Yamaha Possible Coverup of Propeller Guard Documents Exposed

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: Read More →

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Research Projects for Senior Design Classes, Masters Thesis Projects, Industrial Design & Other Researchers

Most college students in engineering and design take one or more design project classes, often a Senior Capstone Design Projects Class, in which they work individually or as teams to develop solutions to problems. We are trying to tap this resource and encourage students to consider selecting design projects related to propeller safety. More student design projects would help grow the body of knowledge available to the industry and to boaters. In addition to engineering and design students, we also welcome those from all fields and encourage them to consider projects in this area for their capstone classes. If you or others are interested in a college design class project or capstone project in propeller safety, propeller injury avoidance devices, or related fields, please view the projects listed below and contact us for additional assistance.

Propeller Guard

Propeller Guard

A few Masters and Doctoral students have written thesis and dissertations in this field. We strongly encourage Masters and Doctoral students looking for thesis and dissertation topics to contact us and discuss some of the possibilities available in their specific field of interest, as well as those looking for topics for scientific and technical papers.

We list of several possible boating propeller safety research projects below and will be posting more over time. Read More →

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Our 501st post

Propeller Safety - PGIC Facebook icon


Thought we would take a moment to recognize this is our 501st post since we converted our site to a blog format back on 20 June 2011. Number 500 was published yesterday. Today is 11 July 2020. Over that same time we have had well over half a million visits.

While 500 posts is a real marker, we note our site also boasts an additional 91 Pages, each one another separate post by itself. The Pages can primarily be reached by the upper top menu bar. They are generally topics that remain current, while at least some of the posts may be more fleeting in interest level.

500 posts is a significant milestone. If you add this post, plus the 500 posts, plus the 91 Pages, that makes a total of 592 articles on this site. We hope our viewers find at least some of our propeller safety coverage helpful.

SPIN logo


Thinking back over the years, we would be remiss if we did not mention the hundreds of people all over the world who helped us along the way by providing information and encouragement. While we don’t have time or space to thank them all, I especially thank my wife who has assisted in many ways. Plus a special thanks to Marion Irving deCruz formerly at Stop Propeller Injuries Now (SPIN) now looking over us and many others from above.

We look forward to continue publishing articles related to boat propeller safety.

We welcome your comments below.

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Mercury Marine 1st Mate virtual lanyard

Mercury Marine launched the 1st mate, the marine industry’s first engine integrated man overboard and proximity based theft deterrent system in Dusseldorf in late 2019. They announced that launch in the U.S. on January 20, 2020.

Wearable wristband fobs (think Fell Marine, Mercury’s wireless technology partner), are worn by the operator (operator always gets the red one) and up to 7 passengers (other colors).

Mercury Marine 1st Mate system

Mercury Marine 1st Mate wireless lanyard system

Quotes below come from Mercury Marine’s 20 January 2020 press release: Read More →

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Cioban v. Silverthorn: houseboat propeller case decided

A hat blew off woman on the upper deck of a rental houseboat on Shasta Lake in California back on May 30, 2015. Olga Cioban walked down to the first deck, heard an engine running she thought was the generator, jumped from the stern to retrieve the hat, and was struck by the houseboat propeller.

Later she married the boat operator and became Olga Cioban-Liontiy.

She sued Yamaha (drive manufacturer), Twin Anchor (houseboat builder) later determined to be Waterway Houseboat Builders, and Silverthorn (houseboat rental marina).

Olga Cioban-Leontiy
Silverthorn Resort Associates LP, Waterway Houseboat Builders, Volvo Penta of the Americas LLC
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
Sacramento Division
Case # 2:17-CV-01626-MCE-CMK

Silverthorn houseboat in Cioban case. photo from Defense Expert Captain Timmel's Rebuttal report

Silverthorn houseboat in Cioban case.
photo from Defense Expert Captain Timmel’s Rebuttal report

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USCG releases Recreational Boating Statistics 2019

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2019

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2019

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2018[/caption]U.S. Coast Guard released their annual 2019 recreational boating accident statistics report on 9 June 2020.

Total number of accidents and injuries were up for 2019, and deaths were down about 3 percent compared to 2018 data.

2019 USCG BARD reported accident statistics were 4,168 accidents 2,559 injuries, and 613 deaths.

2018 USCG BARD reported accident statistics were 4,145 accidents, 2,511 injuries, and 633 deaths.

2019 USCG BARD reported 171 propeller accidents, 155 injuries, and 35 fatalities.

For 2018 USCG reported 177 propeller accidents, 177 injuries, and 25 fatalities.

Propeller fatalities were noticeably up in 2019 (up from 25 to 35) Read More →

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Sharrow Propeller wins Innovation Award

Sharrow Propeller image courtesy BoatTest

Sharrow Propeller

The new Sharrow Propeller won the Innovation Award for Propulsion Equipment & Parts at the 2020 Miami International Boat Show February 14, 2020.

7 Boating Writers International (BWI) members served as the Innovation Award judges committee.

NMMA reported Ed Sherman, one of the judges, said of the Sharrow MX1 propeller “This is a breakthrough prop design that promises lower vibration, increased efficiency and could truly change the industry.”

