Propeller Safety Annotated Bibliography

Propeller Guard & Propeller Safety Technical Papers and Articles

Some videos and films are near the bottom of the page.







  • Propeller Damage to the Parotid Duct. Kambeyanda, Rohan; Singh, Robinder; Armstrong, Milton. The American Surgeon; Atlanta Vol. 83, Iss. 8, (Aug 2017): E308-E310. Medical report on 51 year old male struck in the head by boat propeller.
  • Motorboat Propeller Injuries: A Case Series and Review of the Literature. F. Hoexum, E.A.K. Van Delft,* G. Van Couwelaar, A.F.W. Van Der Steeg, C.W. Ang, L.G.M. Geeraedts Jr, F.W. Bloemers, and J. Deunk. Trauma Monthly. July 2017. Vol.22. No.4. Great medical article looking at 4 individuals struck by propellers treated by the authors, plus an extensive review of similar case studies by other authors of propeller strike medical histories. Includes a summary of injury descriptions and outcomes by approximately 20 other authors as well.



  • Motorboat Propeller Injuries: Report of Thirteen Cases with Review of Mechanism of Injury and Bacterial Considerations. Charles T. Price, Michael J. Muszynski, Julie A. Zielinski, and Charles Stewart. Journal of Trauma & Treatment. Published online August 2015.
    Medical summary, including wounds and infections of 13 propeller injuries. One of few professional articles delving into the prevalence and challenges of propeller wound infections.
  • Simultaneous Tracking of Blue Whales and Large Ships Demonstrates Limited Behavioral Response for Avoiding Collision. Kenna, Calambokidis, Oleson, Laist, and Goldbogen. Endangered Species Research. Vol.27. (2015) Pgs.219-232. Online Edition April 29, 2015.
    Researchers tag whales and record their interaction with large vessels in shipping lanes to better understand how to prevent ship-whale collisions and whale propeller strikes. Researchers charted the difference (dive depth vs. time) between foraging and response dives. Response dives are those in response to encounters that startle them such as when they were tagged by a suction cup tag shot from a small vessel. The paper develops equations and charts to illustrate the existing and needed responses for whales to avoid being struck by the propeller of oncoming ships (including being pulled in by the propeller). These same methods appear to have application to people in the water (or ejected from a boat) being struck by boat propellers.
  • A Rare Case of a Scuba Diver’s Death Due to Propeller Injuries of a Desalination Pump. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Vol.32 (2015). Pgs. 21-24. March 2015. An Elsevier publication. University authors in Italy and Malta discuss boat propeller injuries while investigating medical aspects of death of a scuba diver that was sucked into a desalination pump propeller.
  • Boat Propulsion Impact Relief System. Baccalaureate thesis. College of Engineering and Applied Science. University of Cincinnati. Mechanical Engineering Technology. Jared Frizzi. 30 April 2015. A student project to design a “bolt on” log strike system for outboards and stern drives. He was under the misconception they do not already exist.


  • Legal Aspects of Social Media & Boat Propeller Accidents: DJ Laz example. Gary Polson. 13 May 2014.
  • Short Term Survival of Severe Propeller Strike Injuries and Observations on Wound Progression in a Bottlenose Dolphin. SL Dwyer, L. Kozmian-Ledward, KA Stockin. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 2014. Researchers were observing the group of dolphins. One was seriously struck by the propeller of an unknown vessel. They observed and photo recorded that dolphin’s recovery over a short term (followed them for a few weeks) in the wild without treatment.
  • Chest Wall Reconstruction Following a Speedboat Propeller Injury. D. Sladden, A. Casha, A. Manche. Malta Medical Journal. Vol.26. No.2. 2014. Male tourist struck by propeller while snorkeling. Discusses medical procedures plus need for legislation to prevent propeller injuries by restricting swimmer zones, and introducing propeller guards or jet drive systems. Cites as a reference.
  • MAIB released the Milligan accident / Milly report. January 2014.


  • Approaches to Prevent Outboard Motors From Flipping into Boats After Striking Submerged Objects. Gary Polson. 18 December 2013.
  • Rethinking Shroud Technology. MarineLink. 16 October 2013. A review of MPT’s concentric ring (Multi-Nozzle Venturi System).
  • The Truth About Kill Cords. Motor Boat & Yachting. September 2013. A great, in-depth look at kill cords in the UK following the Milligan accident. It was followed up by a multi-part article on kill cords.
  • BBC Boat Kill-Cord Investigative Report. Samantha “Sam” Smith reporter / presenter. “Inside Our South West” 30 September 2013 program. Approximately a 10 minute segment.
  • Watercraft and Watersport Injuries in Children: Trauma Mechanisms and Proposed Prevention Strategies. Richard Keijzer, Geni F. Smith, Keith E. Georgeson, and Oliver J. Muensterer. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Volume 48. (August 2013) Pages 1757-1761.
    This study found that manufacturers should be strongly advised to redesign components to prevent exposure to propellers.
  • Outboard Motor Safety: Propeller Guards. Gowrie Group (The Burgee Insurance Program) Press Release. 11 July 2013.
  • PGIC Public Comment Letter to USCG dated 26 August 2013 on USCG’s “Estimating the Benefits of Reducing the Risk of Recreational Boating Accidents” report.
  • Estimating the Benefits of Reducing the Risk of Recreational Boating Accidents. Final Report. September 12, 2011. Released 28 June 2013. Prepared for U.S. Coast Guard by Industrial Economics Incorporated and Lisa A. Robinson.
  • UK History of the Boat Kill Cord & Propeller Safety Movement. Gary Polson. Propeller Guard Information Center.
  • UK Boat Propeller Safety Timeline. Gary Polson. Propeller Guard Information Center. June 2013.
  • Cian William’s online petition to put Cages on Boat Propeller in the UK.
  • Watercraft and Watersport Injuries in Children: Trauma Mechanisms and Proposed Preventions Strategies. Keijzer, Smith, Georgeson, and Muensterer. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Vol.48. Pgs. 1757-1761. (an Elsevier journal). An examination of watercraft associated trauma injuries admitted to the Children’s of Alabama Hospital over the past ten years. Propeller and tubing accidents are prominently covered.
  • Heddon Johnson’s online petition to making the use of boat kill cords / safety lanyards mandatory in the UK.
  • Exposed Propellers Are Now Both a Safety … and Financial Hazard! Robin Copeland. Editors Column. Afloat. June 2013. Article is accompanied by a letter to the editor by Oliver Minchin. They point out Australia is now fining organizations for not protecting their employees and volunteers from propeller injuries, and Courts are similarly assessing fees.
  • Boat Propeller Guards: A Smart Choice by Madi Abeid, seventh grader at Nauset Regional Middle School. Cape Cod Times, March 18, 2013. Her sister was struck by a propeller in July 2012. Madi’s article received an award.
  • Texas H.R. No. 996, 2013 legislative bill honoring the life of Kali Gorzell, a teenage girl killed by a boat propeller in July 2012.
  • An Index of Risk of Co-Occurrence Between Marine Mammals and Watercraft: Example of the Florida Manatee. Sarah Bauduin, Julien Martin, Holly Edwards, Oliver Gimenez, Stacie Koslovsky, and Daniel Fagan. Biological Conservation. Vol.159. (2013) Pgs.127-136. Uses statistical models to estimate risk of manatee boat strikes for specific areas. Models include the challenges of correctly estimating the distribution of manatees, and their changing patterns based on seasons, weather, and local environmental issues. While their work focuses on reducing manatee boat collisions, their methods could be useful in estimating the risk of human strikes as well.
  • Royal Yachting Association, RYA, issued two position statements on propeller guards in February 2013. Guidance on Prop Guards for Recreational Boaters updated 28 February 2013 and Guidance on Prop Guards for RYA Recognized Training Centres dated February 2013.
  • Mitigating Boat Propeller Injuries & Fatalities Chart. Gary Polson. Propeller Guard Information Center. 18 February 2013.
  • A History of Recreational Boat Propeller Safety Issues and the Propeller Safety Movement. Gary Polson. Propeller Guard Information Center. 28 January 2013.


  • Boat Strikes: A Threat to the Suwannee Cooter (turtle). Heinrich, Walsh, Jackson, and Atkinson. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. Vol.7. No.3. (31 December 2012) Pgs.349-357. A study of turtle propeller strikes in Florida. They studied a sample of 593 turtles. Includes recommendations for reducing the frequency and severity of turtle strikes. They also studied some specimens collected for museums as early as 1928.
  • Unusual Mortality in Pinnipeds in the United Kingdom Associated With Helical (Corkscrew) Injuries of Anthropogenic Origin. Steve Baxton, Dave Thompson, Andrew Brownlow, Jason Barley, Ryan Milne, and Cornelia Bidewell. Aquatic Mammals. 2012. Vol.38 No.3. Excellent paper on the investigation of corkscrew seal injuries observed in the UK and Canada. The injuries were found to be caused by ducted propellers on work boats.
  • Patterns of Trauma Induced by Motorboat and Ferry Propellers as Illustrated by Three Known Cases from Rhode Island. Semeraro, Passalacqua, Symes, and Gilson. Journal of Forensic Sciences. Not yet published. Presented in part at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. February 16-21, 2009. Denver, Colorado.

