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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Cioban-Leontiy v. Silverthorn – houseboat case: part 1

The Accident

About 12 people took a 4 night houseboat rental Lake Shasta (California) in the summer of 2015. The 56 foot 2001 Waterway Houseboat (Canadian manufacturer) Mirage was powered by a Volvo Penta stern drive.

Note – this is Part 1 of this post, Part 2 is our commentary on events on this page.

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

The houseboat was rented from Silverthorn Resort.

The very basics of the event on the afternoon of 30 May 2015 were:

  1. The rental houseboat was being operated from the upper deck
  2. A lady’s hat blew off
  3. Olga Cioban was on top the roof above the second desk and became aware the other lady’s hat blew off
  4. Olga Cioban went down the ladder to the lower deck and jumped in from the swim platform to retrieve the hat
  5. Meanwhile, apparently unaware someone had jumped in at the stern, the boat operator shifted the boat to reverse from the upper deck OR the boat was already moving slowly in reverse.
  6. Olga Cioban reported being pulled into the propeller
  7. Olga Cioban received severe cuts to her feet and legs
  8. Olga Cioban was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Redding, California

Since the accident, Olga Cioban married the person operating the boat at that time, Mr. Leonity, and is now referred to in some court documents as Olga Cioban-Leontiy. Read More →

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Cioban v. Silverthorn: part 2: Our Comments

We previously covered the status of Cioban-Leontiy v. Silverthorn Resorts & Volvo Penta rental houseboat propeller injury case in PART 1.

As of 13 May 2019, negligence as described in part 2 of Plaintiff’s Second Amended Claim is the issue remaining in this case. Thus rental boat training, warnings, rental agreements, deficit safety features, rental checkout procedures, how many people went through the training session, and stressing the importance of maintaining a lookout are among the issues remaining to be argued by both sides.

This post covers our thoughts as we viewed the documents and status of the case on PACER along with some media reports of the accident. Our thoughts are mostly about how the history and documents surrounding previous rental houseboat propeller injury issues and cases relate to this case. Read More →

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Circle of Death Video: ReelJedi

YouTube fishing channel, ReelJedi, was filming on Lake Seminole (Georgia / Florida border) when a nearby boater running at speed in a Bass Tracker boat was ejected. The Bass Tracker powered by a Mercury Marine outboard motor went into the Circle of Death, then ReelJedi and his father rescued him.

ReelJedi speculates the boat hit a stump just below the surface causing the man to be ejected.

After the ejected man was safety on board and they escaped the dangerous area near the unmanned circling boat and called 911 for help. Authorities eventually said they were 30 to 40 minutes away. The boat continued to circle with a full tank of gas. The boat was gradually blowing toward a boat dock. If the boat were to strike the boat dock at speed, the boat would likely be severely damaged. They came up with a plan to throw a rope into the path of the propeller.

Eventually the Bass Tracker boat hung up near shore in shallow water, and the owner was able to board the boat and shut it off.

Read More →

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Ryan’s Law & Federal Preemption- part 1

Ryan’s Law, is a proposed law in the State of New York requiring propeller guards on vessels used to instruct children under the age of 18.

In October 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council met and basically said Ryan’s Law is preempted by federal regulations and will be struck down.

The phrase “Federal Preemption” sometimes spelled “Federal Pre-emption” is probably best known in the boating industry as defense used by the industry against propeller guard cases prior to the Sprietsma decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002.

As we understand it, NBSAC is in error, federal preemption does not apply to Ryan’s Law.

This two part post will explain the history, background, and recent events surrounding this issue. Read More →

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Ryan’s Law & Federal Preemption- part 2

This post is a continuation of Part 1 of our post on federal preemption of Ryan’s Law, a law requiring propeller guards on vessels involved in instructing children under 18 years old.

click to view PDF document

NBSAC 100 Minutes
Ryan’s Law preemption excerpts

Our previous post cited several instances in the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Council (NBSAC) 100th meeting (NBSAC100) minutes in which NBSAC said Ryan’s Law is not valid due federal preemption. Federal preemption was also further described in part 1.

In part 1 we reviewed the excepts from NBSAC100 minutes in the PDF document at right.

This post will refute NBSAC’s statements that Ryan’s Law is not valid due to federal preemption.

Please note I am not a lawyer AND not a government regulator. However, the document cited will be authoritative, and crystal clear in its statements on this issue. Read More →

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Mandatory installation of kill switches

The Frank LomBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 was signed by President Trump back on 4 December 2018 per Issue 92/Spring 2019 of the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Circular.

The bill appropriates money for Coast Guard expenses in Fiscal Year 2019, as well as includes a few specific regulations.

