Propeller Guard Information Center Position Statement
on Mandating Use of Propeller Guards on New Boats
We have been asked for our position on mandating the use of propeller guards on some or all boats. Inspired by a statement by the Institute for Injury Reduction in their 6 July 1995 public comment letter to the U.S. Coast Guard, “IIR urges the Coast Guard to mandate the use of propeller guards and/or other alternative technologies on all recreational vessels to prevent propeller lacerations.”, we penned the position statement below.
Propeller Guard Information Center
Position Statement on Propeller Guards:
Boat manufacturers should be working in conjunction with marine drive manufacturers, boat dealers, boat retailers, boat rental and livery operations, and manufacturers of propeller injury avoidance devices to provide new boats with the appropriate combination of propulsion systems, propeller injury avoidance devices, propeller guards, boat design features, warnings, and additional safety measures as needed to minimize propeller injuries and their severity. We also believe the same group, in conjunction with USCG and state boating safety offices, needs to make sure those operating new boats receive appropriate training in boating safety.
In our opinion, the boating industry is not currently shouldering that responsibility. Therefore, we encourage the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to establish basic, sensible, realistic, mandatory, performance based regulations requiring the appropriate combination of propulsion systems, propeller injury avoidance devices, propeller guards, boat design features, warnings, training, and additional safety measures needed to minimize propeller injuries and their severity for all new propeller driven recreational boats. We also encourage USCG to continue to produce and distribute propeller safety awareness Public Service Announcements of the nature of “Don’t Wreck Your Summer” to remind new and existing boaters of the safety hazards of open propellers.
Additionally, similar regulations, including performance requirements, should be established for all new and EXISTING propeller driven rental/livery, taxi, party, charter fishing, tour, charter snorkeling, charter diving, open swimming coaching, racing support boats, youth sailing coach and chase boats, and excursion boats, based on boat type, length, use, and a risk assessment.