Propeller Safety & Propeller Guard News Prior to June 2011

Propeller Safety & Propeller Guard Events, Meetings, and Major Developments Prior to June 2011 when we moved to our new format.

26 Jan 2011 – we received a note from ABYC yesterday on the upcoming Propeller Injury Accident Mitigation Workshop at the Miami International Boat Show on February 17, 2011 from 4pm to 5:25pm. Their tentative schedule if below. If you are interested in attending, please contact Helen Koepper at ABYC.

    4:00 - 4:05 Welcome and Introduction - Richard Blackman, USCG
    4:05 - 4:35 Propeller Guard Update - Guy Taylor, 3PO
    4:35 - 5:20 USCG Propeller Injury Avoidance - Bill Daley, CED
    5:20 - 5:25 Obtaining the Information from the USCG Studies, Phil Cappel, USCG
    The session will be followed by a 5 minute update on Carbon Monoxide Issues

2 September 2010 – we received a note from ABYC on the upcoming Propeller Accident Mitigation Workshop at IBEX in Louisville Kentucky on September 29, 2010 from 4pm to 5:30pm. The current schedule is:

  • Welcome and Introduction by John Adey of ABYC
  • Effectiveness of Guards in Mitigating Propeller Strikes by CED
      ABYC and the USCG conducted physical testing on the difference in impact between guarded and unguarded propellers. This presentation will give an overview of the testing and discuss the preliminary data and results that are expected from this testing.
  • Question and Answer Session and Product Forum.

Prop Aware Propeller Safety Campaign

Australian Take Care Be Prop Aware campaign logo

29 January 2010 – Propeller Safety Campaign announced in Australia New South Wales (NSW) Maritime. The new program titled, Take Care – Be Prop Aware, includes a nice propeller safety brochure, relatively similar to the 2006 USCG Propeller Injury Awareness brochure, and a nice prop safety decal, along with t-shirts. We strongly commend NSW Maritime for their actions and wish their campaign well.


14 January 2010 – we received a note from ABYC on the upcoming Accident Mitigation Meeting at the Miami Boat Show scheduled for February 11, 2010 from 4pm to 5:30pm. A tentative agenda was attached. For more details, please contact Helen Koepper at ABYC. The big news is the Safety Propeller will be on the agenda.

Thanksgiving 2009 – Jordan Thomas, a propeller accident victim, was a leading participant in CNN Heroes, a major annual tribute to everyday people helping others.

November 2009 – Colin Chamberlain’s Safety Propeller won ABC TV Australia’s New Inventor 2009 Invention of the Year Award.

29 October 2009 – Trinidad Tobago Resort Propeller Trial – a 12 June 2007 Trinidad Tobago propeller accident in accident in which Yanik Quesnel (then 17) and Carolina Barry-Laso (of Spain and then 16) were severely injured by the propeller of a pirogue while swimming just offshore is now in court. The following three updates Newsday 1, Newsday 2, and Guardian report PPHP Ltd, the group managing the resort had been going to mark the swimming area with buoys for over a year prior to the accident at the request of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). They finally got it done the day after the accident. Yanik is paralyzed and wheelchair bound. In order to enter the courtroom he had to be taken through the basement and was still not able to get to the witness box.

25 September 2009 – Some popular television programs have worked propeller accidents into their shows over the past year. Just last night (Sept 24th) , Grey’s Anatomy’s two hour season premier “Good Mourning; Goodbye” opened with a female with multiple amputations resulting from a speedboat accident.

Back in April, Harper’s Island’s episode 1 premier had a wedding guest strapped to the propeller of a yacht wearing an oxygen mask so when the engine was started, he was beheaded.

Episodes like these are not good for boat sales. If the industry would recognize and fix the problem shows like these would move on to other topics.

4 Feb 2009 a couple days ago we received a nice flyer from ABYC on the upcoming USCG Accident Mitigation Meeting titled, Beyond BARD: A Study in Alternative Accident Data. It will be held at the Miami Boat Show on 12 February 2009, Room B 116-117, 4:00-5:30pm and moderated by Mr. David Marlow of Brunswick.

21 January 2009 we received a note from ABYC saying the accident mitigation meeting at Miami (12 Feb) may be cancelled due to lack of registrations. ABYC is urging anyone who may be planning on attending to register immediately. ABYC also supplied an outline of the planned meeting. It will focus on possible use of boat accident insurance claims as an alternative accident database to BARD.

8 January 2009 we received a note from ABYC announcing the next Accident Mitigation Meeting will be held Thursday, February 12, 2009 from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm EST at the Miami Boat Show. The topic of this meeting is “BEYOND THE B.A.R.D.” – A Study in Alternative Accident Data. Details on room location will be provided later.

10 November 2008 a fundraiser for a young boy struck by a propeller in Australia back in April 2008 will be held on 18 November 2008 per an online announcement. The event is being called T-Off for Adrian.

26 Sept 2008 we recently received the agenda of the upcoming Propeller Injury Avoidance meeting at IBEX on October 7, 2008 at 3:30pm Room A209 of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Opening remarks by Richard Blackman

Mr. Blackman will represent the USCG, John Adey will represent ABYC, Richard Akers will represent Small Craft Engineering, and William Daley will represent CED/Accident Analysis Inc.

The only item listed on the agenda is an Update of the Propeller Injury Test Protocalls. Mr. Akers will talk about Phase 1 and Mr. Daley will talk about Phase 2.

27 August 2008 we received a note from ABYC announcing the next USCG Accident Mitigation Meeting would be held at IBEX at the Miami Convention Center on 7 October 2008 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. More details will be supplied later.

10 March 2008 today’s Federal Register reports on funding for several USCG boating safety projects from the Transportation Equity Act (RTEA). “Funding was provided to complete the recreational boat handling/performance phase of a three-phase effort to develop a protocol for the testing of propeller guards. The test protocol will be made available to propeller guard manufacturers to determine the feasibility of their product for use on recreational boats. ($230,000).” 10 March 2008 Federal Register page 12749.

The same notice indicated the news clipping service is funded with $54,900, BARD Web funded for $310,608, Recreational Boat Renter Educational Package $73,783, and Risk Management for Recreational Boaters (risk based decision training) for $25,000.