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

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

The new act will modify US Code by changing 46 USC 43 to require manufacturers, distributors, or dealers of certain specific recreational boats to equip them with a kill switch (which they call an engine cut-off switch)
Read More →

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USCG Cutter Terrell Horne named for propeller victim

Terrell Horne

Executive Petty Officer Terrell Horne
boarding the Halibut after water survival training
USCG photo

Terrell E. Horne III, age 34 in December 2012, was aboard a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Halibut trying to interdict a 30 foot fishing boat off souther California when the fishing boat rammed them, he fell in, and was killed by a propeller. We covered the accident back then with Terrell Horne USCG Killed by Boat Propeller While Interdicting Smugglers.

USCG named the 31st fast response cutter, a 154 footer after him, the Terrell Horne (WPC-1131) per the 20 March 2019 Modesto Bee and other references. A film of the cutter arriving at Los Angeles – Long Beach Coast Guard Base in San Pedro January 2019 is below. Read More →

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Ott Defoe, Mercury, & Nitro win Bassmaster Classic 2019

Congratulations to Ott Defoe on his great Bassmaster Classic win Sunday 17 March 2019.

We screen captured the image of him and his family below as they began the parade around the arena from Bassmaster’s live coverage.

Ott Defoe & family in 2019 Bassmaster Classic after his win

Ott Defoe & family in 2019 Bassmaster Classic after his win
Bassmaster image

Congratulations to Nitro to putting their boat in the winners circle and to Mercury Marine for powering this year’s winner.

Ott Defoe in Nitro livewell for his final bag in 2019 Bassmaster Classic, Knoxville Tennessee

Ott Defoe in Nitro livewell for his final bag of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, Knoxville Tennessee
Bassmaster image

Thanks to all who participated in this great event, anglers, friends, family, fans, and the city of Knoxville Tennessee for providing great facilities and for turning out in record numbers (we heard 153,000 over the weekend).

Mock race between outboard motor manufacturers. Mercury posted on Instagram from the Knoxville Tennessee 2019 Bassmaster Classic

Mock race between outboard motor manufacturers. Mercury posted on Instagram from the Knoxville Tennessee 2019 Bassmaster Classic

We clipped the great photo below from The Leash’s Facebook feed.

Ott Defoe & family clip from The Leash's Facebook feed as he won the 2019 Bassmaster Classic.

Ott Defoe & family clip from The Leash’s Facebook feed as he won the 2019 Bassmaster Classic.

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Log strike impact mapping / charting invention

Our Log strike impact mapping / charting invention disclosure below was posted on 2 March 2019. We will make no changes to the text below the line following this paragraph except to correct misspellings, punctuation, and to update html/computer codes and links. Any updates to the invention will be posted below the invention disclosure.

Log Strike Impact Mapping /Charting Invention


Log Strike – use of the phrase “log strike” in this invention refers to a marine drive (outboard motor, stern drive, inboard, though hull drive / pod drive, of other marine drive) striking anything while going in a forward direction. Objects struck could include logs, rocks, driftwood, dredge pipes, reefs, concrete, floating debris, submerged objects, stumps, etc. Japanese marine drive manufacturers tend to refer to these impacts as driftwood strikes.

Quick Description of This Invention

This invention proposes using technologies similar to those already patented by Suzuki and Brunswick to record log strikes, share that data anonymously, then create crowd sourced maps/ charts of the aggregated impacts. These crowd sourced maps could be printed paper maps as well as displayed on onboard navigational displays or other electronic devices. Read More →

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Mercury patents log strike monitoring system

Brunswick / Mercury Marine was issued U.S. Patent 10,214,271 Systems and Methods for Monitoring Underwater Impacts to Marine Propulsion Devices on 26 February 2019. Steven J. Gonring and Mark D. Curtis are listed as the inventors.

The patent teaches detecting rate of trim (rate of tilt) to determine an impact occurred. If the drive is tilting more rapidly than normal, it may have struck something. Brunswick talks about alerting the operator, turning the drive off during severe impacts, estimating the force of impact from changes in the rate of trim, storing the resulting data, and evaluating the remaining useful life of the drive or signaling the outboard should be serviced. This system is designed to report impacts above a given level. It does not address impacts that break the outboard off the boat, except to suggest that several impacts above a given level could make an outboard more likely to fail in future impacts.

Near the bottom of this post we identify a Suzuki patent in Japan that may create some prior art issues for Brunswick’s / Mercury Marine’s recent patent.

Brunswick log strike monitoring patent - cover page

Brunswick log strike monitoring patent – cover page

Read More →

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