S.P.I.N. Stop Propeller Injuries Now Propeller Injury Information
S top Propeller Strikes
P rovide Support to Survivors
I nform and Educate Public Policy Legislators and Regulatory Agencies
N etwork with Victims and Their Families to Enhance Boating Safety
Stop Propeller Injuries Now Stop Propeller Injuries Now
THE US COAST GUARD www.uscgboating.org

The US Coast Guard is charged with setting regulatory standards for all recreational vessels. (Code of Federal Regulations/Sec. 33)

While their mandate is clear, their efforts are sorely lacking in resolve. So far we have seen a series of comment periods regarding regulatory initiatives; several public meetings; incomplete guidelines for avoiding prop accidents; agenda items for NBSAC consideration, a study of propeller interventions (no testing or follow-up) and some comments suggesting industry get on board and voluntarily take care of this problem.

In l999, the advisory council (NBSAC) to the U.S. Coast Guard for recreational boating safety, passed the following CLEAR AND DIRECTIVE resolution. It was adopted unanimously.

RESOLUTION - NBSAC General Meeting, April 26, 1999
Whereas, The Boat Occupant Sub Committee was asked to develop a "Propeller Injury Intervention Assessment Tool" at the November 9, 1999 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. to provide direction to the Coast Guard for regulatory interventions, and

Whereas, the final report of the Propeller Injury Protection Grant, awarded by the U.S. Coast Guard to the Marine Technology Society concluded warning signs "are primarily important from a liability standpoint" and "that there is no evidence to indicate that warning signs would have prevented any of the known propeller strikes," and

Whereas, the National Boating Safety Advisory Council unanimously adopted on October 30, 1995 that "it be required
that all livery operations deliver basic boating safety education to their clients at the time rentals are made", and

Whereas, the Marine Technology Society supports a new boating law requiring houseboat renter education efforts, and

Whereas, interventions placing known guards have been tested and verified for non-planing boats at 55 feet or under powered by a 130 H.P. prop engine or under, and

Whereas, interventions of interlocks and sensor systems have demonstrated protection against propeller strikes, in combination with visual aides,

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Boat Occupant Protection Sub Committee (adopted by the National Boating
Advisory council) instruct the Coast Guard to proceed with the development of a performance standard to prevent and minimize the occurrence of propeller strikes, and

Further be it resolved that the Boat Occupant Protection Sub Committee (adopted by the National Boating Safety Advisory Council) at its April 25, 1999 meeting in Portland, Oregon, recommends that the U.S. Coast Guard initiate the widest possible distribution of the Marine Technology Society report to all insurance companies, marine equipment manufacturers, rental operations, ste boating law administrators, et al, for the immediate improvement of protection against propeller strikes in our effort to improve boating safety for the general public.

FIVE YEARS LATER, and we have no regulation and no performance standards. A challenge by the Small Business Administration to the Coast Guard's stated intent to regulate remains unanswered. The statistics continue to substantiate the need to regulate

The Supreme Court has over ruled the USCG pre-emption authority in the MERCURY MARINE V SPRIESTMA case (docket 01-706) and ruled that in the absence of the Coast Guard regulations, victims can seek damages under state consumer common law against marine manufacturers who fail to protect against propeller accidents.

SPIN took the position more than 12 years that this should not be about lawyers and big judgements. It should be about the marine industry doing their duty for public safety, to protect the very consumer/client who fills their coffers.

Instead, they avoid the safety issue, refuse to recognize their responsibility, and weigh their liability against the costs of safety. That was their choice.... so let them pay in the courts. They selected the playing field by default.

As of 2004, the Coast Guard has yet to enact standards and regulations. Its position seems to be that either the industry does it on their own or the courts will punish. Leading by default. Benign neglect of the very industry they are charged to regulate (or is it a deal?). Its efforts seem little more than bureaucratic posturing with occasional good words in favor of advocate groups and infant technologies, and failed to follow up on the two part grant to study existing technologies (concluded in l995). No regulation, no voluntary standards, no prevention and no closure for the victims and their families.

S.P.I.N. Stop Propeller Injuries Now S.P.I.N. - Stop Propeller Injuries Now
2365 Conejo Court
Los Osos, CA, 93402
tel. 805-528-0554 - fax. 805-526-8756
email:  spinsafety@gmail.com