Bass Boat Outboard Motors Struck Submerged Object, Flipped into Boat: a List

Back in February 2012 we developed a list of outboard motors striking submerged objects, breaking off, and flipping into boats. We instantly noted a large percentage of these accidents involve bass boats with high horsepower outboard motors.

We have since identified 21 occurring since February 2012, plus several earlier ones. Many of the accidents we continue to identify are bass boats in which either the outboard motor swivel bracket broke, or the jack plate failed to retain the drive and the outboard jumped into / entered the boat.

Three of these accidents involving bass boats occurred within a 30 day period spanning April and May 2014

To better call attention to this issue we created a list of outboard motors of 150 or more horsepower that have flipped /jumped into boats since 1999. Much more information on each of these accidents is available from the full list of accidents linked to above.

As we mentioned on the list of outboard of all sizes jumping in, this is only a partial list of accidents. Many accidents are not reported and many states refuse to make their accident reports public in the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD).

Several of these bass boat accidents occurred during tournaments or pre-fishing for tournaments, and some involve well known bass fishing professionals (bass pros).

Bass Boat Accidents List

Bass Boat Accidents List

If anybody is aware of a bass boat outboard motor breaking loose and entering the boat not listed above, please send us a note using the “Contact Us” tab above or the Comments box below.

We encourage outboard manufacturers and bass boat builders to address this problem. We previously furnished an extensive 70 plus page pdf document outlining many ways in which these accidents could be prevented or mitigated titled:

Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors From Flipping Into Boats After Striking Floating or Submerged Objects

Our Indepth Coverage of Bass Boat Outboard Flipped In Accidents

We previously provided in-depth coverage of some of these accidents.

If you are interested in learning more about outboards flipping into boats, several of our posts on the topic can be seen at Outboard Flipped into Boat.


  1. Khorae Olivier

    I like how you talked about different outboard motors of 150 or more horsepower that have flipped or jumped into boats since 1999. We’re thinking of getting an outboard motor for our boat and want to make sure we get one with a good reputation. Thank you so much for the information about ways to keep ourselves safe and still have fun on the water.

    • As per our MODE chart, , if you get going fast enough and hit something with a lot of resistance to impact (like a fixed object) the outboard will break off and some of them will flip into the boat (violet area in top right corner of chart). Exactly when that occurs is not known because the manufacturer’s do not provide the data. We previously listed many tools manufacturers can use to increase the minimum speed at which break off occurs for striking a certain object in our Prevention paper, . We also provided a Design chart, . Almost all of those approaches are only available to manufacturers (not something a consumer would do) EXCEPT the tether approach. A commercial tether now exists, The Leash there is some discussion about how thoroughly it may have been tested, but at the moment it is the only over the counter prevention for consumers EXCEPT for those who create their own tether from eyes and stainless steel cable like those used by South Carolina DNR. So in answer to your question, you are currently on your own to protect yourself without an “industry approved product” until one of more members of the industry takes some action. The relative performance of individual outboard manufacturers products breaking off and flipping into boats has not been tested and no standards exist. Some outboard manufacturers denied they even knew outboards ever flipped into boats in recent court cases. Meanwhile The Leash has been gaining popularity among bass tournament anglers. Failure of the industry to address the problem resulted in The Leash. If the industry continues to ignore the problem and The Leash becomes very successful we may see some other aftermarket approaches enter the market and/or the industry itself may more publicly recognize the issue and respond to it such as by teaming with The Leash or some other approach.

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