Boating Industry & Others Portray Unsafe Boating Practices in Ads
The boating industry, those providing accessories to boats, those selling accessories and supplies to boaters, beer companies, the excursion tour boat industry, and others have a history of showing unsafe boating practices and behaviors in their advertisements, commercials, web sites, printed materials, trade show booths, and retail displays. Often, the unsafe practices and behaviors portrayed could lead to boat propeller injuries.
We are used to seeing the industry try to defeat propeller cases in court by claiming these practices are unsafe and the injured party assumed the risk when they did this or that. Its going to get harder for the industry to claim that, when the same practices are shown in their commercials.
Some examples U.S. and international commercials featuring unsafe boating practices are presented and briefly discussed below.
Evinrude Wakeboarding Ad from Russia
Evinrude portrays two wake boarders on very short ropes behind their featured large outboard motors. The wakeboarders may be little further back than they look due to flattening of the image by telephoto lenses, but the resulting image gives the impression they are dangerously close to the propellers. It looks like the riders may be getting ready to drop the ropes and start wake surfing.
We don’t see a life vest / PFD on them. The colors are such that they might be wearing a black one we can’t see.
The image above was captured from their site 7 December 2013.
Captain Zodiac Tour in Hawaii
Captain Zodiac Tour’s web site features several images of its passengers celebrating their tours including the one above. Some passengers are recklessly riding the tubes while underway. It is very easy to envision them falling off and being struck by the propeller. The image above was copied from their site on 14 December 2013.
Premier Boat ad
The image of young child that close to the propeller is disconcerting to us. At first, it looks like the drive may be turning, then it looks like they may have pushed the tube away from the boat and be retrieving it by manually pulling it back to the boat. Whatever is going on, it looks scary to us. The image was captured from Premier’s web site 4 July 2013.
Additionally, we are used to seeing little kids in the big puffy life jackets. It is not immediately obvious if the little girl is wearing a life jacket or not. We do not see a life jacket on the man portrayed as her father.
Brig Inflatable Boats from Spain
The young man riding the RIB tube with his foot dragging in the water while underway is a prime candidate for a propeller accident. The image was captured from their site 6 February 2014.
Yamaha Malaysia Catamaran
E. M. Technology Marine represents Yamaha in Malaysia. Below is a clip posted 1 February 2014 to their Facebook page.
The center image is shown below.
They show people riding on the bow when underway and crashing into the waves. One gentleman is braced and hanging on, one person is sitting with their legs hanging over the bow. The cat is powered by twin 250 horsepower Yamaha outboards. The launch of the new catamaran was covered in a December 4, 2013 post to E.M. Technology Marine’s Yamaha Facebook page.
Qingdao Goethe Manufacture and Trade Co. RIB on Alibaba
The same image appears on their ad on Alibaba except it has Alibaba watermarks all over it. The two girls are standing up while underway as well as blocking the operator’s forward vision, and probably distracting him as well. The kill cord does not appear to be in use, and no life jackets are seen in the image. The ad was viewed 7 February 2014.
Fondear from Spain
The lower right image on their website shows two women at the stern with the Evinrude outboard engine running (you can see the water moving above the prop). One lady is standing right by the swim ladder with the engine running. This image was screen captured 7 February 2014.
Wild Water Marine in the UK
The image above from Wild Water Marine’s web site shows two RIBS underway at speed. They look like they are just inches apart. This is very unsafe as the hydrodynamics between the hulls becomes very complex. Boats that are close together can be pulled together, plus it is very easy for one vessel to hit a wave or wake and hit the other one. The image was captured from their site 7 February 2014.
Yamaha Bowrider ad
Yamaha’s South Africa site shows a small, young boy in the bow of a bowrider underway at speed powered by a 250 horsepower VMAX Yamaha outboard motor. Striking a wake or wave could bounce him high enough to be ejected from the boat and hit by the propeller. Plus the neither the child nor anyone else on board appears to be wearing a life jacket.
The image was captured 10 February 2014.
BRP Evinrude media imageThis BRP Evinrude image is widely used outside the United States. We present it as a small image to prevent further feeding the frenzy. The pretty girl on a boat with large twin Evinrudes is a classic hot babe on a boat marketing image.
A few Evinrude sites featuring the image in February 2014 include: mnevka.ru (Russia), deparmotor.com (Turkey), outboardcenterwilnis.nl (Netherlands), evinrude-brp.blogspot.com (Poland), aanddlandismarine.com (Pennsylvania – they trim the lower part off the image so you do not see the engine is running), argmarine.com (Florida – they trim the bottom of the image off), route6marine.com (Massachusetts), and many more.
The image is available online as a very large high resolution image. We cropped one to show her foot and the water being churned by the running engines.
You can see she hooked her big toe past a ladder handrail to try to stabilize herself. She is right above the running engines. This image is directly on many BRP websites around the world.
Konrad Marine Stern Drive ad
Konrad showa a pretty girl riding their stern drive like a horse. Several drive manufacturers tell boat operators not to use the outboard or stern drive as a step because it is easy to slip off and cut your foot/leg on the propeller even if it is not rotating. Konrad shows the “babe” riding the drive. The image was captured 18 July 2012.
Mercury Marine 300 Pro Max adWhile we do not know the history of this ad image, we suspect it originated locally, not at Mercury headquarters. Chelsea Black, Pirate Girl (tied to FlatsPirate.com), is shown stepping on the drive.