    We just discovered the paper listed above in late September 2012 and will post a brief review of it shortly. Meanwhile, a quick look reveals they incorrectly used Event 1 Stats to represent the total number of propeller injuries. The media frequently commits this error. Please see our Propeller Accident Statistics page for the actual number of propeller accidents reported to the U.S. Coast Guard that meet their reporting requirements. We have made extensive efforts to contact the authors in an attempt to get the stats corrected before it is printed. Some fail to respond to repeated attempts and others are unreachable. We will continue our efforts as time permits.
  • Symmetry: The Key to Diagnosing Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals. Byard, Machado, Woolford, Boardman. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology (a Sprinker journal). Pre-published online 1 April 2012. Symmetry and parallel wounds are likely to result from propeller strikes vs. other injury modes of marine mammals.
  • The Coast Guard’s Search for a Protocol to Test Prop Guards. Seaworthy Magazine. Boat US. July 2012.
  • The Assessment of Lethal Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals. RW Byard, C. Winskog, A. Machado, and W. Boardman. Journal of Forensic Legal Medicine. 2012. Vol.19. Pgs. 158-161. (see related paper below)
  • Symmetry: the Key to Diagnosing Propeller Strike Injuries in Mammals. Roger Byard, Aaron Machado, Lucy Woolford, and Wayne Boardman. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology. Prepublished online in April 2012. Not yet published. (see related paper above)
  • Avoiding Propeller Injuries. Seaworthy Magazine. BoatUS. April 2012 lists several tips for avoiding propeller injuries.
  • An Update on Propeller Injury Cases. R. Ben Hogan, III and Jamin Hogan. For Southern Trial Lawyers New Orleans February 16, 2012. The Hogans review the 20 years since Elliot v. Brunswick was reversed. They discuss the preemption years, the loss of preemption, and the post Brochtrup situation.

  • The Assessment of Lethal Propeller Strike Injuries in Sea Mammals. Byard, Winskog, Machado, and Boardman. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Available online January 23, 2012. Science Direct.
    Investigates how to determine if human (typically boat propeller strikes) or natural events led to a marine mammal fatality.
  • Propeller Guards – Must Have for Sailing Club and School Boats. Sailing-World News. 12 January 2012. Polycarbonate Prop Guard is reviewed from an Australian perspective and in light a of a recent accident there.


  • Propeller and Jet-Ski Injuries During Christmas and New Year in Western Australia. Herman Garg, Reto Twerenbold, and Rene Zellweger. The Medical Journal of Australia. Vol.195. (December 2011). The paper reviews five accidents/patients, three of which are propeller accidents and closes with a discussion of the apparent increasing frequency of these accidents and some possible means of mediation.
  • Propeller Guard Designs: An Investigation Using CFD. Oliver Lee. Senior Thesis. University of Sydney (Australia). November 2011.
    A great project that covers many other areas as well. We are glad to have been able to assist this young researcher as he laid important groundwork for future researchers. We look forward to the day CFD can contribute to making propeller guard designs more efficient (reduce drag) and minimize their impact on boat handling issues.


  • Recreational Boating Safety Program Synopsis. The Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council. Journal of Safety & Security at Sea. Fall 2010. Vol.67. No.3. Nice overall summary of USCG Recreational Boating Safety efforts and programs. Includes minimal information about propeller safety, but gives a nice lay of the land of USCG recreational boating safety programs and the people involved.
  • Don't Wreck Your Summer

    Don't Wreck Your Summer - USCG PSA

  • Don’t Wreck Your Summer. USCG Propeller Safety Public Safety Announcement. Released late August 2010. A great 30 second video in the theme of other YouTube wild boat party videos, but ending with a prop accident and a “Boat Responsibly” placard. This PSA video was later withdrawn by USCG in response to industry pressure claiming it showed boating in a bad light.
  • Propeller Guard Presentation. Det Danske Spejderkorps, Denmark. EuroSea10 Seminar. (a meeting of Boy Scout Sea Scout Leaders from all over Europe). Plzen, Czech Republic. September 1-5, 2010. The same propeller guard presentation was also available in power point.
  • Influence of Small Vessel Operation and Propulsion System on Loggerhead Sea Turtle Injuries. Paul A. Work. Adam L. Sapp, David W. Scott, and Mark G. Dodd. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Volume 393. Issues 1-2. September 2010. Pages 168-175. Run real boats with propeller guards over engineered models of turtles.
  • Influence of Small Vessel Operation and Propulsion System on Loggerhead Sea Turtle Injuries. Adam Sapp. Thesis. Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. May 2010. Runs boats with prop guards over models of turtles.
  • Investigation into Scotch Oakburn College Rowing Incident North River 4 April 2010. Incident Investigations. Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST). A 16 year old student was ejected from a RIB, it started to circle, he tried to reboard, and was struck by the prop. It briefly discusses some safety devices, including the Australian Environmental Safety Propeller.
  • Propeller Safety. Dick Blackman U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division. Boating World. April 2010.
    General prop safety article. Promotes wearing a lanyard, includes a photo of a MariTech guard but the word guard does not appear in the article.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Rulemaking. The Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council. Journal of Safety & Security at Sea. Spring 2010. Vol.66. No.4. Special issue of USCG Proceedings describes the USCG rulemaking process. While this issue has nothing directly to do with propeller safety, it does describe in depth the process USCG has used in the past to propose propeller safety rules and regulations.
  • 29 January 2010 New South Wales (NSW) Maritime of Australia officially launched a new propeller safety program titled, Take Care – Be Prop Aware. It includes a propeller safety brochure fairly similar to the 2006 USCG Propeller Injury Awareness brochure, and a nice prop safety decal. The launch of their propeller safety campaign was covered by several marine media sites including:
    • Take Care- Be Prop Aware: Campaign to Combat Propeller Injuries. 30 January 2010.
    • NSW Maritime News Take Care Be Prop Aware. Afloat. February 2010.


  • CNN Heroes. 26 November 2009 (Thanksgiving). Jordan Thomas, a young propeller victim that gives back to society by raising funds for prosthetic limbs for children was honored as a nominee. Although he did not win, he was frequently shown as the “example” of the event.
  • Safety Propeller. The New Inventors. ABC TV Australia. Invention Promo Video aired 11 November 2009 (2009 Episode 41). Colin Chamberlain, the inventor, went on to win the 2009 Invention of the Year Award in Episode 43 (approx. Nov 25th). For full coverage, see our Safety Propeller page.
  • Houseboat Field Test: New Thrustor Improves Handling. Houseboat magazine. Vol. 19. No. 11. November 2009. Pgs. 33-37. Field test of the Thrustor propeller guard from Marine Propulsion Technologies.
  • Fatal Propeller Injuries: Three Autopsy Case Reports. Yoko Ihama, Kenji Ninomiya, Masamichi Noguchi, Chiaki Fuke, and Tetsuji Miyazaki. Dept. of Forensic Medical Science, Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa Japan. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 2009. Vol.16. No.7. October 2009. Pgs. 420-423. Reviews information gathered in the autopsies of three propeller victims struck by boats similar to those used in recreational boating. Includes several photos that are most definitely not for the faint of heart.
  • Prop Guard Saves Life of Surf Lifesaver. Afloat. August 2009. Includes photos of surf lifesaver ran over by the unmanned boat he had been ejected from. Propeller guard clipped his wetsuit hat. He was able to continue in the event.
  • A Viable Approach to Propeller Safety for Small Craft: Ringed Propellers. Mark Chapple and Martine Renilson. First International Symposium on Marine Propulsors. SMP09 Trondheim Norway. June 2009. Reports on RingProp testing.
  • New South Wales Australia Maritime (their Coast Guard) Letter on Propeller Guards dated May 8, 2009.
  • Prop Strikes and Dredging… Peoples Voice Turns the Tide. Afloat (Australian boating magazine. July 2009. New South Wales Maritime has launched a “Prop Strike” awareness campaign. They will also be providing “Hazard Zone” labeling of outboard legs and transoms. Manufacturers are encouraged to improve gearshift designs to prevent outboards from shifting into gear on their own. Manufacturers are encouraged to provide propeller guards and not to remove warranty from those using guards. NSW Maritime strongly recommends use of guards on vessels used around people training (rowing clubs, sailing clubs, swimmers, etc) as well as coach and rescue boats.
  • NSW Maritime Issues Propeller Warning. Afloat (Australian boating magazine). June 2009. Reports on recent Australian propeller accident counts, offers safety tips and guidelines to prevent propeller accidents.
  • Response to Withdrawal of U.S. Coast Guard Proposed Propeller Safety Regulations for Houseboats. Gary Polson. Propeller Guard Information Center. Rough Draft. Shows U.S. Coast Guard withdrawal of the proposed regulation was based on incorrect data submitted by industry representatives and errors in logic. Supplies detailed data for analyzing houseboat propeller safety issues. Also covers propeller safety issues in general.
  • Drift-wood Collision Load on Bow Structure of High-speed Vessels. Yasumi Toyama. Marine Structures. Vol.22. (2009) Pgs. 24-41. The paper is available from Elsevier on ScienceDirect. It is very relevant to marine drive log strike system design.


