Archive for Yamaha

Timothy Clippard

Timothy Clippard

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

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

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

The complaint alleged:

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

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

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

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

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

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

0 Categories : Legal Shorts

Ernesto Hernandez Struck by Boat Propeller

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez, 23 of Hialeah, was among several who came to help push a large boat off a sandbar near Key Biscayne Florida on Sunday afternoon 4 May 2014. During the process, somehow he ended up behind the stern of the boat powered by four 350 horsepower Yamaha outboard motors. His torso was caught in a propeller, causing very serious injuries.

DJ Laz, stage name for Lazaro Mendez, a well known Miami Florida radio personality, was boating in Bill Baggs State Park, off Nixon Beach in Key Biscayne Florida. The area is known as No Name Harbor. He was operating his 42 foot HydraSports boat, “Off the Air”. His boat is used for sports fishing and to promote Voli Spirits / Voli Vodka. Read More→

Our review of unsafe boating ads, commercials, and websites found a startling number of Yamaha and Yamaha Outboard Distributor websites and publications portraying unsafe boating practices and behaviors, especially outside the United States.

While some think we should not intervene outside our borders, in today’s society there are no borders. The same ads and materials presented around the world are viewable worldwide via the Internet.

Before someone gets after us saying it is not illegal to participate in many of the actions or behaviors portrayed in these ads in much of the U.S., or in much of the rest of the world. We are not talking about legalities, we are talking about it being inappropriate for boat and marine drive manufacturers to be encouraging such practices and behaviors.

Some of the Yamaha ads and web site images we found are reproduced below. We welcome comments from Yamaha explaining how these practices are really not unsafe or how they plan to prevent such ads from appearing in the future. Read More→

Nicholas Milligan

Nicholas Milligan

Nicholas Milligan’s family was on holiday in Padstow in North Cornwall UK on Sunday May 5, 2013. About 3:40 pm all the family members were ejected from Nicholas’ speedboat. The out of control boat / RIB began spinning in the Circle of Death.

Milligan Charitable Bike Ride logoUPDATES – Victoria Milligan is raising funds for RNLI in the Milligan Charitable Bike Ride, 20-22 June 2014.

We posted preliminary coverage of the MAIB report released 30 January 2014 at MAIB report is in on the Milligan accident.

One observer said that as the boat circled, it appeared to make contact with the group of people in the water three or four times as the boat circled for 10 to 15 minutes. He reported screaming and seagulls coming into the water (sea gulls may have been looking for food in the blood).

Two family members were killed outright:

  • Nicholas Milligan, father age 51 – died at scene
  • Emily, daughter age 8 – died at the scene

All four other family members were injured:

  • Victoria, mother age 39 – suffered life changing leg injuries
  • Kit, son age 4 – suffered life changing leg injuries
  • Amber, daugher age 12 – minor injuries
  • Olivia, daughter age 10 – minor injuries

The injured were life flighted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.


Updates 7 June 2013

A 24 May BBC article says an inquest has been opened and the Truro Coroner’s Court has adjourned the case for further investigation. The same article says Emily Milligan was officially identified by the use of DNA (a sign she may have been struck repeatedly by the propeller) and that the bodies have now been released.

Updates 18 May 2013

Doctors saved the young boy Kit’s leg, but Victoria’s (the mother) left leg has been amputated below the knee. Both mother and son have been moved to a London hospital where they both need more surgery per The Sun.

Accident investigators confirmed on Thursday 16 May, the kill cord was not attached to the boat operator at the time of the accident, but have still not publicly identified the operator.

On 17 May MAIB issued a kill cord Safety Bulletin in the wake of this accident.

Heddon Johnson lost his son in a kill cord preventable accident at UK boat show in 2000. In the wake of the Milligan accident, Johnson is calling for a mandatory kill cord use law and has established a petition at (search for kill cord).