6 Feb 2008 we received an Agenda from the ABYC for the February 14th, 2008 “Accident Mitigation Meetings” at the Miami Boat Show. The Propeller Injury Session will be held from 3:30 to 4:25 pm in Room A201.

  Opening  Remarks - Richard Blackman USCG

  Report on USCG Rental Package

  Report on USCG Independent Propeller Injury Mitigation Device Initiative -
     Robert MacNeill (IMCA)
     Richard Akers (Small Craft Engineering)
     Cliff Goudey (MIT)

  Next Steps - Richard Blackman USCG

The Propeller Injury session will be followed by a 5 minute “Carbon Monoxide Update”

3 Jan 2008 – we received a note from the ABYC announcing the next USCG Accident Mitigation Meeting would be held at the Miami Boat Show on February 14, 2008 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. They will be supplying more details later.

24 Dec 2007 (New Zealand) “Fund to Commemorate Honeymoon Tragedy” reports a fund called “Forever 26” has been started in memory of Rebecca Crawley who was struck and killed by a propeller while snorkeling in the Fiji Islands on her honeymoon 30 November 2007. She would have turned 27 today. Per her father, Mark Crawley, “the fund will would be applied to water safety to stop this ever happening again.” Part of the fund would also be used to “make accountable those who through their negligence have caused such a senseless death.” Donations can be made at

16 Dec 2007 Star Tribune (Duluth MN) “Animal Doctor’s License Suspension Sends Signal About Managing Pet’s Pain” reports a 9 year old yellow labrador retriever named Jazz was “mangled by a boat propeller” in May 2006. Dr. Carl Seemann of Bemidji MN set his broken leg and sewed him up, but did not give the dog any pain medication after surgery. The owners of the dog complained, and the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine suspended his license on “grounds he has refused to embrace the latest methods to control animal pain.” The events being followed nationally and thought to be setting a new norm for vets to manage the pain of “companion animals” as aggressively as doctors do for humans.

PGIC comment – we have noticed dogs being on the scene in several propeller accidents, but this may be the first time we noticed one being struck. Additionally, the pain management angle might be embraced the those promoting reducing manatee strikes? Currently much of the work there has focused on fatalities and strike counts, I do not recall seeing reducing their pain being directly pushed as an issue, although it has been indirectly pushed through emotions invoked by photos of strikes.

4 December 2007 Cayman Net News (Cayman Islands) “Tour Operator Calls for More Controls at Stingray City” reports Captain Dexter Ebanks of Dexter’s Fantasy Tours says he has seen a number of stingrays recently with propeller injuries, probably caused by small outboard motors. He is calling for the boats to be fitted with propeller guards to protect the stingrays and the customers visiting them. Another unnamed operator is concerned about swimmers might also be at risk, especially with so many small boats being operated by inexperienced people. He said, “it looks to me like an accident waiting to happen.” They went on to say, “I am afraid this is another case where nothing will be done until someone is seriously injured.”

4 December 2007 The Providence Journal (Rhode Island) “Barrington Teenager Indicted for Murder” reports a local teenager will face second degree murder charges for the 17 July 2007 boating death of Patrick Murphy. Investigators believe he was cut up by the propeller.

15 Nov 2007 – we noticed the crew that recently ran the USCG verification of their propeller guard testing protocol (Richard Akers, Clifford Goudey, and Robert McNeill) will be giving a paper on their work titled, “Development of a Performance Test Protocol for Small Power Boats” at the Chesapeake Power Boat Symposium in Annapolis Maryland March 7th-8th, 2008.

18 Oct 2007 – The Coast Guard announced its withdrawal of 10163 today. Federal Requirements for Propeller Injury Avoidance Measures: Notice of proposed rulemaking withdrawn. Federal Register 18 Oct 2007. Full text of withdrawal of proposed propeller safety rule is in the docket.

24 Sept 2007 – ABYC sent us the agenda for the upcoming Carbon Monoxide and Propeller Injury Meeting at IBEX on October 11, 2007 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in Room B214. Contact Helen Koepper at ABYC ( for additional information.


   Opening Remarks - USCG - Richard Blackman

   Propeller Injury Avoidance -
        USCG - Richard Blackman
        IMCA - Robert McNeill

   Results of Propeller Injury Mitigation Test Protocall work in Maine
   (September 2007).

30 August 2007 – we just came across an interesting turn of events. Seems as if a specific propeller guard has been banned from racing in SLSA (Surf Life Saving Australia) events because they do not restrict performance enough. The governing organization is trying to slow the boats down. Other guards help slow them down, but the Pro-Pell Guard which uses flattened bars (presents a more hydrodynamically friendly shape to oncoming water) only minimally impacts speed so it has been banned. We found the discussion via a mention in a board discussion of the Solas guard, then followed it to an IRB Group News (IRB = Inflatable Rescue Boat) post for April 2004 that was still available online via Internet Archive.

The news post goes on to state:

Guards – The only guards that will be permitted in competition will be the Programmed Engineering version 2 and the Midcoast Marine version 4. Pro Pell guards can continue to be used for patrol.

Again, the reasoning behind this one is to slow the boats down. A decision taken we understand against advice from the national powercraft advisor and the original SLSA Risk Management Inquiry Working Group recommendations. The Pro-pell guard is the most efficient guard available and any speed advantages it produces is secondary to the decreased cavitation and better, more direct steering. Banning these guards in competition will be lucky to slow craft one kph but will cost clubs a lot of money. …

Pro-Pell Propeller Guards are manufactured by Stainless Steel Design in New Zealand.

16 Aug 2007 – Upcoming Propeller Meeting at IBEX – Thanks to ABYC for dropping us an email on the IBEX Meetings. Early info is below.

    The Carbon Monoxide & Propeller Injury meetings will be held at IBEX on October 11, 2007 from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
    Each meeting will be held for a half hour. More information will follow concerning agenda and room location.

10 Aug 2007 – Another Propeller Guard Manufacturer – yesterday we discovered Barro Boote manufacturing several propeller guard designs in Germany.

