Underwater Head Impact Propeller Guard report Volume3
This post is the fourth of a series of five posts covering the boating industry’s legal defense. Specifically, their legal defense against boat propeller guard product liability / product defect lawsuits. It focuses on our review of the 1990 underwater testing of a propeller guard impacting an anthropomorphic dummy’s head. The testing was performed at State University of New York at Buffalo by Mercury Marine and OMC.
This post is a condensed version of a lengthy pdf report titled Mercury Marine & Outboard Marine Corp. Propeller Guard Case Legal Defense Volume III: Head Impact Study. The materials can be found at Boat Propeller Guard Product Liability Defense.
The importance of the 1990 Head Impact study is shown in the image below. It was used by the boating industry to support the 1989 NBSAC study. Without the head impact study, the 1989 NBSAC keystone study would fall. Their legal defense against recreational boat propeller guard product liability / product defect cases relies upon it.
The introduction to the our review of the 1990 Head Impact Study report is copied from Volume III below.
A Brief Introduction to Our Review of the 1990 Head Impact Study
One version of Mike Scott’s Head Impact Paper
As mentioned in previous volumes, 1988 – 1991 was an especially difficult time for Mercury Marine and Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC). Several propeller injury lawsuits were being filed against them. Plaintiffs claimed Mercury and OMC drives should have propeller guards.
Mercury and OMC had a mutual protection relationship in trying to find relief from these lawsuits. Relationships were being formed prior to May of 1988 when the US Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) formed a propeller guard subcommittee.
Mercury and OMC both had representatives on the subcommittee. In addition, Dick Snyder, Mercury’s long time expert witness in boat propeller cases was closely involved with the subcommittee.
Mercury and OMC were also involved in a propeller guard project for the U.S. Marine Corps in this era. See Volume II.
Dick Snyder testified underwater propeller guard impact studies grew from a discussion he had with John Snider and Peter Fuller at a seminar on injuries. Snyder was talking with them about their work with cadavers and motorcycle accidents, and the potential to do similar research underwater.
Boat Propeller Guard Testing at SUNY
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo has a 200 foot in circumference donut shaped pool. It was originally constructed for testing humans in special environments. The facility is known as the Center for Research and Education in Special Environments (CRESE).
The boating industry has since used the facilities for several propeller guard studies.
If you are unfamiliar with tank at SUNNY see the video in the introduction or read any of the studies performed there.
Data for the head impact study was collected in December 1990, along with the leg impact data discussed in Volume IV.
Together, these two studies support the 1989 NBSAC subcommittee on propeller guards report as seen on the cover page of this volume.