  • Lethal Unprotected Propellers Afloat (Australian magazine). November 2008. Editors Column by Robin Copeland. Discusses the inequity between surf life saving boats there using propeller guards and guards not being in use of boats used by local sailing and rowing clubs to rescue kids in the water. Attention has been called to this situation after a Refuge Bay, Cowan Creek accident at Sidney where a young teenage boy was struck in the face by a propeller. That accident also pointed out possible problems with outboard gearing mechanisms that may allow them to jump into gear when jolted.
  • Snorkeller Injury. Ocean Explorer. Annulus (Pope’s Eye) Port Phillip. 28 December 2008. Marine Safety Investigation Report No. 2008/13. Australian investigation report of a snorkeling propeller accident. Findings include on pg 35 include, “The incident has shown that there needs to be defences against human error to maintain a safe separation between the propeller and persons attempting to board the vessel.”
  • Wireless Revolution Extends to Lanyards. by Elizabeth Ellis. Soundings Trade Only. September 2008. Pgs. 31 and 64. Story of the origin and evolution of the Autotether wireless lanyard. How they
    handled the power requirements and selected batteries to is emphasized.
  • Report of Investigation into the Fatal Accident Caused by Turning Propeller of a Local Pleasure Vessel Crescent Island at Port Island on 27 July 2008. Marine Accident Investigation and Shipping Security Policy Branch (MAISSPB) of Marine Department Hong Kong. Investigation of a female diving fatality on a diving tour boat in Hong Kong.
  • Significant Neurologic Recovery Following a Catastrophic Open Head Injury From a Motorboat Propeller: Case Illustration. SS Dhall, FJ Lin, LM Tumialan, and TB Mapstone. Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia. Journal of Trauma. July 2008. Vol.65. No.1. Pgs. 249-250.
  • Forensic Engineering Analysis of Propeller Contact Injury. Paul Kamen and Laura Liptai. National Academy of Forensic Engineers Journal. Vol.25. No.1. (June 2008). Discusses analyzing to wound to learn more about how it was made (similar to the efforts long employed with manatee prop strikes).
  • Characteristics and Mechanisms of Boat Propeller Injuries. S. Yu, YW SHen, AM Xue. Published in Fa Yi Xue Za Zhi (Journal of Forensic Medicine a quarterly journal). Vol.24. No.1. Pgs 43-46. (2008). Affiliated with the Huzhou Public Security Bureau. Huzhou 313000 China. Article explores the differences between propeller injuries and corpse dismemberment (how to tell if a body found in the water or on the beach was hit by a propeller or foul play). 100 autopsies of boat propeller injuries performed between 1994 and 2005 in Huzhou district, Zhejiang province were studied for characteristics of the wounds, abrasions, fractures, and clothing. Those characteristics were then compared with similar studies of corpse dismemberment. They found the wounds to be distinguishable due to differences in the amount of force and recoil recoil force, and in differences mechanical cutting (propeller) vs. using a sharp instrument. Those variables lead to different cross sectional wound characteristics. Note – the article is in Chinese. Huzhou district Zhejiang province borders the ocean about midway up China’s coast. It is about twice the size of Rhode Island with about twice as many people as well. They do not say how many propeller injuries there were, but 100 were autopsied over a 12 year period.
  • “Development of a Performance Test Protocol for Small Power Boats” by Richard Akers, Clifford Goudey, and Robert McNeill (involved in verifying the USCG propeller guard test protocol) will be giving a paper on the process at the Chesapeake Power Boat Symposium in Annapolis Maryland March 7th-8th, 2008.
  • Wireless Cutoff Switch Offers Additional Safety for Boaters. Small Craft Advisory. NASBLA. Jan-Feb 2008. Pg. 6. Reviews Autotether, its inventors, inspiration, early development, and features.
  • Prop Guards Not Required. by Elaine Dickinson. Boat U.S. Magazine. Jan. 2008. Pg. 46. Reports on the USCG withdrawal of proposed rule making for propeller guards on houseboats. Includes comments from Jeffrey Ludwig USCG, a discussion of the ongoing propeller guard performance standards development project, a discussion of the cost benefits analysis and brief discussion of prop strike statistics. The article mistakenly states “eight boaters were killed in motor or propeller strikes in 2006” when referring to strikes by non-houseboat motorized vessels. The actual U.S. Coast Guard report indicated 28 were killed. We will be contacting them about the error.
  • Crash Prediction for Marine Engine Systems. Arden A. Anderson. Mercury Marine. Presented at the 2008 Abaqus Users Conference. Details Mercury Marine’s efforts to test computer models of drives for log strike impacts.


  • Propeller Guards Not Recommended on Recreational Houseboats. by John McKnight. Soundings Trade Only online. 22 Oct. 2007. Briefly reviews the USCG withdrawal of the proposed rule. Includes references to the NMMA and SBA working together on alternatives, and cites cost as one of the reasons for withdrawal.
  • Slower Boat Speeds Reduce Risks to Manatees. C. Scott Calleson and R. Kipp Frohlich. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Imperiled Species Management Section. Published in Endangered Species Research. Vol.3. Pgs.295-304. Published Online 18 Oct 2007. Addresses speed and propeller / boat impact injuries. Much is directly transferable to people in the water. It also addresses blunt force trauma issues and reaction times making it interesting to those studying near shore prop strikes of swimmers.
  • Performance of Infrared Systems in Swimmer Detection for Maritime Security. Keith Krapels, Ronald Diggers, Jose Garcia III.
    Optics Express. Vol.15 No. 9. Pgs 12296-12305. Use of infrared sensors to detect people in the water near vessels. Viewers looked at images (it was not an automatic decision making system).
  • “Pushing a Safe Option” Army The Soldier’s Newspaper (Australia) is a letter discussing the introduction of ring propellers (RingProp) on Army watercraft. It includes a discussion of Army propeller accidents including one fatality and how the decision was made. It was at
  • “Bumping into People in the Water” by Ralp Lambrecht, Boat & Motor Dealer. April 2007. Pgs.6-8. Mr. Lambrecht briefly responds to our continuing insistence that he correct his under stating of annual propeller injury counts per the U.S. Coast Guard data in his November 2006 column in the same publication, then goes on to praise a propeller guard (Pro-Pell) on a surf rescue boat in New Zealand, then discusses performance problems with a guard he and Jim Wynne tested on a 50 mph boat about 18 years ago.
  • Avoiding Propeller Strikes Suffolk News-Herald (Virginia) 13 March 2007. Writer reports on ways to avoid propeller strikes after riding in and out from a cruise ship in small boats. They came in on a “bumpy” ride and went back in 4 to 5 foot seas. He closes with some suggestions from the recent U.S. Coast Guard Propeller Injury Awareness Brochure. (see below)
  • Propeller Impacts: Injury Mechanics and Bone Trauma. AM Kroman, TA Kress, and DJ Porta. Proceedings of the 59th Annual Academy of Forensic Sciences. February 19-24, 2007. San Antonio, TX, Colorado Springs CO. American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Pgs. 335-336.
  • Forensic Methods For Characterizing Watercraft from Watercraft-Induced Wounds on the Florida Manatee (Trichechus Manatus Latirostris). Sentiel A. Rommel, Alexander M. Costidis, Thomas D. Pitchford, Jessica D. Lightsey, Richard H. Snyder (previously of Mercury Marine), and Elsa M. Haubold. Marine Mammal Science. Vol.23. No.1. Pgs.110-132. (January 2007). Discusses how forensic examination the wounds can infer the size and pitch of the propeller (and thus the size of the boat) that hit a manatee. As well as how to distinguish boat impact wounds from propeller wounds. These methods would seemingly be of interest to those trying to similar things with human wounds.
  • Follow Up Study of Hospital Treated Recreational Boating Injury. Prepared for Marine Safety Victoria (Australia) by Monash University Accident Research Centre. Karen Ashby, Erin Cassell, and Melinda Conglu. January 2007. An extensive survey of those in the hospital for boating injuries of all kinds. One interesting point on pdf page 44 (document pg 30) is 67 percent of vessels involved in towed sports accidents (of all kinds) did not have propeller guarding (insinuating the remaining 30 plus percent did).
  • Evaluation of Propeller Cuts Documented in Right Whale Necropsy Field No. GA 2006 025 by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. 16 Jan 2007. An analysis of propeller cuts to determine the vessel and propeller that made them. Similar to the process used on manatees. Note – this author published a related study in 2005.


  • Keeping Current on Kill-Switches. BoatUS Foundation. November 2006. Great article evaluates mechanical and virtual kill switches in on water tests.
  • Vehicle Backover Avoidance Technology Study. Report to Congress. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. U.S. Dept. of Transportation. November 2006. It has a companion report titled, Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of Available Backover Prevention Technologies. Sept 2006. DOT HS 810 634. The associated DOT Docket (NHTSA-2006-25579-0005) contains video of some of the testing. These are reports on possible use of devices to reduce vehicle backover accidents of children in driveways. The technologies and methods may be of interest to those developing virtual propeller guards as well as those working with similar visibility issues in houseboats and other larger vessels.
  • The Push to Reduce Propeller Strikes by Jim Flannery. Soundings Trade Only. July 2006. Discusses some of the new technologies including Virtual Lifeline from MariTech and Mercury Marine’s detection efforts. It also includes some broad statistics for prop strikes by activity.
  • Propeller Injury Awareness Brochure. First published by USCG in 2006, this is the 2009 version. PGIC notes – we appreciated being invited to comment on a rough draft version of the brochure and to have several of our ideas incorporated into the final version. USCG seems to move this file around pretty frequently so you may need to search for it.
  • Methods Used During Gross Necropsy to Determine WaterCraft-Related Mortality in the Florida Manatee (Trichechus Manatus Latirostris). Jessica D. Lightsey, Sentiel A. Rommel, Alexander M. Costidis, and Thomas
    D. Pitchford. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Vol. 37. No.3. (Sept. 2006). Pgs. 262-275. An abstract is available online.
  • Evaluation of Propeller Cuts Documented in Right Whale Necropsy; Field No.: DVS 2006-04747. by James L. Wood. Lumatrex. 31 Aug 2006. Another prop cut analysis paper.
  • Funtime vs. Gonzales: A Case Study in the Cooperation and Coordination Between Law Enforcement and the Marine Investigator Industry. by Mark D. Homes. Technical Information Exchange for Marine Professionals (a BoatUS group). Vol.22 No.2. (July 2006). Pgs. 9-10. Reports on a rental pontoon boat propeller injury case from the standpoint of marine investigators and the legal defense team representing Funtime. (also see article below)
  • Funtime v. Gonzales reported in MRA. by Mark Holmes of McKasson, Klein & Homes LLP. MRA Legal Corner. Marina Nautical News and Issues. Marina Recreation Association (a western states marina organization). Summer 2006. The author’s legal firm represented Funtime (rents pontoon boats) in a propeller strike case based on a Spring Break 2004 prop accident on Lake Havasu. The boat rental operation (Funtime) was found to not be liable for the accident due to several issues they put forward, including warnings and people being outside the fence when underway. (also see article above)
  • Analysis of Propeller Cuts Documented in Right Whale Necropsy” EgNEFL0602 by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. 27 Jan 2006. Another prop cut analysis paper. He points out propeller diameters range from 3 to 5 percent of the total length of a vessel depending on vessel type.
  • “Prop Guards Are a Subject That Seems to Live Forever” by Ralph Lambrecht, Boat & Motor Dealer. Sept/Oct 2006. Pgs. 6 & 8. Mr. Lambrecht reports “there is no question that a guard surrounding the propeller would mitigate these injuries” referring to accidents when the boat is virtually standing still, or has just been put in gear or while people are around the swim platform. He mentions the problems normally listed with traditional guards when underway at higher speeds (performance, handling, fuel efficiency), grants possible use on slower moving vessels like non-planing houseboats, and mentions some other approaches to the problem (kill switches, proximity devices on the operator and passengers, swim ladder switches, swim ladder placement), and an upcoming round of Coast Guard tests. The article does greatly underestimate the current accident stats, probably using Event 1 data only (see our Propeller Accident Statistics page).
  • “Industry Critics Say Kill Switch Rule is Overkill” by Melanie Winters, Soundings Trade Only. October 2006. Pgs. 52-53. In an effort to reduce propeller strikes from circling, riderless boats after the operator has fallen overboard, the U.S. Coast Guard is considering requiring the installation of an engine cutoff device (kill switch) on boats under 26 feet, even though it is standard equipment on most boats of that size. The article discusses the tabling on a 2001 proposal to require propeller guards due to a cost benefit analysis indicating there were not enough fatalities to justify the requirement of guards per John McKnight of the NMMA, who also mentioned driveability issues. It also mentions related resolutions from NBSAC, and the creation of a Product Interface Committee to address these issues by the ABYC, efforts by SPIN, and several other points surrounding the use of propeller injury avoidance devices.