8 August 2007 – We noticed the 2006 Boating Statistics (accident summary) from the U.S. Coast Guard is now online (internally dated 30 July 2007). It and previous annual summaries are available from their Accident Statistics page. Their data is a little hard to understand if you are not familiar with their “Event 1”. “Event 2”, “Event 3” reporting system. We explain their methods on our Propeller Propeller Accident Statistics page and have posted the 2006 propeller accident summary data there. The summary data is somewhat similar to the 2005 summary data.

24 July 2007 Providence Journal “Priest Decries Denial After Teen’s Death” reports Reverend S. Matther Glover spoke in Mass on Sunday about the town of Barrington being in denial of its substance abuse problems in response to the recent propeller death of a 17 year old while knee boarding in a boat being operated by a 17 year old who failed a field sobriety test. Plus the boat belonged to someone who had not granted the teens access to it. The Reverend also “alleged that witnesses were being urged to keep silent…” A soundtrack of his 22 minute message (Homily) delivered Sunday 22 July 2007 titled “Tragedies in Barrington” was online at

12 July 2007 The Log “Tow Operator Rescues Couple from Circling Inflatable Boat” reports from San Diego of two people falling from a 12 foot inflatable boat that then started to circle them unmanned for ten minutes. A nearby boater radioed a distress call and Sea Tow responded. They let out their tow line over the outboard’s path, fouled the prop, stopped the engine, and rescued the people.

10 July 2007 US Fed News “State Police Promoting Boating Safety” reports the Massachusetts Dept. Of State Police issued a news release today promoting boating safety. It included the following statement:

“- Propeller Safety Device: The State Police strongly recommend that all boaters install a propeller safety device to help protect passengers and swimmers from propeller strikes.”

25 June 2007 We noticed the Missouri State Water Patrol has put their News Release Information Listing online. You can rapidly advance through it to reports on Propeller Accidents. Reports cover 1998 to present.

Stop That Prop

Stop That Prop

12 June 2007 Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources (DNR) “DNR Issues Safety Reminder for Boaters to Stop That Prop” announcement comes as a result of a high profile propeller accident on Lake Susan yesterday (11 June). They have a new “STOP That Prop” sticker warning boaters to shut off their engines when picking up or dropping off skiers or tubers. It is available by calling or emailing them.

12 June 2007 The Lufkin Daily News (TX) “Letter: On SAFER Boating” from Robert Townsend reports on a young woman injured by a propeller, his SAFER Boating organization, and concludes with mention of some on water testing of an MPT propeller guard called Thrustor at Lake Ellsinore California.

11 June 2007 we came across a 2006 report from the Canadian Red Cross, Drownings in Canada 10 Years of Research. Module One states “Another cause of death was massive hemorrhage from propeller lacerations, which could be prevented by propeller guards” at the bottom of page 12 (Adobe page 15).

11 June 2007 we recently came across a U.S. Coast Guard boating article titled, Potential Propeller Injury Control Devices that is an early attempt at trying to help boaters sort through the alternatives available. We are currently working on a much more detailed approach.

10 June 2007 IndyStar (Indianapolis) Gannett News Service “Boating? Wear A Life Jacket” reports an interview with Jeff Hoedt, Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety. Responding to the question, “What’s the most dangerous trend in recreational boating?” He answered, “One of the things we’re learning more about every year now is propeller strikes, usually people who have fallen overboard. The injuries are often life-altering: very serious cuts and gashes that require large numbers of stitches or that cause the loss of limbs or even death.”

7 June 2007 we recently spoke with Guy Taylor about his Three-P-O Navigator ring/duct type propeller guard where the ring is composed of several straight sections with some small radial holes through it (sort of a pentagon around the propeller except it actually has eight sides). He pointed us to a great news video from KUTV Channel 2 in Salt Lake City from a 19 May 2006 broadcast. We had heard of the clip earlier but had never managed to locate it. The video runs about four minutes with both above and below water shots from Lake Powell. The boat runs over large squash and a human dummy both with and without his guard at planing speeds. A big thanks to KUTV for this great video clip.

23 May 2007 The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its efforts to test their propeller guard “protocol” test procedure. We received a 21 May 2003 message from them announcing a third boat had been added to their test program. They now have a 18 foot center console with a 90HP outboard. The other two craft are running a 200 HP outboard and a sterndrive. If you or anyone you know has a propeller guard they would like included in this evaluation (again they are testing their protocol not necessarily your guard) please contact Mr. Richard Blackman U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, Product Assurance Division immediately. If you cant find a phone number or email address for him, contact us. Note, they want you to ship them two free samples. If your products is selected for testing, you are welcome to attend at your own expense. Guards not used in “on-the-water” evaluation will be returned. To be considered for the test, Guards must be received by June 22nd.

1 June 2007- we posted additional information on the U.S. Coast Guard request for sample propeller guards on our Propeller Guard Testing page.

4 May 2007 The Star-Ledger (New Jersey) “If It Pleases the (Mock) Court” reports the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick NJ held a mock court yesterday where high school teams from across the country faced each other in a mock trial. The mock case involved a group of high school seniors taking their parents powerboats for a midnight cruise that turned tragic when one of the boats struck and killed a swimmer near the beach with its propeller. The prosecution claimed the boat operator was drinking that night and seen later trying to pry shredded swim trunks from the boat’s propeller. Students, police and medical experts testified in the two day event involving 14 teams at the American Mock Trial Invitational. We were also able to find the actual mock court case documents.

3 March 2007 We noticed the family of Britteny Sage Lindt, a teenage girl killed by a propeller in Texas last year, has started a non-profit organization raising money to make boating safer and more specifically to reduce the deaths of young people. The group is called the Britteny Sage Lindt Fund – was at BrittenyLindt dot com , was gone by May 2016.

2 March 2007 VEN-T BOATS recently showed a small entry level boat propellerd by a vented tunnel drive running a shallow running surfacing propeller surrounded by a shroud and twin rudders at the rear. Designed by Ingenium Product Development, VEN-T BOATS debuted the new boat at the recent Dealer Expo in Indianapolis. We will be covering this boat from our VEN-T BOATS page.

11 Feb 2007 The Telegraph (Calcutta India) “Glare on Boats in Dolphin Study – Experts from India, Japan Concerned” reports an update on the Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake. Scientists report boat movements seem to have pushed them to the outer ring of the lagoon, but there have been some dolphin casualties due to the proliferation of boats. Collisions have killed 28 dolphins over the last 3 years. A recent count of the entire population there was only 123. The Chilika Development Authority has been “trying to make boat owners install propeller guards so that vessels do not hit the animals.

