors and victims to spread the work and to encourage the industry to use propeller guards.

Known by many as Emilo’s mom, she signed thousands of documents with that signature. Read More→

4 Categories : Memorials