  • “Repeatability of Methods of Propeller Cut Analysis Using Photographs of Cuts and Scars on Carcasses of Living Animals”. James L. Wood. Wildlife Foundation of Florida. 12 December 2005. Florida Oceans Tag Grant #DFO 0506-02. In efforts to determine the size and types of vessels involved in manatee propeller strikes, a test was ran to determine if some high school students with minimal training could estimate the diameter and number of blades of the propeller causing the injury from photographs of scars on the manatees. (this might well also be applied to humans hit by unknown boats).
  • Forestry & Environment Department Order. 25 November 2005. No. 770 Cuttack, Saturday 3 June 2006. The Orisasa Gazette (India). Order No. 20161-EE-37/2004-F&E. Propeller Guards are immediately required on all boats in Chilika Lake in Orissa to prevent further strikes of rare Irrawady dolphins.
  • Characterising and Interpreting Watercraft-Related Wounds in Florida Manatees: A Retrospective Analysis of Florida Manatee Mortality Data for Evidence of Deaths Attributable to (Very) Large Vessels, 1990-1999. Final Report to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville FL. by T.D Pitchford, S.A. Rommel and M.E. Pitchford. 2005. Another prop cut analysis paper.
  • “Designing an Intelligent Propeller Safety System” by Bram van der Vlist of Eindhoven University of Technology. October 2005. Includes a literature review of ways to detect the presence of a human body, a survey of potential users, graphics illustrating the ways people come in contact with a propeller, and a system utilizing a wearable “tag” to detect if a person is in the water, how far they are from the propeller, and take appropriate action, as well as a discussion of how the system should “look and feel”. We are proud to have participated in this student project.
  • “Prop of a Different Twist” DIY Boat Owner Magazine. 2005 #3 issue reports on some performance, fuel efficiency and “submerged object” testing of RingProp propellers. In Australia, they hit some sheep carcasses submerged in the water with RingProp and conventional propellers at various speeds. Its a bit of a marketing article, but still includes some good information.
  • Australia’s Workplace Health and Safety Amendment Regulation (1) 2005 – Regulatory Impact Statement for SL 2005 No. 70 is the official regulatory impact statement for the proposed Propeller Guard regulations for commercial dive boats. See Adobe pages 45 to 49 and the entry below. The study reports changing propeller pitch and other features greatly reduced the drop in operating efficiency of propeller guards. The study also puts forth the idea of installing the prop guard at the diving site and leaving it off when running full throttle out to the site to maintain top speed and reduce fuel consumption.
    • Regulatory Impact Statement of Proposed Regulation of Occupational Underwater Diving Work by the Queensland Australian government dated July 2004 reports on the impact of their proposal to require propeller guards on dive boats for commercial operations (harvest fishing, underwater construction, etc). University of Queensland was engaged to “determine the extent of decreased fuel efficiency various propeller guards have on different sized outboard engines. This data along with many other thoughts and comments are presented, along with cost estimates. Most of the propeller guard related comments are on Adobe Acrobat page numbers 34 to 37. This is the study mentioned by RingProp in a 20 May 2004 document about the University of Queensland (Australia) being commissioned by the Queensland government to commence trials of various propeller guards with the trials being conducted off Stradbroke and Heron Islands.
  • Drowning Prevention Strategy 26 Aug 2005, New Zealand. Some of the types of agencies, methods and approaches might be useful in formulating a plan to reduce U.S. propeller injuries.
  • Management of Extremity Trauma and Related Infections Occurring in the Aquatic Environment. by Greer E. Noonburg MD. Journal Amercian Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Vol.13 No.4. July/August 2005. Pgs. 243-253. Available from High Wire.
  • Characteristics of Water Skiing-Related and Wakeboarding-Related Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments in the United States, 2001-2003. by Sarah Grim Hostetler, Todd L. Hostetler, Gary A. Smith, and Huiyun Xiang. American Journal of Sports Medicine. July 2005. Vol.33. Pgs. 1065-1070. AJSM provides an online abstract.
  • Preventing Boat Propeller Injuries by Valeri Giles, published by 8 July 2005. This basic boating safety article also focuses on the safe operation of Personal Water Craft (PWCs). It also mentions the interest of the National Childrenís Center for Rural and Agricultural Safety in this area.
  • “The Safety Campaign for the Prevention of Boat and Propeller Accidents”. by Sergio Discepolo and Manuela Bonacina, Dan Europe Communications. Published in Alert Diver. 2nd Quarter 2005.
  • Evaluation of USCG Cutter Point Francis Propeller Strike on Right Whale Calf: Field Number : RKB-1424 by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. Another propeller cut analysis paper.
  • NEIT for Right Whale Recovery Meeting Presentation by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. 5 April 2005. Power Point Presentation. Summarizes two projects involving propeller cut analysis.
  • Proposal for the Preparation of a Technical Report Documenting Methods of Propeller Cut Analysis Based on the Use of Photographs of Cuts and Scars on Carcasses and Living Animals. by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. 3 April 2005.
  • Evaluation of Propeller Strike on Right Whale 2425 off Cumberland Island, Georgia on 10 March 2005. by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. Draft Dated 3 April 2005. An analysis of the propeller cuts to determine the characteristics of the vessel, prop and situation that caused it, similar to that done on manatees by others.
  • Causes and Prevention of Boating Fatalities. Peter J. O’Connor and Nina O’Connor. Accident Analysis and Prevention. Vol.37. July 2005. Pgs. 689-698. Article reports the investigation of 333 boating deaths in Australia from 1992-1998. Propeller deaths are not specifically cited, but many of the methods and discussions will be helpful to to those analyzing boating accidents. Available from Elsevier.
  • “Stress” a radio segment aired on Radio Lab, a New York National Public Radio program, on 11 Feb 2005. The program addresses the “stress” that occurs from being struck by a propeller by getting an individual to talk about what it was like. The program is a bit irreverent at times, but the propeller injury segment is pretty “matter of fact”. Coby Hall (spelling uncertain) describes being hit by the propeller of a ski boat that seems to have been left slightly in reverse. He was preparing to ski and it backed into him while the boat operator was tending to the ski rope. The accident occured in Vermont on a July 4th weekend (year not certain). The actual audio of the interview is online as part of the The episode titled “Stress”.It begins at about 5 minutes: 5 seconds on the timer and ends at about 12 minutes: 40 seconds giving it a run time of about Seven and a half minutes. You may need to “scoot” your browser our of the way to see the audio timer, then adjust it using the slider. The online sound file is of excellent quality.


  • PropGuard. Propeller Magazine (New Zealand). June-July 2004. Review of PropGuard built by Safe Marine Ltd. for outboards.
  • Drowning, Near-Drowning and Other Water-Related Injury: Literature Review and Analysis of National Injury Data. Report to Accident Compensation Corporation. May 2004. New Zealand. Section 5.1.2 covers Propeller Injuries. It is on pages 41-43. The report provides interesting statistics from several other studies.
  • Scientific Evaluation of a Sediment Fill Technique for the Restoration of Motor Vessel Injuries in Seagrass Beds of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Kamille K. Hammerstrom, W. Judson Kenworthy and Mark S. Fonseca. U.S. Dept of Commerce. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Ocean Service, National Center of Coastal Ocean Service, Center for Coast Fisheries and Habitat Research. 13 pages. 2004. This report begins on Adobe Page count 34 of this Seagrass report.
  • Research Connections: Growth and Innovation in New Zealand and an Institute of Technology May 2004. Page 11 (the last page) reports on a “Aqua Guard: a Performance Propeller Guard ” resulting from a previous project called Heat Stress Remedy. This project involves a joint proposal for a Kevlar reinforced propeller guard for standard outboard motors (Mercury, Honda). It is a Technology New Zealand project and an application is under development with Auckland University Dept of Engineering and Stainless Design Ltd of Hamilton.