8 Feb 2007 – We received and agenda of the upcoming CO/Prop Meeting at the Miami Boat Show on Feb 16th at 1pm to 2pm in Room B122. The agenda looks like the Prop part will follow the CO portion of the meeting. The propeller agenda is copied below.

    Propeller Injury Avoidance

    US Coast Guard – Richard Blackman

    Update on USCG Test Protocol Evaluation

10 Jan 2007 – we received notice of an upcoming CO/Prop Meeting at the Miami Boat Show from ABYC. It will be held on February 16, 2007 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in room B122. They report an agenda will be forthcoming. Contact Helen Koepper at American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) for additional information

8 Jan 2006 (Louisiana) “La. Parish Beefing Up Rescue Boat Fleet” reports< Jefferson Parish is buying 21 flat bottomed rescue boats from Metro Boating of Harvey LA to distribute to its 19 fire departments with money from a Homeland Security Grant. The boats are designed to navigate shallow waters and “will be rigged with propeller guards to protect from floating debris”. The boats are 18 footers with 90 HP engines.

17 Nov 2006 – We received an email from Robert Townsend & Associates announcing the formation of a new group called SAFER Boating (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Recreational). Mr. Townsend indicates he will be lobbying the U.S. Coast Guard and Congress on boating safety issues, with an initial focus on propeller strikes.

20 Oct 2006 – ChinoER (California) “Propeller Guards Save Lives” reports an editorial piece on a recent propeller death at Lake Oroville. A lady that saw the accident says she notices the discussion surrounding the accident in the media has focused on the boat operator’s use of alcohol. She (the observer) says, “I can attest that this accident was not caused by the use of alcohol” and goes on to place the blame on manufacturers of open bow boats for not installing propeller guards. “If the district attorney must charge someone in this young man’s death he should be charging the boat manufacturer.”

18 Oct 2006 – we just received an agenda for the upcoming Propeller Accident Mitigation Meeting at IBEX from ABYC.

    Accident Mitigation Meetings
    IBEX 2006
    NOVEMBER 2, 2006 ROOM B213

    PROPELLER INJURY - 10:00 am - 11:15 am

    10:00-10:15 Opening Remarks - Richard Blackman, USCG Office of Boating Safety
    10:15-10:45 Report on USCG Independent Propeller Injury Mitigation Device Initiative -
                             Robert MacNeill, IMCA - John Adey, ABYC
    10:45-11:00 SPIN Statement - Phyllis Kopytko
    11:00-11:15 Next Steps, Q&A - Richard Blackman, USCG

9 Oct 2006 – I came across an interesting recent post on a homemade guard for a small trolling motor used on a kayak. The “inventor” made it from a stainless steel pan primarily to reduce the frequency of their fishing line becoming caught in the propeller. The post is on Austin Kayak Fishing (a forum) and dated 22 Sept 2006.

13 Sept 2006 we just received notice from ABYC of a U.S. Coast Guard Propeller Accident Mitigation meeting to be held at IBEX (Miami Beach Convention Center FL). A Carbon Monoxide Meeting will be held after the propeller meeting.

        Date: Thursday November 2, 2006
        Propeller Session: 10:00 am - 11:15 am
        The room assignments and agenda items will be released shortly
        Contact Helen Koepper at American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC)
        for additional information

13 Sept 2006 “RingProp Trading Assets Put Up for Sale” IBI news reports RingProp PLC announced assets of its holding company (RingProp Trading Ltd) are available through Andy Beckingham of BDO Stoy Hayward LLP. RingProp continues to operate, but all assets including corporate Headquarters in the UK, R&D in Australia, and intellectual property are for sale.

13 Sept 2006 Raymarine recently announced a LifeTag Wireless Man Overboard System that appears to be primarily targeted at commercial vessels. It has some similarities with MariTech’s Virtual Lifeline device. Continued development in this area may result in more ways of reducing propeller injuries. LifeTag was recently featured in Design News 14 August 2008 page 22. The article reports the unit uses ZigBee wireless technology to sound an alarm if a crew member falls overboard or moves beyond 30 feet of the boat. It uses Ember’s EM250 Zigbee system-on-a-chip (SOC) , a 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4 compliant radio transceiver with a 16 bit micro-processor, all powered by a single CR2 three volt lithium battery.

8 Aug 2006 BYM News “ABYC Forms Project Technical Committee to Investigate Peopleís Use of Boats & Accessories” reports ABYC (American Boat & Yacht Council) is forming a new technical committee called “Product Interface Committee” to identify and address hazard mitigation strategies surrounding the human interface with boats and associated equipment. As examples they point to the current discussion surrounding engine cutoff devices, falling overboard, and propeller injuries.

7 Aug 2006 Bay City Times “Situational Awareness Key to Preventing Deadly Boat Propeller Strikes” reports some basic propeller safety tips, like “make absolutely sure the propeller is not engaged with a person in the water near the stern”, propeller death stats for 2003-2004, the writer mentions they would rather swim in shark infested waters that near a recreational boat spinning propeller, tips on how to approach a person in the water needing assistance, the use of throw rings, and an admonition ” to those in the water: Do not approach the stern of a boat until you are absolutely sure the operator has either placed the throttles in neutral or has shut down the motor.”

7 Aug 2006 Pioneer Press (Minneapolis MN) “Accidents Highlight Propeller Debate: Neither State Nor Federal Laws Require Them, But Prop Guards Appear to Be Catching On” reports two recent separate accidents in their region (57 year old man fataly injured and a teenager trying to save his partially severed arm) has rekindled the debate in their region. “A national coalition of advocates, including victims suing boat makers, say a barrier between blades and flesh saves lives and limbs. But others, including boat makers, the U.S. Coast Guard and a Minnesota boating safety official, say prop guards metal or plastic cages or rings that surround a propeller would do more harm than good.” The story goes on to report some national and Minnesota statistics from the Coast Guard, and interview snips from Tim Smally (water safety specialist with Minnesota DNR), Greg Morrell, (president and CEO of Prop Guard Marine), Steve Flemming (spokesman for Mercury Marine), Leslie Brueckner (attorney at Washington-based Trial Lawyers for Public Justice that was involved in the Spriestma prop case). The article also points out the use of guards is catching on, expecially on dive and rescue boats that operate at slow speeds and close to people. our comment – Congratulations to David Orrick the writer of this fine piece. It has been a while since we have seen one so detailed on the issue itself, vs. being on a specific accident.