We captured this image 21 June 2013. We reduced its size to help slow its spread. We also note we were unable to quickly find this image online when we published this post in February 2014. Mercury may have came forward and asked the source to pull it down. We found a related image on shootinghead.com
For those who may not recognize it, that’s a poling platform over the drive. You can stand up there and push the boat along quietly with a long pole.
Tohatsu Twin Bridge Ski Team boat, Crivitz, Wisconsin
It appears Tohatsu has supplied this ski team with a boat featuring triple Tohatsu outboards. It is easy to envision the young woman loosing her footing and falling over the stern into the propellers. This image was obviously taken for distribution as it is available as a high resolution image. It was downloaded 7 February 2014.
Stillmar 34 Diving Boat Powered by twin Mercury Verado 250 HP Outboards – Video
The Stilmar promotional video above features a 500 horsepower dive boat being driven hard with a couple “babes” on board. They can be seen standing, hanging on, and laying of portions of the boat. One can be seen steering the boat. Life jackets and kill cords are not prominently visible.
This video came to our attention after the 2013 Milligan accident in the UK. RIBnet was discussing the accident and a member posted a link to this video as an example of how some manufacturers portray their products unsafely in commercials. I called the video to the attention of Mercury Marine’s legal department at that time, but see it is still posted approaching a year later.
The video was posted on YouTube 11 June 2013.
Wal-Mart Pontoon Boat built from beer packages and kegs
A Wal-Mart store built a display from packages of beer and beer kegs that resembled a pontoon boat to help them sell more beer. Drinking and boating can lead to boat propeller accidents. We previously posted this image on 5 May 2013 on our list of Pontoon Boat Bowriding Accidents.
While not directly portraying unsafe boating practices, we suspect many find this ad in bad taste, as well as the fact that Coors was allowed to sponsor such an award. We are sure National Safe Boating Council appreciated the money, but it is a bit like accepting money from the devil. Families that lost loved ones to drunk boaters were sure to be insulted when they heard of this. The ad above was captured from Proceedings of the 2004 International Boating and Water Safety Summit.
Yamaha Mexico Shares Display Booth With Corona Beer Girls
The Corona beer girls are working Yamaha Mexico (IMEMSA) booth at a fishing tournament. Note the Corona hats, coolers, and accessories in addition to their imprint on the girls tops. The photo above was downloaded from a series of fishing tournament photos on IMEMSA’s web site. The tournament appears to have been sponsored by Yamaha.
Yamaha Durban ad
The Yamaha ad above pretty much says it all, “Boats, Beer, and Babes”. It comes from the April 2012 issue of Ski-Boat (a South African boating magazine).
Yamaha Antigua web site features Adventure Antigua vessel
We saved this one for last, because it took us a while to believe what we were seeing.
Outdoor World represents Yamaha in Antigua. Their web site opens with the banner ad seen below. If features a vessel used by Adventure Antigua for quick tour circumnavigations of Antigua.
Our attention quickly focused on the gentleman at the transom facing rearward. To better understand how he was sitting, we found a photo of the same vessel on Adventure Antigua web site and enlarged it using PhotoZoom Pro 5.
The Antigua Adventures image above shows there is a bench seat at the rear of the vessel with a high back.
Next we used PhotoZoom Pro 5 to zoom the banner image from the Outdoor World Yamaha Antigua site.
You can now see the boat is underway at speed. The gentleman is sitting on the top of the bench seat, facing the outboards with his left foot on a flat spot on the gunnel, and his right foot bracing against the middle the three large Yamaha outboards powering the vessel.
Are we the only ones that think this is insane? And even more insane for Yamaha to be using it as the banner ad for their operation in Antigua?
We found several more Yamaha ads, so we moved them to their own page, Unsafe Practices & Behaviors in Yamaha Boat & Outboard Ads.
Closing and Call for Images
Back in September 1997 I covered IMTEC boat show in Chicago at which Zodiac announced the “Zodiac Photography Guidelines“. Zodiac put forth several guidelines to assure media images of Zodiacs portrayed safety practices. We commended Zodiac for their efforts and encouraged others to follow suite.
Our call for change fell on deaf ears, but as firms began to understand they could be sued by individuals injured while emulating behaviors shown in their commercials, change began to occur. As seen above, now we are facing an increase in inappropriate ads from outside the U.S. Recreational boating is growing in areas previously limited to work boats and fishing boats. The Internet no longer confines product literature, advertisements, and commercials to their land of origin. Manufacturers and retailers know a splashy commercial, especially one featuring hot babes, can be viewed by a much larger audience online. While things may be slightly toned down here, it is obvious things are out of control in some countries.
If you are aware of other unsafe boating practices portrayed in boating or other advertisements, especially those that could lead to propeller injuries, please forward them to us or send us a link to them. We can be contacted at the “Contact Us” tab on the top menu bar
We also welcome your comments on the images above, especially if you are a manufacturer and would like to defend one of the images above. We would be happy to post your comments explaining why the above images are not unsafe.
We also call your attention to the Seal of Safe Boating Practices promoted by the National Association of State Boating Administrators (NASBLA). The guidelines help manufacturers insure their ads and online materials comply with recommended boating safety practices. Those who comply, are allowed to display the seal.
Also, just in case anybody is thinking about deleting these images from their sites and claiming they never existed, we archived copies of the web sites.