  • Historical Evidence of Whale/Vessel Collisions in Hawaiian Waters (1975-Present). Marc Lammers, Adam Pack, Lisa Davis. OSI Techical Report 2003-01. August 19, 2003. Most of these collisions involve larger vessels and many resulted in propeller strike injuries to the whale.
  • Fault Tree Analysis for Assessing Propeller Guard Injury Prevention Effectiveness. Tyler A. Kress and Reid L. Kress (USA). Paper #387-022. Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference on Biomechanics. Rhodes, Greece. Jun 30 – July 2, 2003. Paper was presented on July 1. Published by International Association of Science and Technology for Development. Focuses on effectiveness of propeller guards by applying fault tree analysis techniques. Encourages further study to collect data on injury severity and frequency.
  • Safety First, Performance Last. Jeff Hemmel. Boating. Vol.76 No.5. (May 2003) Pg.142. Advises on selection and use of propeller guards.
  • Pandora’s Box? By Michael Verdon. International Boat Industry. Feb.-Mar. 2003. Pgs. 19-20. Mr. Verdon follows up on the Sprietsma vs. Mercury Marine case by interviewing representative of several firms, including Mercury Marine, the prosecuting attorney, NMMA, Volvo Penta, and me. He also reviewed the existing Coast Guard regulations (or lack there of). I appreciate his mention of our Virtual Propeller concept in the article as well as his quoting some of my thoughts about preemption blocking further improvements in propeller guards.
  • “Prop Guard Ruling is Bad News for Everyone; Dock Talk”. Trailer Boats. February 2003. Report on the Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine ruling.
  • Epidemiology of Non-Submersion Injuries in Aquatic Sporting and Recreational Activities. D.J. Chalmers and L. Morrison. Sports Medicine. 2003. Vol.33. No.10. Pgs. 745-770. This lengthy article points out many water activity dangers (including prop injury) are relatively poorly documented and risk studies are almost non-existent. Some approaches to the propeller problem might be better formulated after reading this article. PubMed has an Abstract. Full text is available from EBSCO.
  • Recreational Boating Safety. USCG Proceedings of the Marine Safety Council. The Coast Guard Journal of Safety at Sea. Summer 2003. Vol.60. No.3. Nice overview of the USCG Recreational Boating Safety programs and people. Includes almost nothing on propeller safety. Note this issue was updated in a Fall 2010 issue of USCG Proceedings.
  • Estimating Mortality Rates of Adult Fish from Entrainment through the Propellers of River Towboats. Steve Gutreuter. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 2003. Vol.132 Pgs. 646-661. They trawled while following towboats to recover a fraction of the kills and used a diffusion model to estimate the fraction collected, then extrapolated to determine the total number of kills for several different species. Note – a related article was published in 2001.
  • Propeller Guards and Alternative Propulsion. Charlotte Harbor Magazine. Jan. 2003. A nice review of the current situation was once also online at Prop Guards and Alternative Propulsion Water Life magazine (water activities magazine for Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay FL) January 2003.
  • Propeller Guards, Again. Boat & Motor Dealer. Marine Service Technicians Corner. Ralph Lambrecht. Jan/Feb 2003. Pgs. 33 & 37. This article is a follow up to his article a few years ago and references the recent Mercury Marine law suit. Mr. Lambrecht seems to think the various guard designs proposed in the past have flaws and problems and does not see them being implemented in the future as a result of the case. He does not mention or Virtual Propeller Guard concept. He goes on to wonder what people were doing when they were thrown from the boat and does not anticipate individuals eventually winning these suits for injuries / deaths. He says, “No one has been able to repeal the laws of physics or mechanics to design a low-drag propeller guard that is soft, fat and strong regardless of claims.”
  • Supreme Court Rules in Propeller Guard Case. Boat U.S. Government Affairs. BoatUS Magazine. January 2003. Reports the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal preemption as a defense in the Sprietsma propeller case (Rex Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine) involving a lady being struck and killed in 1995. She fell from a ski boat and was struck by the propeller of its outboard motor. The article includes comments from Joe Pomeroy of Mercury Marine, Capt. Scott Evans Chief of Boating Safety for the U.S. Coast Guard, and Marion Cruz, long time propeller safety advocate.
  • Propeller Injury Intervention. U.S Coast Guard article discusses various types of guards and accessories. Was probably written in 2003.
  • Propeller Guard Manipulation on the Reduction of Secondary Pressure Waves and Turbidity Levels. Paul Gregory Mueller, 17, Hilton Head High School, Hilton Head, South Carolina. 2003 Intel ISEF Government and Industry Awards. U.S. Coast Guard for Projects That Relate to Boating and Water Safety. Honorable Mention Award of $100. Project Number EV111.


  • National Public Radio (NPR). All Things Considered. 3 December 2002. Nina Totenberg reporting recap of Boating Safety Act, Interview w/ Rex Sprietsma (husband of victim in Sprietsma case), Joe Pomeroy of Mercury Marine, and Leslie Bruckner attorney (represented Sprietsma). Document is a VIDEO available from Video Monitoring Services of America. Lexis Nexis has summary.
  • National Public Radio (NPR). Morning Editions. Alison Aubrey reporting from Washington: Supreme Court on Sprietsma propeller case. Interview withg Leslie Bruckner with Trial Lawers for Public Justice, Josh Forest with Maritime Law Association and Richard Epstein with University of Chicago Law School. Document is a VIDEO available from Video Monitoring Services of America. Lexis Nexis has summary.
  • Prop Guards Propelled to Supreme Court. by Elaine Dickinson. BoatUS Magazine. Sept. 2002. reports the Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine propeller case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It focuses on federal preemption. The article includes comments from Joe Pomeroy of Mercury Marine, and discusses some briefs filed in the case.
  • Assessing the Impact of Boat Propeller Scars on Fish and Shrimp Utilizing Seagrass Beds. by S.S. Bell, M.O. Hall, S. Soffian, and K. Madley. Ecological Applications. Vol.12 No.1 (2002) Pgs. 206-217. Available from Ingenta. This article was a follow up to:
    • Faunal Response to Fragmentation in Seagrass Habitats: Implications for Seagrass Conservation. S.S. Bell, R.A. Brooks, B.D. Robbins, M.S. Fonseca and M.O. Hall. Biological Conservation. Vol.100 No.1. July 2001. Pgs. 115-123. Published by Elsevier.
  • Mortality and Morbidity in White Water Rafting in New Zealand. David O’Hare, David Chalmers, N. Adele Arnold, and Frances Williams. Injury Control and Safety Promotion. 2002. Vol.9 No.3 Pgs. 193-198. Although the paper does not focus on propeller injuries, many of the methods and approaches used may be helpful in analyzing propeller injuries. Paper is available for EBSCO. Mr. Chalmers went on to write a related American Journal of Sports Medicine article in 2003.
  • Damaging Strikes. Jay Hopkins. Flying. Vol. 129 No.8. Pg. 53 (4 pages). Coverers AIRPLANE propeller strike injuries and risks.
  • Manatees, Bioacoustics and Boats American Scientist. Mar/Apr 2002. Edmund Gerstein describes a Bioacoustic manatee alarm (manatee hears it) and the use sound activated light sticks (boaters see them). Several studies related to the manatee alarm are on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission site.


  • The Federal Boat Safety Act Preempts State Laws in Claims for Propeller Strike Injuries: Lady v. Neal Glaser Marine, Inc.. Casenotes. Terri L. Bezdek. Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law. Spring 2001. Page 211.
  • Propeller Scarring in a Seagrass Assemblage: Effects on SeaGrass, Physical Processes and Response of Associated Fauna. by Amy Vanessa Uhrin. Masters Thesis for Master of Marine Science Biological Oceanography. University of Puerto Rico. Mayaguez Campus. 2001. Covers impact of propellers on SeaGrass. Available from Digital Dissertations.
  • Evaluation of Propeller-Induced Mortality on Early Life Stages of Selected Fish Species. Jack Killgore, Steve Maynord, Matthew Chan, Raymond Morgan II. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 2001 Vol.21. Pgs.947-955. Towboat propeller mortality was evaluated in a large circulating water channel. Five species of fish were tested. They were subjected to one or more shear stress levels. Mortality was a linear function of shear stress for all species and life stages. Probability of blade contact was approximately 10%, but only a few juvenile common carp displayed blade-type injuries. “Shear stress created from propeller jet velocities in navigable rivers can exceed 5,000 dynes/cm2 and is probably the primary force contributing to the mortality of ichthyoplankton …”. Note – a related article was published in 2003.
  • Collisions Between Ships and Whales. David Laist, Amy Knowlton, James Mead, Anne Collet, Michela Podesta. Marine Mammal Science. Vol.17 No.1 (January 2001). Pgs. 35-75. An exceptional historical study of ship – whale collisons, many of which resulted in propeller injuries to whales. Most the vessels are ships, not recreational boats. They record the type of ship, estimated speed and other variables to try to better understand the contributing factors. Many of the research techniques, and analysis methods used would be applicable to a similar historical study of human propeller injuries.
  • A Simple and Effective Method for Analyzing Propeller Marks on Manatee in Brevard County, Florida, USA. by James L. Wood of Lumatrex. 2001. An early prop cut analysis paper.


  • Seymour v. Brunswick on Final Law Exam. Torts II final exam. Gonzaga Law School Professor David K. DeWolf. Summer 2000. Professor DeWolf presented the facts behind Seymour v. Brunswick (a now well known propeller case) and asked his students to estimate the liability of Brunswick as one of the questions on his law exam. The exam and a sample answer were both posted online.
  • Prop Guard Regulation May Be Coming. Bob Duke. Boating Industry. June 2000. Pgs. 36-39. Nice summary of current status of the issue and interviews of several players on both sides.
  • Motorboat propeller injuries. Di Nunno N, Di Nunno C. Journal of Forensic Sciences. Vol.45 No.4. July 2000. Pgs: 917-919. Describes the case of an Albanian refugee killed by outboard engine propellers on rubber dinghy while illegally attempting to reach Italy. The multiple parallel, deep clear-cut injuries found was uncommon, but characteristic of propeller injuries. The authors said they were “typical and cannot be mistaken with those produced by sharp objects or shark bites”. Injury descriptions are vital for establishing the position of the victim with regard to the propeller that strikes them. PubMed has an abstract.


