Rental Boat Safety Instructional Materials

Many rental boat propeller accidents, especially houseboat, deck boat, and pontoon boat propeller accidents have raised the issue of the quality of the instruction provided to those who would eventually end up operating the boat.

Rental boat instruction on houseboats in particular often focuses on how to operate the boat and its many accessories, how to contact the base (headquarters / mother ship) if you have any problems, a list of do’s and don’ts, and a list of things you are going to be billed for if you mess up. With houseboat rentals typically having many people on board, at the training session they are often coming and going. The actual operator(s) may not be thoroughly instructed in propeller safety issues (danger of the propeller, use of lookouts, etc.). The party environment on some rental houseboats, deck boats, and pontoon boats especially requires a diligent operator.

Several years ago the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC), a U.S. Coast Guard advisory council, identified the need for a good set of rental boat instructions. A subcommittee was formed, including Marion Irving deCruz of SPIN, and presentation materials were developed.

The large flip chart was constructed so the instructor could be reading instructions from the back of the chart while the participants were looking at the front.

Several sets of materials (a large flip chart binder, peel off page checklists for pontoon boats and houseboats, and related materials) were printed. They were boxed as sets and sent out to several rental facilities for testing. The project died due to lack of feedback from the test sites.

The training materials themselves were an outgrowth of the March 2006 USCG/ABYC Propeller Injury Avoidance Workshop. A NBSAC subcommittee was formed to develop them. The letter inside the prototype kits delivered to the test sites was dated 10 March 2008. The resulting flip chart and checklists are now a few years old and were in need some updating.

The flip chart and checklists have since been slightly updated and resurrected by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NSBLA) and placed online by Water Safety Solutions at Rental Company Resources at

Rental Boat Safety Logo

Rental Boat Safety Logo

The flip chart is available individually at Flip Chart

We reproduced one of propeller safety pages below, along with the text the presenter uses as that page is displayed.

Rental Boat Safety Presentation Slide on Propeller Safety by USCG

Rental Boat Safety Presentation Slide on Propeller Safety by USCG

Rental Boat Safety Presentation Presenter Text for Propeller Safety Page by USCG

Rental Boat Safety Presentation Presenter Text for Propeller Safety Page by USCG

The flip chart and checklists are a great place for a boat rental operation to begin developing their own safety presentation materials from, or to use them directly as they see fit. also provides some training videos and free DVD for in-house training at boat rental operations / boatliveries.

Some of Water Solutions Group’s materials are available in Spanish (see the language flags in top right corner of their pages).

We would especially like to thank:

  • NASBLA for their efforts in updating the flip chart and checklists
  • Water Solutions Group for placing them and other boat rental safety materials online at
  • The U.S. Coast Guard for providing a grant to Water Solutions Group to help make this possible

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