Gowrie Group Insurance Recommends Use of Propeller Guards

Gowrie Group, an independent insurance agency, manages The Burgee Insurance Program, a well known insurer of yacht clubs and sailing organizations endorsed by U.S. Sailing. On 11 July 2013, Gowrie Group issued a press release recommending:

“that propeller guards be installed on all outboard motors used for teaching junior sailing, coaching sailing, running races, and supporting recreational water sports. Propeller guards add an important margin of safety for boats operated around children, sailors, and swimmers.”

The body of the press release extends the list of recommended propeller guard applications to include:

“all outboard motors used for teaching junior sailing, coaching sailing, running races, and supporting recreational water sports (skiing, tubing, swimming, etc.).”

Over half the yachting clubs in the United States use the Burgee Insurance Program. The press release says nearly a thousand yacht clubs and sailing organizations in the U.S. already use the Burgee Insurance Program.

The press release opens with some U.S. Coast Guard propeller accident statistics.

Then it cites Dave Eickmeyer an advocate for propeller guards in Australia, as saying:

“The kids are being taught to capsize boats and they love being in the water. You starting thinking to yourself, just one little mistake of the coach or support boat driver believing he is doing the right thing by reversing in or coming in close to a kid and that kid not anticipating, ends up with a hand or a foot or a body into the propeller.”

It goes on to recite some higher profile applications of propeller guards listed on our site (2008 and 2012 Olympics, lifeboats, propeller driven fast rescue boats, and SOLAS tenders used with mega yachts).

Then the press release acknowledges a marginal decline in top speed with guards, but says coaches and instructors spend most of their time at slow speeds. The slight reduction in top speed is worth the safety gain says Kim Hapgood of Sail Newport with a fleet of 24 powerboats.

Near the end, the press release lists our web site and propguardmarine as sources of additional information. The release is accompanied by an image of PropGuard Marine’s plastic guard and notes their guard will not rust.

Our Comments

We are very excited to see an insurance company with strong ties to yacht and sailing clubs promote the use of propeller guards.

However, it would be nice if they were to mention some sort of financial incentive such as if all your propeller driven powerboats have guards on them we apply a ten percent discount to our normal rates.

David Eickmeyer, the Australian propeller guard advocate mentioned in the press release, is a PropGuard Marine rep at Racer X Marine in Australia.

The release feels like it might have been a joint project between Gowrie and PropGuard Marine. It will certainly provide PropGuard Marine a nice introduction to visit with yacht and sailing clubs.

We found it a bit surprising Gowrie did not offer some counsel about protection from the rear. The answer may lie in PropGuard Marine’s guard being at least partially open to the rear. We were in similar conversation with representatives of U.S. Masters Swimming (boats supporting open water swimming events) several months ago and while their recommendations were not real explicit verbally, the images they supplied (below) encourages protection from the rear.

U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water Swimming Propeller Guards

U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water Swimming Propeller Guards

PLEASE NOTE – the image above is from U.S. Masters Swimming, not from Gowrie Group.

The work done in youth sailing clubs in Australia by Julian Todd over the last several years seems have finally reached our shores. While speaking of Australia, we will throw in a commercial for MidCoast Marine, another propeller guard manufacturer. They have worked with countless youth sailing clubs in Australia to help them install guards on their coaching and rescue boats, and helped promote propeller safety down under.

Thanks to Gowrie Group for putting a link to our site in the press release. We always appreciate propeller safety related sites or pages linking to ours.

A big thanks to Gowrie Group and The Burgee Insurance Program for raising the awareness of boat propeller safety issues associated with junior sailing clubs and for encouraging the use of propeller guards in these situations.

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