  • Propeller Injury Protection. U.S. Coast Guard Boating Circular 81. December 1999. Pgs. 4-5. Report on the study, “Injury Protection – An Evaluation of Commercially Available Devices”, the result of a grant to the Marine Technology Society. (G-OPB-3) U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Propeller Injury Protection: an Evaluation of Commercially Available Protection Devices. Office of Boating Safety. U.S. Coast Guard. April 26, 1999. Pgs. 13-15. (.pdf document). Discussion of the study above . Evaluates several devices with a 70 HP outboard, 90 HP outboard and 140 HP stern drive on four vessels.
  • Prop Guards Prevent Injuries. Dr. Robert A. Warren. Expertise, Inc. Boat & Motor Dealer. Nov. 1999. Pg. 44.
  • Propeller Guards: A Few Answers. Ralph Lambrecht. Marine Service Technical Corner. Boat & Motor Dealer. Sept. 1999. Pg.39. He reports recently reading of a professional athlete who fell over the bow when the boat his a wave and was killed by the prop. Then he goes on to recount typical objections to the use of propeller guards, focusing heavily upon the drag issue of conventional guards.
  • Homicide or Accident Off the Coast of Florida: Trauma Analysis of Human Remains. P.R. Stubblefield. Journal of Forensic Science. Vol.44 No.4. July 1999. Pgs. 716-719. Reports on a 1996 Florida Medical Examiner investigation of a body recovered by the Coast Guard suspected of being murdered or being hit by a propeller injuries, or both. PubMed has an abstract.
  • Prop-Buddy the Next Generation Propeller Guard. Hiromi Nakamura, Kari Chaney, Stacey Roberts. SNAME Southeast Section. 20 March 1999. 59 Pages. Paper on a propeller guard design. See #287 in SNAME list. See the similar listing below in 1998 for more information.
  • Propeller Scars On and Known Home Range of Two Orca (Orcinus Orca) in New Zealand Waters. Ingrid N. Visser. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 1999 Vol.33 Pgs. 635-642. Details information on two whales with deep scars “presumed to have been caused by boat propellers.” Includes several photos of the whales.
  • Alcohol-Influenced Recreational Boat Operation in the United States, 1994. Pamela Logan, Jeffrey Sacks, Christine Branche, George Ryan, Patricia Bender. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Vol.16 No.4. 1999. Pg. 278-282. PubMed has an abstract. Although propeller injuries are not specifically addressed, it is widely known alcohol is present in many propeller accidents. This is the definitive work in this area to date and will be useful to those pursuing information on this frequently contributing cause.


  • Prop Buddy: The Next Generation Propeller Guard. Stacy Roberts, Hiromi Nakamura, Kari Chaney. OCE 4541: Ocean Engineering Design. Florida Institute of Technology. Is listed as a 1998 Topic for this class. It was also available as a 1999 SNAME paper. They experimented with several variables on the ring portion of the Prop Budddy guard.
  • Propeller Injury Protection: An Evaluation of Commercially Available Protection Devices. A report of the Marine Technology Society. Prepared for Office of Boating Safety. United States Coast Guard. Prepared by Mancil W. Milligan and Jeffrey S. Tennant. October 1998. The availability of this report was announced and briefly summarized on pages 4 and 5 of USCG Boating Safety Circular #81 and full copies were said to be available through the U.S. Coast Guard. We contacted the U.S. Coast Guard at that time and were sent a copy (less page 29). This report is a follow up to a study published by the same group in 1997 that only evaluated propeller guards on paper. Much later we tracked down page 29 (very significant page as it discusses the effectivity of propeller warning signs) at MTS and they sent us a copy. We took the liberty of reproducing Page 29 here as it seems the page is extremely difficult to find. The report is discussed on Pages 13 to 16 of the 63rd NBSAC Meeting. It is also discussed in a April 26, 1999 Report Briefing presented at NBSC 63rd Meeting In April 1999. The briefing provided there used to be online as enclosure 2, but appears to no longer be online (we have a copy). The briefing is more difficult to understand and follow than the actual paper. The paper below is related to this paper.
  • An Assessment of Propeller Guards Designed for Inboard Vessels on Vessel Operation and Manatee Protection. Prepared by Mancil W. Milligan and Jeffrey S. Tennant for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Marine Resources Protected Species Management. June 1998. Focuses on guards for true inboards and evaluates them with respect to protecting people and manatees. This paper shares several concepts with the paper above.
  • Motorboat propeller injuries. Mendez-Fernandez. Annals of Plastic Surgery. Aug. 1998. Vol.41 No.2. Pgs. 113-118. Experience with nine propeller injuries are presented. PubMed has an abstract. Plus full text is now available in a Coast Guard docket.
  • 2 March 1998 CNN Newsday at Noon ET “Supreme Court Hears Product Liability Case” byline to Jeanne Meserve and Charles Biebauer. 19 year old Kathy Lewis was killed by a propeller and her family contend that propeller guards would have protected her. They are currently suing for the right to sue (to overcome Federal Pre-emption). Lexis Nexis has a summary.
  • 2 March 1998 WPRI (Rhode Island TV) Channel 12 Eyewitness News; Lewis propeller case against Brunswick. Interviews with Gary Lewis (the victim’s father, Donald Weinberg USCG Auxillary, David Hudson the family’s lawyer, and Vick Lewis the victim’s mother. Video Monitoring Services of America has the video. Lexis Nexis has a summary.
  • The Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 and Propeller Strike Injuries: An Unexpected Exercise in Federal Preemption. Amy P. Chiang. Fordham Law Review. November, 1999. Vol 68, Pg 487. This article is excerpted/republished in The Advocate in August 2000 by a group of Florida Trial Lawyers.
  • Boat-propeller related injuries – Texas 1997. JAMA Vol.279 No. 23. Jun 1998. Page 1858. Background data is online. Additional info on the same study is available in the Vol.47 No.17. May 8, 1998 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, titled Boat Propeller Related Injuries Texas 1997. The paper is also available at: Boat-Propeller-Related Injuries — Texas, 1997. MMWR 47(17);354-356 Publication date: 8 May 1998.
  • Boat Boarding Ladder Placement. James M. Miller and Brian C. Grieser. Miller Engineering. Ann Arbor Michigan. Prepared for the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). April 2, 1998. Focuses on proximity to propeller and related propeller safety issues. 12 megabyte download.
  • Propeller Guard Helps Boat Ply Shallow Waters. Tom Porch. The Columbus Dispatch. 3 Mar 1998. A product called Prop-Stop has three steel tines that extend beyond the propeller blades on the sides and underneath. It protects the propeller from rocks and debris when running in shallow water.
  • 2 March 1998 WTSP-TV (Tampa FL news) News at 5:30 PM Boat Propellers: The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case of an Oklahoma Couple whose daughter died from a propeller strike (Lewis case). Visuals include the young girl’s tombstone. Available from Video Monitoring Services of America. Summarized by Lexis Nexis.
  • 1 March 1998 CNN: CNN Sunday 7PM ET “Boating Tragedy Gaindsw Attention of U.S. Supreme Court” reports on the Lewis case. Includes interviews with her mother, her father and Donald Weinberg with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary. Summary available on Lexis Nexis.
  • Whose Law Is It Anyway? Does the Coast Guard’s Decision Not to Require Propeller Guards on Recreational Motorboats Bar Personal Injury Lawsuits Based on State Law? by Mary Elizabeth Phelan (now Mary Phelan D’Isa). 6 PREVIEW 335 (February 12, 1998).


  • Propeller Injury Protection: An Evaluation of the State of the Art of Recreational Watercraft Propulsion Systems. A report of the Marine Technology Society prepared for the Office of Boating Safety. United States
    Coast Guard. Prepared by Mancil W. Milligan and Jefferey S. Tennant. September 1997. Note – this group published a major follow up study in 1998.
  • Prop Guards: Do They Work, Are They Safe? by Jim Flannery. Soundings Trade Only. June 1997. Pgs. 58-59. This trade journal article reviews the status of recent investigations (the BSAC group and Florida lawmakers), propeller guards and related products on the market, injury statistics, and manatee issues.


  • Should ‘State of the Art’ Safety Be a Defense Against Liability. James Boyd & Daniel Ingberman. Discussion Paper 96-01. Written October 1995. Listed with the 1995 RFF papers. They had the full text online earlier, but is now only an abstract.
  • The Anatomy and Biomechanics of Experimentally Traumatized Human Cadaver Lower Extremity Components. David James Porta. Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. Dept of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology. School of Medicine. University of Louisville. Louisville Kentucky. 1 August 1996. This disertation discusses the 1990 OMC and Mercury Marine testing of propeller guards using cadaver legs by Kress. This section is on pages 148-166 of the dissertation (Adobe pages 167-185).
  • Resources for the Future. Discusses situations, including the Elliot v. Brunswick propeller guard case, where state of the art is used as a defense by manufacturers. Approx. 1996.
  • Volvo Penta Comments Surrounding the Koop / Jones Houseboat Accident. 29 Aug 1996 letter to USCG Docket 10299 comment #2025 including what some might see as a personal attack on the deceased (use of alcohol on the vessel).
  • An Underwater Impact Biomechanics Study to Evaluate a Boat Motor Cage-Type Propeller Guard as a Protective Device. T.A. Kress et. al. International IRCOBI Conference on Biomechanics of Impact. Dublin Ireland. Pgs. 353-361. 1996. This paper or one extremely similar to it is available online as part of USCG Docket 10299 comment # 2020. See PDF pages 9 to 17.
  • Impact Biomechanics of the Human Body. Tyler A. Kress. PhD Dissertation University of Tennessee, Knoxville. May 1996. Part 10: Biomechanical Effectiveness of a Safety Device: A Boat Motor Cage Type Propeller Guard. Pgs. 179-188. His dissertation based on the Mercury/OMC testing at SUNY.
  • Emilo’s Mom’ Revives Prop Guard Debate. Soundings. July 1996. The first page of this article is available as page 2 of USCG Docket 10299 comment # 2008.


