Boat Builders Offering Propeller Guards Part 1 (A-M)
Numerous boat builders have offered or do offer propeller guards as an option, have sold propeller guards, or have provided their boats for use in major events (such as the Olympics) at which they knew guards would be required on their boats. This post is part one of a two part post identifying some of these boat builders.
We filed these two posts in our legal section because the boating industry often asks plaintiffs and plaintiff’s experts in legal cases if they know of any boat builder or boat manufacturer that ever offered / used propeller guards. If any are mentioned, the industry tries to explain during deposition or trial why those guards have no application to this situation. As the list of builders using guards has grown, their position has become increasingly more difficult to defend. Several of the boat builders listed here have not been previously identified in propeller trials as using prop guards.
Beneteau is a well known European manufacturer of boats and yachts. Some of their models have been sold with optional propeller guards for several years. For example, the Antares 8 (8 meters or about 26 feet), is listed with an optional propeller guard in this 2010 brochure.
In addition, Benetau is supplying several boats for use in the London 2012 Olympics by the press, officials, coaches, and VIPs. They are required to have propeller guards. See the London 2012 Olympics entry in our Regulations, Standards, Statements, and Developments post for additional details.
Bombardier Recreational Products & Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC)
Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) a major producer of boats and marine drives declared bankruptcy in December 2000. OMC produced a ring guard sometimes called the Gale Guard from the 1970’s up into the 1990s. In recent times OMC (or more accurately lawyers for the insurance company still representing OMC) has been very adamant the guards were purely for protecting the propeller and never for protecting people. Experts for OMC generally claim they are not exactly sure when they quit selling them, but it was sometime in the 1990’s.
A quick look around shows Bombardier (maker of Evinrude outboards) still sells the old OMC ring guards via Boats.Net as of July 9, 2012. Boats.Net is still selling the same OMC guard in several versions dating back as far as 1974.
Bombardier also builds boats (Sea-Doo boats).
Please see our listing for OMC Australia for additional information about this guard.
In addition, OMC patented several propeller guards including U.S. Patent 4,096,819 (by Ralph Evinrude), U.S. Patent 4,235,183 (by Ralph Evinrude), and U.S. Patent 4,304,558 (by Ted Holtermann).
Brunswick – Disney World Boats
Brunswick has long supplied boats and marine drives to Disney World. Disney maintains a huge fleet of small one or two person rental boats. Though time Disney switched through various models (Water Sprite, Water Mouse, Sea Raycer). Per Richard Snyder’s September 20, 1991 testimony in James Pree v. Brunswick Corporation pgs. 77-80, at the request of Disney, Mercury Marine mounted ring guards on these eight to fifteen horsepower outboard boats for a period of time. A modern Sea Raycer is show below as an example of the small rental boat class at Disney World. Propeller guards were used by Mercury for a time on on earlier small boats of this general style at Disney.
Brunswick Commercial & Government Products Division / Brunswick CGP
Brunswick’s Brunswick CGP division operating in Belgium has an online catalog listing several RIBS (rigid inflatable boats) with propeller guards as shown in the Valiant Heavy Duty Patrol 520 example shown below. Please note Brunswick’s CGP logo in the top left corner. Valiant RIBS are built by Brunswick.
Correct Craft, an Orlando Florida boat builder, offered a propeller guard as an option on their 23 foot Fish Nautic and Cuddy Nautic models from 1975 to 1985. This is well documented in “An Assessment of Propeller Guards Designed for Inboard Vessels on Vessel Operation and Manatee Protection. Mancil Mulligan and Jeffrey Tennant. Final Report Prepared for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Pgs.2-3. June 1998.
Below is a closeup of the options list from their 1983 catalog.
Foster Bumper Boats
Foster Bumper Boats builds bumper boats powered by small outboards with propeller guards. The cover of one of their service manuals shows a small Yamaha outboard.
The same manual shows some photos of installing the Yamaha outboard with its propeller guard and the accompanying daily inspection list says to never operate the bumper boats without propeller guards.
Mercury Marine – Dick Snyder Propeller Guard
Mercury Marine, part of Brunswick Corporation, one of the largest boat builders in the world, patented (U.S. Patent 4,957,459) a propeller guard invented by Richard “Dick” Snyder, their propeller guard expert witness, and sold them to the U.S. Marines Corps.
Mercury Marine itself is a boat builder as well, they sell inflatable boats.
Mercury Marine – Mariner Outboard for UK Military RIB
Added to our list 11 October 2012
The United Kingdom’s 1995 Admirality Manual of Seamanship includes several pages of instructions for operation and care of the Royal Navy (UK’s Navy) 4.9 meter RIB. The RIB is propelled by a two-stroke Mariner 55 horsepower outboard. The instructions state a propeller guard must be fitted except in certain described conditions. The accompanying sketch shows a guard very similar to the Snyder guard shown above.