Archive for History

This post is the second of a three part series on the new American Boat & Yacht Council consolidated warnings for recreational boats.

We announced the new labels in May 2015 in part 1, our post titled, ABYC Releases Consolidated Boat Warning Labels.

ABYC helm warning for outboard boat

ABYC helm warning for outboard boats

History of Development

Note – much of our story of the development of ABYC’s consolidated warnings rides upon work by others. Two sets of consultants plus Professional Boat Builder magazine each have published a history of a segment of their development. USCG’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council meeting minutes also provide a portion of the history. This posts identifies and pulls those previous documents together to provide a broader overview of the project. Read More→

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This weekend marked the one year anniversary of the July 20, 2012 death of these two fine young people on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Kali Gorzell

Kali Gorzell

Kali Gorzell was struck and killed by a propeller near Port Aransas, Texas.

Just 16, she was full of life and vitality, and known for living life to the fullest and telling others she loved them. Her friends and classmates came up with a slogan, Like Like Kali, to encourage themselves and others to live as she did, and to help them deal with their grief. They sometimes abbreviated the slogan as LLK or LLK <3 (a text heart following LLK).

Live Like Kali stamp

Live Like Kali

We even created a “stamp like” image ourselves and posted it for their use. It also remains our on front page one year later. Read More→

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Boni Buehler as a stewardess

Boni Buehler as a stewardess
Long Beach Press Telegram

We have been covering boat propeller accidents for a long time and one accident stands out above all the rest in the level of attention it received across the United States. Sixty years ago this August (2013), Boni Ann Buehler was a beautiful young woman living a life with the beautiful people, the rich and the famous. Her name is sometimes misspelled as Bonnie Buehler or Bonni Buehler / Buhler. In addition to capturing the attention of the news media, this accident probably had more ties to the rich and famous than any other boat propeller accident in history.

Quick Summary of the Boni Buehler Accident

Much of this quick summary below comes from Los Angeles Times coverage of the accident

Boni Bueheler was a 23 years old aspiring dancer and actress living in Hollywood California working as a stewardess for Western Airlines. Originally from Ogden, Utah, her parent had moved on to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

She lived in Hollywood with Marjie Millar, described as a starlet, and Nancy Hadley, a model. Boni Buehler and Marjie Millar had been college roommates at Stephens College in Columbia Missouri.

On August 16, 1953 Boni was with some friends in a boat owned by Conrad Hilton (the Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels) in a beautiful setting on Lake Arrowhead. The group of four on the outing included:

  • Boni Buehler
  • Geary Steffen (previously married to the actress Jane Powell and sometimes spelled Gearry Steffan)
  • Quary Sargeant described as a weathy Los Angeles juke box chain operator
  • Florence Bleck, 20 year old student

Read More→

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Boat propeller safety issues have created a “Perfect Storm” in the United Kingdom (UK). Tens of thousands of people are calling for reforming boat propeller safety regulations.

A petition calling for making the use of kill cords (emergency engine kill switch lanyards) mandatory has now received over 68,000 signatures.

It had been business as usual in the UK for decades. Now, even officials in high positions are calling for change. How did all this attention become focused on boat propeller safety issues?

To visualize the current intense interest in boat kill cords and boat propeller safety we created timeline above. The timeline visually displays how propeller safety accidents and events are happening much more frequently now (late June 2013) than they were in 2010 or 2011. Read More→

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Nicholas Milligan

Nicholas Milligan

Nicholas Milligan’s family’s propeller accident at Padstow Harbor generated a tremendous amount of interest in boat propeller safety issues and particularly in the use of kill cords.

To place the Milligan accident and the current level of interest in a proper and historical perspective, we wrote a History of Propeller Safety issues in the United Kingdom (Great Britain / England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland).

As part of that effort, we sorted through thousands of boat propeller accident reports in our databases, news reports, and other sources in an effort to identify more prominent, higher profile boat propeller accidents in the UK.

We identified many early events that have echoed in the more recent past. For example, Heddon Johnson came back again as a propeller safety advocate after loosing his son over a decade ago, several more recent victims and family members are engaging as propeller safety advocates (Cian Williams and his mother, Simon Hutton, Maurice Abrahams, ….), some are still independently in the news (Stef Reid as a Para Olympian, and Mick Ward as a Para-Equestrian competitor), organizations and entities have begun to speak out (Isle of Wight Coroner, RYA, Maritime and Coast Guard), new propeller safety organizations are being formed (Put Cages on Boat Propellers), and the Internet is abuzz with kill cord discussions in the wake of the Milligan accident. Read More→

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We have long considered trying to create a timeline of recreational boat propeller safety issues, accidents, legal cases, and the propeller safety movement.

As a preparatory effort to any future efforts at documenting the history of propeller safety, we created, “A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety Issues and the Propeller Safety Movement”

We recognize the events listed are described in a very abbreviated form, and much has yet to be added. We are publishing it in it current form to request your input in helping us further develop this history.

Download the paper in pdf format from the link below.

A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety

Download Report Here

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Please post your comments and suggestions using the comment box below, or contact us directly using the Contact Us tab in the top menu.

We are already aware of several items we still need to include and will start building a list below for future updates.

Future Updates

  • Cover the history of neutral shifting issues as they relate to propeller safety
  • Cover the history of steering failures as they relate to propeller safety

Other Boat Propeller Safety Histories

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Kill Switch Lanyard

Lanyard photo courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard

Although the U.S. Coast Guard is still considering regulations that would require boat builders to install kill switches (emergency engine cut-off switches) in all new recreational boats below a certain length and separately considering making their use mandatory, they have been on the market for over 30 years.

The basic problem of unmanned boats going in circles (the Circle of Death) has been known a long time. The earliest example we have found was reported 14 July 1935 in the New York Times. Two young men on the Potomac River were ejected, the boat began to circle at full throttle, they dove repeatedly to try to escape to boat and propeller, one was eventually struck in the head and drowned, the other was struck in the shoulder.

By the early 1950ʼs boat kill switches of multiple designs were used in National Outboard Racing Association boats.

George Horton, of Fort Worth Texas, applied for a patent on his “Quick Kill” recreational boat kill switch on 29 November 1972. He received U.S. Patent 3,786,892 on 22 January 1974, and entered productions with the “Quick Kill” kill switch in August 1974. His switch is widely viewed as the first commercially available kill switch designed specifically for use in recreational boats, vs. the earlier racing designs. Read More→

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4 Categories : History, Regulations