  • Analysis of Watercraft-Related Mortalities of Manatees in Florida, 1979-1991. T.J. O’Shea, B.B. Ackerman, and H.F. Percival. Population Biology of the Florida Manatee. National Biological Service Information and Technology Report #1. Washington D.C., Pgs 259-268.
  • Marion de Cruz USCG Docket 10299 Response Comment #105. 1 July 1995. Contains several technical articles and reference materials concering propeller injuries, propeller guards, and related studies, as well as a 14 November 1994 presentation to NBSAC by her, Stacey Eppling, and Don and Carole Falvey. The entire document is approximately 119 pages in length.
  • Analysis of the Regulatory, Legal and Public Policy Issues Surrounding an Attempt to Commercialize a Safer Outboard Motor Propeller. Gary Eichenbaum. Spring 1995. Wharton College. A 70 page report. Online as comment #2017 in USCG Docket 10299.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Circular #77 “Propeller Accidents Involving Houseboats and Other Displacement Type Recreational Vessels”. Interestingly, this is the only circular missing from the collection made available online by the U.S. Coast Guard from 1989 to present. We copied Page 1 and Page 59 (the propeller accident pages) and put them into a pdf document.


  • “Scuba Diving”. in Sports Injuries, Mechanisms, Prevention and Treatment (a book). Scuba Diving section by R.L. Waltrip and N. Grace. F.H. Fu and D. A Stone editors. Published by Williams and Wilkins. 1994. Discusses scuba diver prop strike injuries.
  • Motorboat Propeller Injuries in Wisconsin: Enumeration and Prevention. Hargarten, Karlson, Vernick and Aprahamian. Journal of Trauma. Vol.37 No.2. Aug 1994. Pgs.187-190. PubMed has an abstract. The same article was also published by Journal of Safety Research. Vol.26. No.3. Autumn 1995. Pgs. 200-201. The full text is available with an introductory letter in U.S. Coast Guard Docket USCG-2001-10299-9.
  • Preventing Propeller and Boat Strike Accidents. U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Circular. June 1994. Pgs 1-2.
  • Propeller Safety Tips; Boating Safety. Trailer Boats. April 1994. list of propeller safety tips from Neal Mahan of Underwriters Laboratories.
  • “Prop-Mate” Trailer Boats. January 1994. Evaluation / review of the Prop-Mate propeller guard by Jim Barron of Trailer Boats magazine. They tested the polypropylene ring guard on a 24-foot Godfrey Sweetwater pontoon boat, powered by a 115-hp Mercury outboard. The guard has been said to improved boat handling at low and moderate speeds. They found it rather dramatically improved steering control on this pontoon boat, but resulted in a 2.7 mph loss of top speed (28.3 mph with out it, 25.6 mph with it) and some increased fuel consumption. The article repeatedly points out the device is being marketed as a handling improver, NOT as a safety device.


  • A Study of Boat and Boat Propeller-Related Injuries in the United States, 1991-1992. Christine M Branche-Dorsey, SM Smith and D. Johnson.Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, 1993 (report no. CG-D-12-93). Approx. 100 pages. This paper was also presented at The Second World Conference on Injury Control, Atlanta, GA. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1993:243. Our copy comes from a military technology site, DTIC. It is a large file and will take a long time on a dialup connection. It is also available from NTIS.
  • Inside Edition. WNYW-TV New York television. Bill O’Reilly anchor. 6 July 1993. Matt Meagher reports on dangers of boat propellers. Also mentioned are Jim Pree (disabled by a prop and sued Mercury marine), U.S. Marines and Disney used guards, Christine Fitzpatrick mother of a victim, Ben Kelley propeller injury reduction advocate with the Institute for Injury Reduction, Bryan Chadwell a propeller guard inventor, and the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. Text is on Lexis Nexis.
  • Injury analysis of Impacts Between a Cage-Type Propeller Guard and a Submerged Head. (See pages adobe pages 30 to 40 of this segment for the article.) Michael Scott, John Labra, Herbert Guzman, James Benedict, Harry Smith and James Ziegler. Biodynamic Research Corporation. 1993. 31st Annual Symposium. November 1993. Las Vegas. Better copies are available from SAFE Association. Our copy is from the 10299 Docket and was supplied to them by OMC.
  • Why Prop Guards Are Not the All-Purpose Answer to Boating Safety. Dick Snyder. Mercury Marine MerCourier (employee magazine). Vol. 7. No. 10. (December 1992 /January 1993) Pg. 5-6. Mercury responds to an “Insider Edition” broadcast that was critical of Mercury and OMC for not using propeller guards.


  • Government and Industry Action Needed to Curb Boat Propeller Injuries. Julie Gannon Shoop. Trial. Vol.28 No.12. (Dec 1992) Pg. 88.
  • The Anatomical Consequences of Underwater Impacting of Human Cadaver Legs with a Prop-Guarded Outboard Motor. David Porta, Peter Fuller, Tyler A. Kress, and John Snider. Poster presented at the 105th American Association of Anatomist Meeting. 1992. Abstract published in Anatomical Record. 1993. Supplement No.1. Pg.96.
  • Motorboat Propeller Injuries [monograph]. by S.P. Baker. Jon S. Vernick and Associates. The Johns Hopkins University Injury Prevention Center and The Institute for Injury Reduction. Sept 1992.
    This paper is available online as part of USCG Docket 10299 comment #106. (#106 begins on PDF page #102). It is also available as part of comment #1099 and as part of comment #500 (Hogan).
  • Underwriters Laboratories Offers Safety Tips for Avoiding Propeller Strikes. PR Newswire. 29 May 1992. Note – this list of tips may be the one repeated in Trailer Boats April 1994 article “Propeller Safety Tips (Boating Safety)”.
  • Recreational Boating Accident Statistical Methodologies. George Washington University study funded by a USCG grant. About 1992. The study tested and recommended use of National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data for accounting for unreported accidents because it provided the greatest benefit for the least cost.


  • Towed Watersports: Turning the Tide on Serious Injuries. by M. Gunderson. Pyhsician and Sportsmedicine. Vol.19 No.8. August 1991. Pgs. 130-136.
  • Do Propeller Guards Protect? The Physician and Sportsmedicine. Dec. 1991. Vol.19, No.12. Pg 26.
  • Nautical Accidents: Unique Injuries. G.A. Gomez, L.C. Martin, and M.R. Castro. Surgical Clinics of North America. Vol. 71. No. 2. Pgs. 419-432. 1991.
  • 1 August 1991 Business Law Brief “Defense Verdict After Settlement” reports on the McGrath v. Boston Whaler propeller injury suit in which a man lost both his legs after being thrown from a vessel in a high speed turn and being struck by the propeller. Yamaha (manufacturer of the engines) said it was not practical to “fix guards” (probably trying to say its not practical to affix them to their drives). During the trial, the plaintiff settled, the judge told the jury of the settlement, and the jury gave a unanimous verdict for the boat owner and the engine distributor on 10 May 1991. Lexis Nexis has a summary of this brief.



  • Waterskiing Injuries. by Larry R. Pedegana and Janice Lang. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. Vol.7 No.6. 1979. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989.
  • Experimental Evaluation of Prop-Guard, Inc. Motorboat Propeller Guard. F. Stern. Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, The University of Iowa, IIHR Limited Distribution Report No. 164, October 1989, 13 pp.
  • 1989 NBSAC Propeller Guard Subcommittee Report is online in the 10299 Docket as comment #146. This report is often touted by the defense in propeller injury cases. The makeup of the subcommittee and the process used to arrive at their conclusions, as well as how the final report was created is attacked by the plaintiffs. We later wrote about the process used to generate the report in, Behind the Scenes Analysis of the 1989 NBSAC Subcommittee on Propeller Guards.
  • Grisly Accidents Spark Campaign for Guards on Boat Propellers. Mike Williams. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 28 Sept 1989. Several accidents have increased the call for propeller guards.
  • Calling Out the Guard: Injuries Prompt Drive for Protective Cages on Boat Propellers. Sheryl James. Floridian. 4 Sep 1989. A group of Trial Lawyers calling themselves the “Institute for Injury Reduction” recently held two conferences on propeller injuries.
  • Propeller Guard segment. CBS This Morning. 31 August 1989.
  • As Motorboat Injuries Soar, Institute for Injury Reduction Demands U.S. Coast Guard to Protect Against Propeller Slashings. 20 July 1989 Press Release from Institute for Injury Reduction (IIR).
  • Outboard motor propeller injuries. Kutarski. Injury. Vol.20. No.2. Mar 1989. Pgs.87-91. Seven cases are examined from a medical standpoint. PubMed has an abstract.
  • Propeller guards for recreational boats: How many more injuries will it take to get them here. BR Hogan III. Trial. Published Washington D.C., March 1989. Vol.25, No.3. Page 56. Discusses Elliot vs. Brunswick and the need for propeller guards on recreational boats.
  • Outboard Motor Propeller Injuries. P.W. Kutarski of Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital, Woowich, U.K. published in Injury. March 1989. Vol.20. No.2. Pgs. 87-91. Reviews seven propeller injury cases and reviews the literature. Includes medical practices used to treat the wounds.


  • Struck by Boat or Propeller Manual Analysis of 1983-1987 Coast Guard Data. D.J. Kerlin. USCG. Unpublished data analysis. September 22, 1988.


  • Motorboat propeller injuries. C.T. Price and C.W. Moorefield. Journal of the Florida Medical Assoc.Vol.76 No.4. June 1987. Pgs.399-401.
  • The Feasibility of Propeller Guarding. Arthur M. Reed. July 1987. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989.
  • Boat Propeller Impact Injuries and Fatalities. Project 763584.20 Final Report. Edward S. Purcell and Walter B. Lincoln. U.S. Coast Guard Research & Development Center. 1 March 1987. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989.
  • The Technological Feasibility of Propeller Guarding for Pleasure Planing Craft. John G. Hill. February 10, 1987. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989.




  • Steering / Struck by Propeller Accident Study, 1983 Recreational Boating Accidents. by Gary Traub U.S. Coast Guard G-BP-1. December 18, 1984. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989.


  • Evaluation of Potential Management Strategies for the Reduction of Boat-Related Mortality of Manatees: Site-Specific Reduction of Manatee Boat/Barge Mortality Research Report No. 3: ii + 43. MF Kinnaird. 1983. Includes discussion of propeller guard designs.


