Propeller Safety Year in Review 2015

A brief review of the major propeller safety events in 2015 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.

  • 13 February 2015 Victor Sanchez, a pitching prospect for the Seattle Mariners was hit in the head by a boat propeller in Venezuela. Victor died 42 days later from his injuries.
  • 13 May 2015 During mediation in a Federal court case, a dive charter agreed to pay a total of $12 million to Jared Adkins (the father) and Calvin Adkins (the son) after a dive boat reversed over them, striking them with its propellers off Key Largo Florida on 9 August 2011.
  • May 2015 American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) announced its new consolidated warnings. They developed a series of consolidated warnings (several on each label) to be placed at certain locations on specific types of boats.
  • 13 May 2015 USCG released its annual Recreational Boating Statistics report for 2014. There were 153 propeller accidents, 148 propeller injuries, 22 propeller fatalities in 2014.
  • 23 April 2015 the Attorney General’s Office in Florida decided not to criminally prosecute DJ Laz in the May 2014 propeller fatality of Ernesto Hernandez.
  • 28-29 May 2015 NBSAC93 ( USCG National Boating Safety Advisory Council) Meeting Arlington Virginia.
  • 26 June 2015 Gabby DeSouza died. This vibrant young girl was critically injured by a boat propeller back in February 2011. Thousands followed her recovery and she inspired many with similar challenges.
  • 10 June 2015 a New Zealand dive charter was ordered to pay a fine in the February 2014 propeller death of Bruce Porter under their version of OSHA.
  • July 2015 New South Wales (NSW) Australia proposed mandatory wearing of kill switch lanyards.
  • 10 July 2015 Andrea Mary Jacura, 22, was killed by a houseboat propeller on Shuswap Lake in British Columbia Canada. The houseboat reversed over her.
  • July 2015 WHNT 19 News in Huntsville Alabama ran a great story and video on the Jason and Anna Simmons Circle of Death accident in March 2015. They encourage people to attach kill switch lanyards.
  • 15 July 2015 – Eighty year anniversary of a New York Times article titled, “Killed by Runaway Boat” New York Times repeating an AP story from Fairview Beach Virginia in which two men were thrown from a runaway speedboat which kept circling. Both men dove repeatedly to avoid being struck. One was eventually killed. This is the earliest Circle of Death accident we have been able to document. Now 80 years later, the industry has yet to require kill switches to be installed in new open motor boats under a given length.
  • 18 September 2015 Connecticut governor signs Emily’s Law (Emily Fedorko) changing the training needed to get a safe boating certificate in Connecticut. Emily Fedorko, age 16, was killed by a propeller when the tow boat ran over her in 2014.
  • 6 October 2015 we posted two examples of a Circle of Death warning. The industry has not recognized or commented on them.
  • 27 October 2015 Bean pled guilty to improperly marking its dredge pipe near Deer Island Mississippi in which Mark Barhanovich was killed by a boat propeller. This was a criminal case filed by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. The boat allegedly struck the dredge pipe, the outboard motor broke off, flipped into the boat still running, and he was fatally struck by the propeller. Bean was penalized the maximum permissible amount.
  • 12-13 November 2015 NBSAC94 (USCG National Boating Safety Advisory Council) Meeting Arlington Virginia.
  • December 2015 Otago Boys High School in New Zealand paid compensation to family members of young men struck by a coach / support boat and some struck by its propeller while training in a rowing 8.
  • No patents, new products, or technical articles directly related to propeller safety really caught our attention in 2015. We do have wind of some that hope to come on the scene in 2016 plus we uncovered some historical technical papers during 2015 that look pretty interesting.

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