Nicholas Milligan's Boat / RIB

Nicholas Milligan’s Boat / RIB

MailOnline reported on May 6 that the mother and four year old son may still have to have their legs amputated from the accident.

The Milligan family came from London to holiday in Cornwall for the Bank Holiday. Nicholas Milligan’s boat was a Cobra RIB named Milly / Millie with a large Yamaha outboard motor. Read More→

A family of six on holiday in Padstow UK was boating about half a mile from Padstow Harbor about 3:40 pm Sunday May 5, 2013. All six people on board were ejected and the out of control speedboat began spinning in the Circle of Death. Two family members were killed outright (the 51 year old father and his 8 year old daughter), the other four were injured (31 year old mother, 10 and 12 year old girls, and their 4 year old son). A separate report said two boys ages 4 and 13 were also among the wounded. Officials are obviously still sorting things out.


Nicholas Milligan Boat Propeller Accident at Padstow UK: Two Dead 5 May 2013

The family came from London to holiday in Cornwall for the Bank Holiday and were in their own boat, a Cobra RIB named Millie powered by a large Yamaha outboard motor.

The four non-fatally injured family members suffered some life threatening as well as some life changing injuries per officials (sounds like some amputations may be involved). They were taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Reports said the children and the mother all had leg injuries of varying severity. Read More→

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

In March 2012 Yamaha announced a new stainless steel propeller guard for outboards on flood rescue boats in the UK and made several statements about how great it was, how well it performed, and even how prop guards were necessary when people were in the water near the boat. About October we became aware of Yamaha’s new propeller guard. In mid October we began posting some materials about it and some of Yamaha’s own statements about their guard.

The boating industry has long defended itself in propeller injury court cases by claiming propeller guards don’t work. Among their objections, the industry claims guards create too much drag, reduce performance (top speed), effect the handling of the boat, are not durable enough, get bent into the propeller, and they create blunt trauma injuries when they strike people.

But Yamaha was making the exact opposite statements about their propeller guard. Yamaha said their guard worked great, minimized drag and performance reduction, improved handling, was strong and durable for use in shallow water, and guards were essential for operating rescue boats near people in the water.

Our mid October 2012 posts echoed several of Yamaha’s own comments.

By early November 2012, everything Yamaha ever said about the propeller guard AND all records of the guard’s existence vanished from their website. We made many attempts to contact Yamaha about why they pulled all of their materials about the propeller guard, but they will not respond. That leaves us to suspect Yamaha erased their statements to protect the boating industry’s long standing legal defense, “Guards don’t work”.

Among the many specific statements made and deleted by Yamaha about their propeller guard were:

  • “a new design of propeller guard, shaped to give greatest strength, with minimum water-flow disturbance to the propeller giving maximum performance when required.”
  • “For shallow and unpredictable conditions, a Plastic Prop Guard or stainless steel Deflector Guard will assist in limiting the chance of foreign objects fouling the propeller. In addition, these guards aid control of water flow from the propeller and can increase thrust at low RPM.”
  • Yamaha propeller guards, tailored to fit individual engines, are also specifically designed to have minimal impact on performance.”
  • “When operating in a flooded environment there is also the possibility of casualties in the water, which means a propeller guard is essential to reduce the risk of injury.”
  • “When operating in flooded environments the liklihood of swimmers/diver/casualties being in the water means that a prop. guard is essential.”

We dare the boating industry trade press to cover this important story. Don’t let the industry banish this life saving propeller guard just to protect themselves in court.

We need some help. We call upon:

  • The press to cover this story, especially the boating press.
  • Boating safety organizations and the United States Coast Guard to take action to prevent Yamaha from further suppressing this technology.
  • The legal and judicial system to prevent Yamaha from destroying test data from which they claim this was the best propeller guard they ever tested.
  • The boating industry itself to do what is best for the safety of their customers and put some peer pressure on Yamaha to do the right thing.
  • Our fellow propeller safety advocates to help get the word out.