A Sharrow Propeller press release on Business Wire said they received the award “due to its revolutionary new design and the performance and fuel efficiency gains it is bringing to the market.”

The press release stated, “Receiving this award is such a huge honor,” said Greg Sharrow, founder and CEO of Sharrow Marine. “As we’ve gone through the R&D and testing process, we felt we had created something really revolutionary for the industry, but being recognized this way so early in the product’s life cycle is such a huge honor.”

The propeller is currently available in aluminum and stainless steel versions for most outboards and stern drives from 100-450 horsepower.

We previously covered the testing of the Sharrow Propeller by BoatTest.

While the Sharrow Propeller appears to be a revolutionary design with amazing potential, it has yet to be designed for manufacture at a competitive cost. With propellers costing a few to several thousand dollars it is definitely not a mainstream product at this time.

We congratulate Sharrow and commend them for bringing this product to market. We hope that Sharrow in conjunction with the boating industry and others can develop more economical ways of bringing as many of these advantages as possible to a broader audience.

We also invite Sharrow to visit with us if they are interested in discussing propeller safety related topics that might be applicable to their product.

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Brunswick wireless lanyard patent application

Attwood Marine Products universal (7 key) boat lanyard / kill cord

Attwood Marine Products conventional lanyard

Brunswick’s wireless lanyard patent application was published 30 January 2020 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Brunswick’s wireless lanyard is made possible by the combination CANbus systems now used by boats and marine drives in conjunction with data available from the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and today’s digital controls (like digital shift/throttles).

Brunswick’s patent application describes a wireless lanyard that operates automatically. It does not require being turned off or on. The system checks to see if the operator is within a certain range (like within so many feet) of the helm depending on conditions such as is the boat in gear or out of gear, how fast is the boat going, etc. The operator is allowed to range further when the boat is out of gear or moving slowly than when underway at speed. Read More →

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Propeller Safety Year in Review 2019

A brief review of the major propeller safety events in 2019 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.

A listing of some significant propeller safety events in 2019 follows:

January 2019 – Ryan’s Law filed in State of New York requiring propeller guards on boats used for instructing youth. Read More →

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Judge rejects Jones Act defense in Duck Boat Case

For decades the boating industry has been raising what we call the Jones Act Defense against plaintiffs on large lakes and waterways, especially those through which one could theoretically pass to another state.

Back in 1851 the U.S. Government adopted the “1851 Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act” to encourage shipping by limiting the potential liability of a merchant vessel to the value of the ship plus its contents. Thus if the merchant vessel was involved in some sort of collision, a large multi vessel fire, knock down a bridge resulting in multiple fatalities (like happened here in Oklahoma a few years back), strike a public walkway (like the Riverwalk in New Orleans several years ago), or other catastrophe on a navigable waterway its owners could only be sued for the value of the vessel plus its contents. Many states add qualifiers that the vessel must not have been operated in a negligent manner to receive such protection.

The 1851 Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act also protected ship owners in the event their vessel sunk or caused some other vessel to sink in an important shallow channel and required great expense to remove it so shipping could proceed.

The definition of navigable waterways is open to interpretation, but generally understood to be waterways carrying cargo/commerce/passengers from one state to another.

Back on July 9, 2018 a DUCK boat tour boat sunk in rough water and winds on Table Rock Lake near Branson Missouri claiming 17 lives.

DUCK boat being raised Branson Missouri image courtesy 4029TV

DUCK boat being raised Branson Missouri image courtesy 4029TV

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Arm Chopped Off by boat propeller: Carter Viss

Thanksgiving (Thursday 28 November 2019) Carter Viss 25 year old marine biologist from Palm Beach, Florida was snorkeling with some friends with a dive flag off Palm Beach. A 2008, 36 foot Yellowfin high performance boat operated by 30 year-old Daniel Stanton was coming into the area about 200 feet off shore. Stanton saw the dive flag and throttled down the engines. When Viss was pulled from the water he had suffered multiple serious injuries and was short an arm. His right arm had been amputated by the boat propeller. According to a lady on site described it as “a very catastrophic scene.”

Carter Viss accident  Daily Mail image

Carter Viss boat propeller accident
Daily Mail image

Later, Carter Viss’ arm was spotted in the water, the Coast Guard retrieved the arm but it was too late.

Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and others now focus on trying to keep infection out of his wounds.

Yellowfin 36

Yellowfin 36
image captured from client video link supplied to Yellowfin website

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Dennehey: Another Catamaran propeller accident

Shane Dennehy was on a college spring break trip organized by StudentCity in the Dominican Republic on March 2019 at Punta Canna.

Student City organized a “booze cruise” on a catamaran named “Escandaloso”

Shane Dennehy is now (November 2019) a junior at State University of New York in Binghamton, New York.

Shane and his parents have sued StudentCity for $25 million dollars following his 20 March 2019 propeller accident.

They allege the Escanaloso was not on the list of previously vetted and approved vessels and no StudentCity employees were onboard.

When the boat was close to shore Shane went down a slide from the second deck. He entered the water between the two engines. He grabbed the edge of one of the motors to steady himself moments before the captain started the engines.

He became entrapped on the propeller. They had to remove the boat propeller to free him.

Catamaran with slide

Note we have NO reason to believe this is the particular boat
it just an example of similar vessels in the area

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