21 July 2006 San Luis Obispo Tribune “Los Osos Woman Advocates for Boater Education” reports on the recent public hearing in Los Angeles on California boater safety focused on boater education. Marion Cruz (of SPIN) and Larry Skahill (a California propeller injury victim), and a mother (lost a son to a propeller injury last year), all spoke for mandatory boater education, as well as a representative from the National Transportation Safety Board. Another hearing will be Aug. 17 in Sacramento. For more information visit Opinions can also be submitted there. The article also discussed concerns specific to houseboats and to full release of boating accident statistics.

9 July 2006 Staten Island Advance (NY) “Drowned Teen’s Parents File Wrongful Death Suit” reports parents of a 14 year old boy killed by propeller on a whale watching boat (90 foot Whale Watcher II) near Cape May Point NJ on 30 Apr 2005 (accident covered in our accident reports) filed a wrongful death suit in U.S. District Court in Camden NJ on Thursday July 6th. They claim claim the boat owners of failed to take safety precautions that would have prevented the death of their son, Nicholas Johs. The suit names Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center, its owners and the pilot.

2 July 2006 Contra Costa Times (California) “Accident Dates, Locations Not Made Public Records” reports in 2000, California quit supplying the Coast Guard with accident location and date information. They only supplied a summary by type of accident and requested the Coast Guard to stop making the information public. Some feel the data should be widely disseminated, others think it might reduce boating in certain areas with high accident counts. (This is why USCG BARD database tables no longer included CA data).

7 June 2006 we just came across a very small outboard catamaran resembling a PWC, powered by an outboard in New Zealand called a Zego. One of the multiple, rotating images they display at the top of their home page shows two young children on behind an adult with the back little boy hanging onto the little girl in front of him, and her hanging onto her mother. If that picture does not look scary to you, our website is not doing its job. Note their mention of up to a 30 HP motor and promoting their use in rental facilities.

25 May 2006 “Preventing a Tragedy: Safety Devices Help Guard Toddlers” The Record. Bergen County New Jersey reports on a child safety device for swimming pools called the “Safety Turtle”. Worn on their wrist, it sends a radio signal to trigger an alarm if they fall into a swimming pool. The article goes on to quote the inventor, Dr. Bob Lyons now of Terrapin Communications, and Keith Jackson of Maritech on how they merged their technologies to create a marine grade kill switch now known as the Virtual Lifeline and as the CAST Wireless Lanyard. Terrapin Communications will be introducing a pool gate alarm that works in conjunction with the Safety Turtle this summer (sounds like a spin off of Maritech’s swim ladder alarm. We salute these companies for looking across industries for solutions to safety issues. We pointed out the potential application of swimming pool alarm devices to propeller safety back in 1999 on the References Page of our Online Virtual Propeller Guard Presentation.

18 May 2006 Today the USPTO published Maritech’s patent application (US 2006/0105643) for their Virtual Lifeline / CAST system. It also mentions their swim ladder switch. Inventors are listed as Harry Bouge and Keith Jackson. The patent was filed 17 November 2004. It is not yet issued, it is just being published at the 18 months after filing date.

18 May 2006 The ABYC sent us the Minutes of the Meeting of the Propeller Injury Avoidance Workshop March 21-22 2006

10 May 2006 “USA. Boaters Own Up to Biggest Mistakes in a Recent Survey by Progressive” reports the findings of a recent survey by Progressive Insurance. 15 percent of boat owners surveyed reported getting a line caught in the propeller. The article does not specify if they are talking about a fishing line or a dock line, but we suspect they are talking about a dock line. It would have been interesting if they had included a question about propeller near misses.

28 April 2006 “Ron Henry Strait: New Seagrass Fishing Rules Start Monday in Redfish Bay” (San Antonio Express News TX) reports 30,000 acre Red Fish Bay (near Port Ingleside, Aranass Pass and Rockport) contains about 10,000 acres of seagrass beds. Beginning Monday, anybody disturbing those beds anywhere in the bay with a submerged propeller will be subject to a $500 fine. Voluntary “no-prop” zones were established earlier, but failed to protect the seagrass so mandatory regulations will now be in effect. “It will not be illegal to run a boat anywhere in the scientific area, only to uproot seagrass.” The unofficial slogan for boating in the seagrass areas is : Lift, drift, troll or pole.

11 April 2006 “Coast Guard to Thwart Propeller-Related Injuries and Deaths” Soundings Trade Only Today reports recent NBSAC recommendations include several educational and operational measures including a pre-rental educational package to be developed by the Coast Guard, requiring manufacturers of new boats to install engine cut-off devices, requiring operators to wear lanyards when the boat is running if their boat is equipped with a cut-off switch, requiring operators to shut off the engine is a swimmer is in close proximity, encouraging the Coast Guard to continue recommending propeller injury prevention measures using a risk-based decision making approach, and encouraging the Coast Guard to initiate a research project to test propeller guard technologies.

30 March 2006 – we received a proposed Propeller Safety educational “flyer” from the ABYC asking us to send comments on it to the Coast Guard by April 15th. In general, a nice looking flyer.

8 March 2006. Propeller Injury Avoidance Workshop. Announced in Federal Register 8 March 2006 on page 11,672. At the recommendation of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) the Coast Guard is convening a Propeller Strike Injury Avoidance Workshop open to the public on Tues 21 March 2006 (8:30am to 5pm) and Wednesday 22 March (8am to 2:30pm) at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1480 Crystal Drive, Arlington VA. Workshop will include a panel discussion of educational, technological and other issues. Panel members were selected on basis of unique perspective and benefit of their input. Workshop may close early if all business is completed.

7 March 2006 – ABYC sent us a nice report on the Propeller Injury Avoidance – Carbon Monoxide Workshop held 17 Feb 2006 at the Miami Boat Show.