Below we provide details of the events surrounding Yamaha’s deletion of these materials. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

Yamaha UK Pro Outboard

Yamaha UK Pro Outboard with Yamaha propeller guard

Yamaha erased everything ever written about their Yamaha UK Pro Flood Rescue Outboard stainless steel propeller guards from their website. We first noticed it was all gone on November 8, 2012.

Last month (October 2012) we wrote three stories on Yamaha’s new stainless steel propeller guard for their rescue outboards:

In those posts, Yamaha themselves said their new stainless steel propeller guard:

  • Is essential when operating in flooded environments because of the likelihood of swimmers being in the water
  • Provides the needed strength
  • Causes minimal drag allowing the outboard to give maximum performance when needed
  • Assists in keeping foreign objects from fouling the propeller
  • Makes the boat more maneuverable by better directing the flow
  • Can increase thrust at low rpm

Its interesting that the boating industry rejects using propeller guards on recreational boats for the same reasons Yamaha uses this one on their flood rescue outboards. The boating industry often says propeller guards are dangerous to people in the water, are not strong enough, foul in debris, create handling/maneuvering problems, and increase drag (and fuel consumption). Somehow either (1) Yamaha’s new guard is the first guard to ever solve those problems, or (2) the Yamaha rescue outboard application is magically different than the same outboard on a recreational boat, or (3) the rest of the industry and Yamaha disagree on the performance of this guard, or (4) propeller guards have really worked all along. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

A March 28, 2012 Yamaha Motor UK press release from their new Pro division showcases recent deliveries of flood rescue boats to Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue. Yamaha’s new Pro division specializes in products for professional users, emergency crews, and the military. (As noted at the end of this post, Yamaha has since removed all online references to the existence of this propeller guard. The press release referred to above was at (previously at remove the X’s).

Lincolnshire Rescue Boats

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue’s New Boats

Lincolnshire’s new rescue boats are powered by 25 horsepower two-stroke Yamaha outboards. They utilize Yamaha Motor UK’s new flood rescue package. Along with several other rescue boat amenities, the package includes a propeller guard. The propeller guards are the new stainless steel propeller guards from Propeller Solutions we recently wrote about.

Unlike the earlier Yamaha UK Pro announcement in which the propeller guards were credited with increased performance, improved handling, and protecting the propeller, this time Yamaha Motor UK’s own press release clearly states the guards are used to protect people in the water: Read More→

0 Categories : Propeller Safety News

A 21 May, 2012 Yamaha UK press release titled “Professional and Commercial Users Now Powered by Yamaha in the UK” includes Yamaha’s small outboards for swift water applications. Among the small outboard’s accessories are “a new design of propeller guard, shaped to give greatest strength, with minimum water-flow disturbance to the propeller giving maximum performance when required.”

“For shallow and unpredictable conditions, a Plastic Prop Guard or stainless steel Deflector Guard will assist in limiting the chance of foreign objects fouling the propeller. In addition, these guards aid control of water flow from the propeller and can increase thrust at low RPM.”

The accompanying Yamaha Pro UK literature (partially copied below) notes propeller guards are now available for all Yamaha outboard models. Read More→

2 Categories : New Products

On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005, two teenage girls from Cooper City (Samantha Archer,15, and Jaysell Perez, 14) borrowed a 2001 Yamaha WaveRunner X800 PWC from a family friend at his waterfront home. They took it out on the intracoastal waterway at West Palm Beach, Florida near Currie Park. While in process of turning around and heading back to shore, Archer let off the throttle and attempted to steer away from hitting a 31 foot high performance boat.

When Samantha Archer backed off the throttle, the Yamaha WaveRunner lost steering and they collided with the boat. Both girls were struck by the boat’s twin propellers. Jaysell Perez was killed and Samantha Archer was horribly injured.

The accident resulted in:
Daniel Perez vs. Yamaha Motor Corporation USA. Case # 2006CA005301. 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, Florida. Read More→

0 Categories : Legal Shorts