Ryan Batchelder, 7 of FL, killed: boat propeller accident Lake Burton

Ryan Batchelder

Ryan Batchelder

Ryan Paul Batchelder, 7 of Lake Worth Florida, was in the bow of a rented boat with at least one other child on Lake Burton in Georgia on Thursday 17 July, 2014. About 5 pm, the boat operator made a hard turn, the boat hit a large wake, some water came over the bow, Ryan Batchelder and another child were ejected from the bow.

Note – this accident resulted in a legal case, then a trial in Georgia. The jury verdict was returned 28 August 2021.

We have coverage of the trial and jury verdict at Batchelder vs. Malibu Boats trial awards $200 million


Early reports say Ryan went under the rented boat and was struck by the propeller in the boating accident.

One report says it was a ski boat with two adults and four children on board.

A 24 July 2014 Clayton Tribune report cites the Georgia DNR incident report as saying after Ryan Paul went overboard, the boat operator put the boat in reverse and Ryan Paul Batchelder “became entangled in the boat’s propeller and driveshaft.” The young boy died from his injuries during the accident.

A Georgia DNR representative said the boat operator showed no signs of impairment and alcohol was not a factor in this accident.

Georgia DNR assigned a Sergeant to lead the investigation and to oversee a critical incident reconstruction of the event.

First responders cite this being an especially tough, gruesome accident. The incident report notes that a crane was used to raise the boat so the body could be removed from the propeller and driveshaft.

Another DNR representative said that as of July 1st, all boat rental agencies are required to show a ten minute safety film to anyone that rents a boat, and to run through an orientation checklist with them.

Ryan Batchelder Funeral Arrangements

A memorial service is scheduled for 3pm July 24th in Royal Palms Beach, Florida at Palms West Funeral Home and Crematory.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Ryan’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Details are on his Ryan’s obituary.

Being Entrapped / Entangled on a Boat Propeller

Being entrapped or entangled on a boat propeller is not a “rare event”. We often see them being covered as almost impossible occurrences. We collected a list of many Entrapped on a Boat Propeller Accidents in response to the boating industry’s frequent claims of the hazards of being entrapped in a boat propeller guard. The industry has never came up with a real world example of being entrapped / entangled in a propeller guard, but many people have been trapped in open propellers.

Note – we are not saying the boat involved in the Batchelder accident should have had a propeller guard, we are just saying that many people have been entrapped / entangled in boat propellers.

Bowriding by Young Children

We have NO knowledge of the exact boat in this accident or of the position of the children at the bow, we just present the photo below of a young boy in Yamaha commercial that caught our attention several months ago.

We posted that image along with several others in a collection of boat advertising images we said showed unsafe practices. We took quite a bit of flack in some boating forums, and especially for the image below. Many said this was totally safe. We still say this is not the kind of behavior you want to display in a commercial for a boat or marine drive.

Yamaha bowrider ad from South Africa

Yamaha bowrider advertisement from South Africa

NOTE -THE PHOTO ABOVE IS NOT FROM THIS ACCIDENT – it is from a Yamaha boat commercial in South Africa.

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