25 Feb 2006 – we received an interesting letter from Prop Guard Marine dated February 21st claiming they owned the trademark to the word “Prop Guard” and the “use of the name “Prop Guard” on our website is in violation of US Patent and Trademark laws.” They informed me it was registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Number 2,704,395. I was told to “remove the name “Prop Guard” from your website and/or any advertising or promotion that you may use, or from any product that you may market under this trademarked name” and threatened with legal action if I did not comply. They ended the letter with an invitation to become a dealer for their propeller guard.

PGM might want to read their trademark registration a bit closer, it is for a “logo” comprised of the phrase “Prop Guard”, the phrase “no excuses”, an oval, an image of a propeller guard intertwined with the text, two “+” signs and some flames. The phrase “Prop Guard” is in a decorative font, similar to the one “Bass Pro” uses in their logo. But most interesting, the registration specifically includes the disclaimer below (the ALL CAPS are from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, not us):


I guess he forgot to read that part. They might also want to note the logo they registered does not resemble the logo on their letterhead.

25 Feb 2006 – we added several references (both current and older) to our Propeller Safety Bibliography. Plus we added about a dozen new injury reports to the Propeller Accidents Blog.

9 Feb 2006 – We recieved the agenda for the February 17th Carbon Monoxide and Propeller Injury Avoidance Meeting at the Miami Boat Show to be held at 10:30pm-11:30pm (agenda says PM, but we think it is an AM meeting) Miami Beach Convention Center Room A201.

     Opening Remarks: US Coast Guard - Dan McCormick

     Carbon Monoxide Exposure section

     Propeller Injury Avoidance

         US Coast Guard - Phil Cappel -
              Establishment of NBSAC Working Group
              for Propeller Injury Avoidance
         MariTech Industries - Keith Jackson -
              Solutions for Propeller Injury Avoidance
         EnviroProp Corporation - Kirkland Smith -
              New finding for CO Dispersion (Supro Guard with CO Disperser)

10 Jan 2006 – we came across the Campaign for the Prevention of Boat and Propeller Injuries to Divers operated by DAN Europe, a European diving safety group. They are trying to raise awareness online, in their publication, “Alert Diver”, and through the use of stickers (posters) free for posting in marine areas. DAN also collects online propeller injury reports, near miss reports, and reports on propeller driven boats operating improperly in diver flagged areas.

10 Jan 2006 – back on January 5th we submitted a student paper “Designing an Intelligent Propeller Safety System” by Bram van der Vlist of Eindhoven University of Technology mentioned in the Dec. 18th entry below to the U.S. Coast Guard 10163 Docket on Proposed Rulemaking in the propeller guard area even though the docket initially requested comments to be in by a long time ago to see if it might get published there for a broader exposure. I noticed today it is now published in the docket. Others with relevant materials might wish to also publish them there. Anything you publish there may no longer be actually considered by the Coast Guard, but it will be accessible to those interested in the docket.

9 Jan 2006 We received a note today from the ABYC today announcing their Friday February 7th, 2006 Carbon Monoxide and Propeller Injury Avoidance Workshop to take place at the Miami Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. It will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 am in Room A201. If you plan to attend, contact Cindy at ABYC.

6 Jan 2005 “Study: Boaters Damaging Seagrass in Fla.” KFMB (San Diego CA) reports on a study by the National Parks Conservation Association, an independent supporter of the National Park Service discussing the results of a 1995 aerial survey of boat propeller damage to seagrass and the fish and shrimp that reside in them, along with much more current damage due to negligence and experienced boaters. This story ran nationally in dozens of outlets.

6 Jan 2006 – “Latest Tests of Hydrodynamic Flushing Technique Very Promising” IBI news. 6 Jan 2006 reports Tyvik of Norway continues to develop displacement boat propulsion technology using nozzles to flush water horizontally perpendicular to the bow to reduce pressure on the front of a boat, allowing water on the back of the boat to push it forward. This method might be employed by houseboats for nonpropeller propulsion. Earlier reports stated they were working with Vestfold University College in Norway. Their students have site on the technology which is called Hydrodynamisk fremdrift in their language.

3 Jan 2006 The U.S. Coast Guard sent Congressman Oberstar letter in response to his 9 Nov 2005 letter requesting information about the status of the Coast Guard’s efforts in reducing propeller injuries and information about the level of the hazard to children. Both letters are courtesy of the NMMA web site.

18 Dec 2005 – “Designing an Intelligent Propeller Safety System” by Bram van der Vlist of Eindhoven University of Technology. October 2005. An excellent student project from a technical university in the Netherlands. His work includes a literature review of ways to detect the presence of a human body, a survey of potential users, great graphics illustrating the various ways people can be injured by a propeller, and the development of a Virtual Propeller Guard utilizing a wearable “tag” to detect if a person is in the water, determine how far they are from the propeller, and take the appropriate action, as well as an investigation of how the system should “look and feel”.

  • Designing an Intelligent Propeller Safety System
  • Human Body Detection Methods: A Literature ReviewWe are very proud to have assisted in the study above and encourage other students to follow his lead by building upon this work and continuing to develop new approaches for increasing propeller safety. We also encourage boating trade organizations and companies in the industry to put some money toward encouraging and sponsoring student projects like this one. If any college/technical students are interested in doing a project in this area, or any associations or companies are interested in sponsoring work in this area, please contact us. Also please contact us if you would like to learn more about the student project above and we will put him in contact with you.

15 Nov 2005 “Boat Runs Over Diver, Killing Him; Boaters and Divers Need to Understand Each Other” Wayne Spivak, National Press Corps, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary reports at least 53 vessels were involved in some type of accident with a swimmer or diver in 2003 resulting in 10 fatalities and another 14 fatalities not swimmer or diver in 2003 resulting in 10 fatalities and another 14 fatalities not included due to reporting criteria. The three page article reviews how divers can make boaters aware of their presence.

15 Nov 2005 “Propeller Guard for Mechanised Boats to Save Rare Dolphins” WebIndia123 (India) reports the Orissa government has legislated the use of propeller guards on Chilka Lake, home to the rare Irrawady Dolphin. About ten of the Irrawady have been killed each year by fishing nets and powerboats. About 500 boats are in use daily on the lake, half of them ferrying tourists at Satpada, the rest by fishermen.

