PropellerSafety.com

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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Coast Guard to require use of kill switch lanyards on Federal waters

U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe huge bill Congress passed at the end of 2020 included the provision that operators of boats 26 feet and under attach their lanyard kill switch or use their wireless lanyard if either is available on their vessel on Federal waters.

Cabin boats and vessels with less than 115 pounds of thrust are exempted from the regulation.

The bill was part of the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020 that was rolled into the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). The House and Senate voted December 28, 2020 and 1 January 2021 respectively) to overturn the 23 December 2020 Veto of President Trump. President Trump had wanted the bill to include the elimination of protections for social media platforms and increase the $600 stimulus payments in the bill to $2,000.

The actual law was written as an addition to the law passed in December 2018 requiring installation of kill switches on new boats of 26 feet and under.

The new mandatory wear law as passed is below: Read More →

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Updated list of over the bow Pontoon Boat propeller accidents 2021

Its been over 3 years since we updated the List of Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents, many of which result from bow riding / bowriding.

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 →

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Safety is our number one priority????

We have all seen and heard countless businesses tell us one or more of the phrases below:

  • Safety is our number one priority
  • Safety is our #1 priority
  • Your safety is our top priority
  • Safety is our top priority
  • Customer safety is our priority
  • Safety is our highest priority
  • Safety First


Safety is not always first

Many of us have priorities in our employment and family life. Those priorities frequently change. The same goes for corporate priorities. Company’s need to be profitable. Stockholders want to make money, not to be product safety philanthropists. No companies exist purely to be safe. Read More →

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Boat Builder / Boatbuilder Product Safety Program

The Beginnings of a Product Safety Program for Boat Builders / Boatbuilders

Boat builders range in size from very small to very large operations with multiple well known brands. Consolidation of the industry, explosive growth in certain segments, legacy products, international sales, industry and government regulations, product liability issues, new on water activities, increasing participation by certain ethnic groups, increasing participation by women, new boat builders entering the market, and the current COVID-19 virus issues are just a few of the reasons for boat builders to make sure they have a solid product safety program in place.

This is not professional advice. Content below is provided to stimulate thoughts and conversations among boat builders of how they can best address these changing times with their product safety program.


The Product Crisis Cycle

Far too many companies of all types operate in what is called the Product Crisis Cycle by Kenneth D’Entremont in Engineering Ethics and Design for Product Safety. McGraw-Hill Education. November 2020.

The Product Crisis Cycle

The Product Crisis Cycle by Kenneth D’Entremont in Engineering Ethics and Design for Product Safety. McGraw Hill. 2020.

It is our hope that our discussion points above may aid at least one boatbuilder in escaping the Product Crisis Cycle.


Components of a Boat Builder Product Safety Program

Some possible elements of a product safety program are: Read More →

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Propeller Safety Year in Review 2020

A brief review of the major propeller safety events in 2020 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 2020 follows:

2020 has been a very unique year, the year of the COVID-19 virus. At first many thought boating might slow to a standstill, but as individuals found boating to be a safe escape with their family and many were working remotely, boating participation significantly increased. Sales of new power boats exploded. Stand up paddle boards, kayaks and canoes also continued to gain in popularity. Many lakes reported high boat traffic levels. We suspect this will lead to increased accident counts for 2020.

We spent much of this year working on two projects, our nine U.S. Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) training videos released in August and a paper that will likely be released in 2021.

We anticipate the Florida Sailing accident claiming the life of young Ethan Isaacs will be looked back upon as one of the turning points in the national demand for propeller guards on youth training vessels. Read More →

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Sarasota Sailing Club Propeller Kills Boy: Ethan Isaacs

Ethan Issacs

Ethan Isaacs

Ethan Isaacs, age 10, was dropped off along with his brother by his mother at Sarasota Youth Sailing Club on Saturday morning 21 November 2020. Their mother waited for them.

Ethan Isaacs, the ten year-old boy struck by a boat propeller and killed in the accident was in the 6th grade at Pine View School for the Gifted in Osprey, Florida. He won the school’s science fair last year. The school furnished counselors to his classes.