  • Analysis of Propeller Wounds on Manatees in Florida. by C.A. Beck, R.K. Bonde and G.B. Rathbun. Journal of Wildlife Management. Vol.46. Pgs. 531-535. An early prop cut analysis paper.
  • Waterskiing-Related Injuries. by G. Hummel and B.J. Gainor. American Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol.10 No.2. (July-Aug 1982) Pgs. 215-218. Investigated injuries include propeller strikes inflicting “devastating battlefield-type wounds.” AJSM provides an abstract.
  • Remarkable Findings in the Criminal Dismemberment of a Corpse. by V. Schneider, H. Bratzke, and H. Maxeiner. Published in Z. Rechtsmed. 1982. Vol.89 No.2. Pgs. 131-143. Two legs and two arms were recovered at sea injuries indicated both criminal dismemberment and being hit by a propeller as independent events.
  • An Analysis of Civil Aviation Propeller-to-Person Accidents: 1965-79. William Collins, Angelo Mastrullo, William Kirkham, Deborah Taylor and Paul Grape all of the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City or the Office of Airworthiness FAA Washington DC. Published in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. May 1982. Pgs. 458-462. The aviation industry is faced with a similar problem and they collected and analyize data and took corrective measures. Much can be learned from this paper on a parallel problem. This article above was followed up with:
    • Review of Civil Aviation Propeller-to-Person Accidents 1980-1989. by W. E. Collins. study performed by Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City. Published Jan. 1993. Available from NTIS.



  • Propeller injuries incurred in boating accidents. R.J. Mann. American Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol.8 No.4. Jul-Aug 1980. Pgs.280-284. Information on 32 cases are presented. Bacteria, salt water and contamination are discussed. PubMed has an abstract.


  • Struck by Propeller Accidents 1978. K. Freund. USCG. submitted to U.S. Department of Transportation. 1979. One the early reports to introduce the “lack of data” issue. Also sometimes reported as the study below.
  • Struck by Propeller Accident Study. Al Marmo. U.S. Coast Guard. October 1979.
  • Review of State of the Art of Swimmer Protection from Outboard Propellers. by Robert Tagert. 16 Feb 1979. Cited by Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989. One of the first large scale reviews of the state of the art.
  • Epidemiology of Waterskiing Injuries. John V. Banta MD. Western Medical Journal. Vol.130. Pgs. 493-497. June 1979. Provides a medical review of individuals involved in four waterski accidents (three of the four involve propeller strikes). Includes photos not for the faint of heart. This paper was discussed in the 15 June 1979 issue of the Gridley Herald on page 3.



  • Causes and Mechanisms of Surgical Care in Propeller Injuries. M. Sabol. V. Rahelic and A. Rukavina. Acta Chir Iugosl. 1977; 24 Supplement 2:331-9. Serbo-Croation (Roman). Note- this reference is in Croation, not English. Medline has a Citation.


  • Propeller injuries. Mann. Southern Medical Journal. Vol.69 No,5. May 1976. Pgs.567-569. Information on nine cases and bacteria problems are discussed. PubMed has an abstract.
  • A Study of Propeller-Guards for High Speed Small Crafts. Tetsuo Takahei and Tetsuo Tagori. Journal of the Kansai Society of Naval Architects, Japan. The Society of Naval Architects and Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers. Vol.163 Pgs. 25-35. (4th quarter 1976). English Abstract. Note full text is available from a link near top right of the abstract page. You may have to save it to disk, then rename the file type to .pdf to view it. Designing propeller guards to reduce propeller damages from collisions with driftwood and other floating debris.
  • Power Performance of Planing Boats With the Effect of Propeller Selection and Propeller Guard Design. Daniel M. Ladd. a M.S. thesis from Oregon State University. 1976.



  • Speedboat propeller injuries. M.W. Sleight. British Medical Journal. 1974 Vol. 2. (May). Pgs.427-429. Full text available from


  • Injuries Caused by Ship Propellers. J. Batinica. Lijec. Vjesn. 1973. Sept. Vol.95(9). Pg. 509-512. Is abstracted by Medline. The article is in Croatian.




  • A Contribution to the Problem of Injuries Caused by Speed Boat Propellers. V. Sustic and L. Drescik. 1970. Lijec Vjesn. Vol.92. Pg. 663. Note this reference is probably in Croation.


  • High Speed Propeller Injuries of the Brain; Report of Two Cases. Frederick E. Jackson MC. USN, Cdr. American Journal of Surgery. Sept. 1965. Vol.110. No.3. Pgs. 473-476. Two cases resulting from waterski propeller strikes are discussed. Recommendations include use of an orange plastic helmet to increase visibility of skiers in the water.
  • On Propeller Injuries. by Bosch K. Keller F. Published in Dtsch Z. Gesamte Gerichtl Med. 1963. Vol. 53. Pgs. 97-107. Article is in German. Medline has a citation.

Propeller Injuries to Children

With some prompting from SPIN, we have been looking into children injuries involving propellers. We still have many thoughts to sort out, but are beginning to identify some references.

  • Demographics of Traumatic Amputations in Children: Implications for Prevention Strategies. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. May 2004. Pgs. 923-928. This study covers the classic children amputations: Lawn Mowers, Farming, Motor Vehicle, Train, Explosives, Burn, Boating, Gunshot Wound, etc. The study reviewed children receiving care at one upper midwestern U.S. hospital (Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis) from 1980-2000. Statistical analysis were performed. It does a nice job of placing propeller injuries to children in perspective with these other well known causes, and provides some suggestions for reducing traumatic amputations in children.
  • Psychological Adjustment in Children After Traumatic Disfiguring Injuries: A 12 Month Follow Up. MD Rusch, BK Grunert, JR Saner, WW Dzwierzynski, HS Matloub. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Vol.106 No7. (December 2000). Pgs. 1451-1458. Follows the psychological adjustment of 57 children, ages 3 to 12, that sustained mutilating injuries in the face, upper or lower extremities. Injuries were from boating, lawn mowers, home accidents, and dog bites.
  • Pediatric Trauma Caused by Personal Watercraft: A Ten Year Perspective. LE Rubin, PB Stein, C. DiScala, BE Grottkau. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Vol.38 No.10. October 2003. Pgs.1525-1529. (Available from Elsevier – Science Direct). Investigates 66 pediatric patients ages 5 to 19 hospitalized from PWC accidents. between 1990 and 1999. Although it investigates non propeller accidents (PWC accidents) its lays good groundwork for a similar propeller study.
  • Rehabilitation of Severely Injured Children. BM Gans and C DiScala. Western Journal of Medicine. Vol.154 No.5 (May 1991) Pgs. 566 – 568. Discusses typical injuries, methods and care of children with traumatic injuries.

There are some national databases that record traumatic injuries to children.

  • National Trauma Registry for Children (NTRC) by the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program. The University of Pittsburgh also has a site on the NTRC. It appears this database may not yet be operational?
  • Tufts- New England Medical Center had a National Pediatric Trauma Registry (NPTR)collecting data on children and adolescents, 19 years old and younger. But it appears to be gone now? We think they collected data from about 1985 to 2002. (probably till the operation above was launched?). At least some of the older data appears to be for sale online. They collected information on injured children admitted to 76 trauma centers around the United States
  • A Major Trauma Outcome Study (MTOS) was ran back in the 1980’s. Their may be some useful data in it.
  • Children’s Safety Network provides links to many injury databases and tools, some specific to children.

Other Children Propeller Accident Resources:

  • IP Online (Injury Prevention Online, a safety journal that provides full text of many of its articles for free
  • Trauma Link at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides several research tools in the area of children injuries.

Thoughts on Children Boating Participation Data

Recent propeller safety meetings have pointed out the continued absence of boating activity participation data in terms of age, sex, length of time in boat/water, type of activity, etc. There are some general participation numbers ( x million people boat at least once a year and y million people boat more than ten times a year), but not specifics that would be required in a good safety analysis. We continue to browse around for children participation frequency and time data. I seem to recall seeing some of this in the past, but cant seem to find it now. If you are aware of any data of this nature for children or adults (exposure frequency and length of exposure) please contact us.


  • Three-P-O Navigator ring/duct type propeller guard by Guy Taylor is covered in this 19 May 2006 news video from KUTV Channel 2 in Salt Lake City. The video runs about four minutes with footage from Lake Powell. The boat runs over large squash and a human dummy both with and without his guard at planing speeds. Navigator Prop Guard Video.
  • Propeller Guard Segment. Inside Edition by Matt Meagher. Aired 15 October 1992.
  • The video tapes below were referenced by the Report of the Propeller Guard Subcommittee NBSAC 7 Nov 1989. If anyone has access to these videos, we would be happy to digitize them and post them for access here. Please contact us if you have one or more of these videos.
    • Simulated Underwater Limb Impact Tests (SULIT). Mercury Marine. 1988. 21 minutes. A short clip of what may be this video was online on the State University of New York at Buffalo CRESE (Center for Research and Education in Special Environments) video page. It showed the guard in a water tank impacting a submerged, wired test dummy in the forehead.
    • Hirsch, Glover, Robinson & Sheiness, Hammonds vs. Yates Marine Corps Raiders (4 minutes), Guard Operation by Snyder (4 minutes), Mercury and OMC Log Jumps (4 minutes), Ehrhardt Cage Test “Wynne” (6 minutes).
    • Chadwell Propeller Device On-Water Tests. Mercury Marine. 8 minutes.
    • Sporting Life IRB’s. New Zealand. 25 minutes.
    • March 1989 San Diego Tests and March 1989 San Diego Tests, Bruton Tapes, Underwater Video, High Speed Film, Speed Runs.
    • Institute for Injury Reduction news conference release tape, propeller injuries/prop guards. June 1989.
    • Deposition of Dr. Charles Price. Dated 29 August 1989.
    • Propeller Guard Segment of “CBS This Morning”. Dated 31 August 1989.
    • Simulated Underwater Flesh Impact Test (Sausage Tests). Mercury Marine. 5 minutes.
    • Ben Hogan / Stunt Man Propeller Guard Tests. Conducted 9 August 1989. 2 tapes.
  • Thanks to our viewers, we also have copies of the videos below.