14 Nov 2005 “A Few Words on Prop Safety” Suffolk New-Herald (VA) By Joe DiRenzo reports on our (this web page’s) coverage of propellers, propeller injuries, and propeller guards. Thanks for the praise. I think this may be the first time this page has been recognized by the media.

2 Nov 2005 – We just completed a major update of the site, including adding coverage of approximately 40 new propeller accidents, many of them from outside the U.S., added 9 new entries in the Propeller Safety Technologies section covering developing technologies that may be useful in detecting people near a propeller, we also added two upcoming conferences on Underwater Defense Technology to the More Possible Technologies section, added information on a thesis on Sea Grass Prop Scarring to the technical papers area, added several references in a previously uncovered field of propeller turbulence and shear injuring small organisms in the water, along with moving the Propeller Accidents Blog to a separate page. We have also been assisting a student outside the United States with a virtual propeller guard design project and look forward to posting some of their materials here soon. In addition, we have been enlarging our list of contacts around the world working on technologies in this field as well as those promoting increased propeller safety.

29 October 2005 – The ever growing number of propeller injuries has forced us to move them to a separate Propeller Accidents Blog. This blog (Propeller Guard / Propeller Injury Protection Blog) will continue to cover recent events, meetings, major developments, and news, while the new Propeller Accidents Blog will cover media reports of propeller accidents.

20 Oct 2005 the 2005 USCG Propeller Injury Avoidance Meeting was held at IBEX today (as the hurricane was preparing to come in), A big thanks to ABYC for supplying the minutes and a copy of the presentations.

19 Oct 2005 “Norwegian Team Turns Prop Insided Out” ibiNews 19 Oct 2005 reports Brunvoll and Norpropeller AS of Norway have been working on a “Rim Driven Thruster” (RDT) since 1992. The prop is powered at the “rim” (similar to an electric motor) not by a central shaft. Norpropeller is said to be focusing on small craft applications. This drive approach would appear to have propeller injury mitigation properties similar to RingProp?

13 Oct 2005 ABYC sent us an email with the updated Agenda for the Thursday 20 Oct. 2005 USCG Propeller Injury Avoidance Meeting to be held at IBEX in Miami FL at the Miami Convention Center Room A-204 at 10:30am to noon. The agenda indicates they will hear reports from:

	RingProp -Gary Mullins
	EnviroProp - Kirkland Smith
	Maritech - Keith Jackson - Virtual Lifeline/CAST Update
	Mercury Marine - Pete Chisholm - Engineering Controls Update
	SPIN Update
	U.S. Coast Guard - Awareness/Education Update - Phil Cappel
            ACT, Inc. - John Martino - Dura Jet Technical Update

8 Oct 2005 The Independent (U.K -accident was in Mexico) ” MacColl’s Family Win First Battle in Quest for Justice” reports Jean MacColl, age 41, and a British songwriter, was killed in a propeller accident off the island of Cozumel Mexico in December 2000. The current investigation involves just exactly who was behind the wheel, how fast were they going, and were their other witnesses reluctant to testify against an important family. The family’s campaign for justice has a website,, to our knowledge the first one ever for promoting re-opening a propeller injury investigation.

9 Sep 2005 Newsquest Media Group Newspapers (U.K.) “Family Fight Over Son’s Diving Death” reports a 31 year old male commercial diver in the Gulf of Mexico named J. Chapman, died 30 July when his “air cable” was caught in a boat’s spinning propeller which then entangled him with the propeller. “The grieving family now plan to launch a campaign to protect divers from similar accidents. The family intend to produce a documentary describing the risks of commercial diving. Mr Chapman-Fortune then aims to distribute the film to diving schools and companies to prevent further tragedy.” His family resides in the U.K.

27 July 2005 The Oregonian (Portland Oregon) “Brewer Recasts Ad After Boater Dies” reports Bud Light will be replacing billboards featuring a PWC rider with one promoting responsible drinking after a deadly weekend accident on the Columbia River. 24 year old J. Arndt was flung from the boat in a sharp turn, hit the propeller and was later found by divers. Beer cans were found in the boat and at their earlier beach site.

April 2005 – We noticed MariTech (formerly PropGuard Inc. / Propeller Safety Technologies) has turned their former sensor worn like a “wrist watch” into more of a “tag” and call it a Virtual Lifeline. It is the first “sensor based” propeller safety product to include the term “virtual” in its product name. We have been promoting “virtual” for several years and are happy to see the industry “picking up” it up. MariTech’s web site reports shipping will begin in April 2005.

24 March 2005 – Wall Street Journal article, “Next Case for Palm Pilot Creators: The Brain”, reports the co-founders of Palm Pilot are teaming up at Numenta to develop software for analyzing real time images and recognizing objects (red and green traffic lights, children chasing balls, people sneaking up on a soldier, and other objects) using artificial intelligence. RBBI comment – This software might have application to virtual propeller guards.

18 Feb 2005 – Propeller Injury Avoidance / Carbon Monoxide Update Meeting sponsored by U.S. Coast Guard held at Miami International Boat Show.

20 Jan 2005 – “Motorboats and Ecology” an article in 20 Jan 2005 “The Providence Journal” focuses on possible biological impacts of propeller turbulence. Studies suggest propeller turbulence from the increasing size and number of propeller driven recreational boats is impacting larval fish species. Turbulence and shear can have a severe effect quite different from propeller strikes. It cites 1992 study done in Barnegat Bay New Jersey (see info below) and a 1994 conference on boating impacts at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (see info below). The article concludes asking why this area of study seems ignored and hints the industry may be trying to cover it up.

21 Oct 2004 announcement from ABYC- The U.S. Coast Guard will be conducting a Prop Injury Avoidance Seminar arranged by ABYC at IBEX in Miami FL on Wednesday October 27, 2004 from 1:30 to 3 pm in Miami Beach Convention Center Room A208/A209. Presenters include: Mark Chapple (Ring Prop), Pete Chisholm (Mercury Marine – Prop Guard Testing/New Product Development), Keith Jackson (Maritech – Wireless Lanyard) and Kirkland Smith, EnviroProp.