News media repeatedly refers to the accident as a boat crash. Although the investigation continues, early reports indicate a boy was near a capsized 8 foot sailboat. An 18 year old young man operating a power boat belonging to the facility came by to rescue him. As the powerboat approached the boy, the operator lost his footing, went overboard, his body pushed the throttle forward as he fell overboard, and the unmanned boat went into the Circle of Death. The power boat went on to strike several small sailboats. From news reports, it is not obvious if Ethan Isaacs was the boy seen in the water by the boat operator, or was near the other boats struck by the unmanned power boat. News reports indicate the power boat operator later regained control of the power boat.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued the following statement on Saturday, November 21, 2020: Read More →

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Preventing Outboards Flipping in Boats: Supplement 1

Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors from Flipping into Boats: Supplement #1

Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors from Flipping into Boats: Supplement #1
Click image to download 62 page pdf

We previously published, Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors From Flipping Into Boats After Striking Floating or Submerged Objects, and twice updated this extensive list of approaches. Our last update was published in 2018.

This time we published a separate 2020 supplement to the 2018 third edition of the report.

Many new methods have come on the scene to prevent outboards from breaking off and flipping into boats, and especially to prevent them from flipping into bass boats. We also include some technologies and patents with features or methods that look applicable to this hazard.

We covered several updates from The Leash in our review of current methods and approaches.

We were especially pleased to see many Advance Detection of Imminent Impact and Record Impact Data approaches, many of which automatically respond to the hazard by slowing the boat, raising the drive, slowing or stopping the propeller, or other similar actions. Read More →

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Suzuki patents outboard tether in Japan in 1992

In January 2016 The Leash was released as a means of preventing bass boat outboard motors striking submerged objects from breaking off and flipping into boats. Previous to The Leash we saw examples of individuals and one state government agency creating their own tethers. We found the Coast Guard recommending home built tethers on bass boats back in 1972.

We previously wrote of two 1969 Brunswick / Mercury Marine tether patents.

More recently we found a 1992 Suzuki patent for an outboard motor tether, JPH04243690.

Suzuki defines the problem to be solved as, “If the speed at which the lower portion of the outboard motor collides with an obstacle is high, the release valve (tilt cylinder relief valves) cannot operate completely (cannot open fast enough), and the hydraulic cylinder and the outboard motor cannot be operated. The gear case at the bottom of 1 (the outboard motor) may be damaged, and a high repair cost may be required.”

Suzuki tether Japanese Patent

Suzuki tether Japanese Patent

Read More →

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Boating Safety in Press Release Images : Open Bow Wakesurfing Boat

Brunswick / Mercury Marine / MerCruiser recently released their new Bravo Four S forward facing stern drive. As part of the media coverage they released a number of images for the press / media to use while covering the release.

We noticed several of Mercury’s press release images for the Bravo Four S drive were taken with a Chaparral wakesurfing boat. Chaparral’s own website and BoatTest.com identified it as Chaparral’s 23 foot Surf model.

Chaparral posts some images on their website that appear to be taken at the same time as Brunswick’s press images.


Chaparral’s Wakesurfing image

We will start with a photo from Chaparral’s website.

Chaparral boat 23 Surf Series 2021 model

Chaparral boat 23 Surf Series 2021 model

Above is the image as posted by Chaparral.

Below is a closeup of the 23 foot Chaparral Surf Series 2021 model cropped from the same image.

Chaparral boat 23 Surf Series 2021 model closeup

Chaparral boat 23 Surf Series 2021 model closeup

As seen in the two images above, there is a young boy alone in the bow. Read More →

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MerCruiser adds Bravo Four S forward facing drive

Brunswick’s Mercury MerCruiser announced a new Bravo Four S forward-facing drive 24 August 2020. The drive obviously targets Volvo Penta’s FWD drive’s success in the wake surfing market.

Mercury paired the drive’s introduction with a new control system called Smart Tow controls that aids in creating specific waves for wakesurfing, wakeboarding, and other tow sports. The digital controls coordinate ballast, surf tabs, and the drive’s settings in a single user interface.

The drive will be available from their 4.5 liter, 6.2 liter, and 8.2 liter formats with 250 to 430 horsepower per their Bravo Four brochure.

Bravo Four S forward facing drive

Bravo Four S forward facing drive

Read More →

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