6 Oct 2004 – U.S. Coast Guard announced a grant to conduct a market survey of available Propeller Injury Protection mitigation technologies, assess technical characteristics of each method and to prepare a report summarizing available options and the advantages and disadvantages of each in various boating activities. Applications become available 18 Oct 2004 and are due by 18 Jan. 2005. More details can be seen in the notice in the 6 Oct 2004 Federal Register Pgs. 59943-59944 see Project #9. If your organization is applying for this grant and interested in utilizing our services in performing some of the research (we maintain one of the largest libraries of information on propeller injury protection technologies in the world), please contact us.

July 2004 – Ring Prop “ringed propeller” introduced in the U.S. at MAATS (Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show) in Las Vegas. The propeller is touted as being much safer than conventional propellers. For more information, see RingProp and U.S. Patents 5,405,243   6,102,661.

9 March 2004 – San Diego jury awards $6,687,192 to a spear fishing diver ran over by a powerboat about 1600 feet offshore. Propeller fractured his skull, sliced his brain and injured a shoulder blade and ribs per A San Diego Union-Tribune account titled, Man Hit by Powerboat is Awarded 6 million, dated 9 March 2004. Looks like the suit was against the businessman operating the boat. Was posted at:

13 Feb 2004 – Workshop on Propeller Injury Risk Avoidance issues held at Miami International Boat Show. Details of the event were announced 4 Feb 2004 in the Federal Register Pgs. 5359-5360. The event was sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC).

13 Jan 2004 – U.S. Patent # 6,676,460 issued for use of many types of sensors to detect swimmers, animals and other objects in the water near propellers of electric motor driven boats. It cites our work in this area.

2004- U.S. Coast Guard posted a propeller guard article titled, Injury Prevention. It reviews the various types of guards, alternative drives, use of sensors on people AND the use of sensors to detect people in the water near the propeller- an idea we have been promoting for a long time.

3 Sept. 2003 – a case primarily focusing on the possible overpowering of a bass boat, resulting in two people overboard, a propeller strike and paraplegic, Michael Davis v. Skeeter Boats and Yamaha was settled for $6 million.

1 July 2003 – Fault Tree Analysis for Assessing Propeller Guard Injury Prevention Effectiveness. T.A. Kress and R.L. Kress (USA). Paper #387-022 presented at IASTED International Conference on Biomechanics. Rhodes Greece.

22 May 2003 – California Houseboat case ruling overturned – Felix Shrayber v. Holiday Harbor. Original case was awarded to Holiday Harbor at least partially based on Federal preemption. The appeal (one of the first after Sprietsma) cited the recent U.S. Supreme Court Sprietsma case and the case was awarded to Shrayber. Case reference numbers – 2003 WL 21197691 (Cal. App. 1 Dist.).

18 Jan 2003 – What is a Propeller Guard? A brief article in the St Louis Post Dispatch on 18 Jan 2003 on Page 23 shows two patented aftermarket devices and reports “Another kind of device is an infrared detector that stops the prop when it senses an object. But it works only when the boat is stationary.”

28-29 Oct 2002 – Development and Discussion of Regulations to Prevent Propeller Strike Injuries (see Pages 22-34) discussion held at 70th Meeting of the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee. San Mateo California. Page 23 contains four propeller safety resolutions reached by the NBSAC at their 24 Apr. 2001 meeting. Those resolutions were altered after a lengthy discussion and the final version appears on Pgs. 33-34.

12 March 2002 – Brunswick received a patent for a Virtual Propeller Guard

6 Dec 2002 we proposed a Boating Industry Consortium Proposed to Address Propeller Injuries

3 Dec 2002 Mercury Marine lost before the U.S. Supreme Court in Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine Prop Guard case

10 Dec 2001 – U.S. Coast Guard withdrew a long proposed rulemaking effort to start again on more focused applications (such as the houseboat application announced the same day – see below). Federal Register Vol.66 No. 237. 10 Dec 2001. Pgs. 63650-63651. Details of the entire effort are in are in the Our USCG Proposed Prop Guard Regulations section.

10 Dec 2001 – U.S. Coast Guard proposes Federal Requirements for Propeller Injury Avoidance Measures specifically for non-planing houseboats. Federal Register Vol.66 No. 237. 10 Dec 2001. Pgs. 63645-63650. The Federal Register announcement is posted in the docket. Details of this proposal are covered in our Our Houseboat Propeller Regulation Study section.

14 Aug 2001 – Brunswick receives U.S. Patent 6,273,771 for a CANBUS integrated electronic control system for the entire boat that incorporates sensors that could be used to detect people and objects in the water in front of AND behind the boat.

15 May 2001 – Congressional Hearing on Boating Safety with considerable focus on propeller guard issues. Recreational Boating Safety (107-20) Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. House of Representatives. One Hundred Seventh Congress. First Session. 15 May 2001.

8 July 2000 Redding Record Searchlight (California) “Prop Guards Help Film Shoot” reports Propeller Safety Technologies (now MariTech) propeller guards (Swim Guard model) were used on the set of Pearl Harbor, a Touchstone move scheduled for release in May 2001. Rick Hicks handled the boat work for the set which was done in Mexico. Hicks reported this is the largest “tank job” since Titanic. The water tank for Pearl Harbor was about 1/4 mile by 1/4 mile. Propeller Guards were used on the seven boats that transported support staff, stunt and camera personnel on the set.

Historical Coverage of Propeller Guards

We have also started to capture a few mentions of propeller guards in the news long ago. They are below:

19 July 1959 Fresno Bee (California) Page 4-S “Propeller Guard May Cut Accidents” reports on a new device for shielding the propeller of outboard motors. It “has been marketed with the intent to prevent mangling injuries to swimmers.” The article goes on to say it surrounds the propeller and also increases torque (sounds like it may be a duct), helps with faster starts, and protects the prop from rocks, weeds, and rope entanglement. Odly, it does not mention the manufacturer by name.

30 June 1961 The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth NH) Page 11 “Prop Guard Saves Swimmers, Divers” reports “Prop Guard is a new safety device constructed of lightweight aluminum for fitting over the lower unit of outboards to prevent swimmers, skin divers or water skiers from being injured by propeller blades.” The article goes on to report it is sized to fit most major outboard motors, can be installed or removed in a matter of minutes and lists for about $30.

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