Yamaha Possible Coverup of Propeller Guard Documents Exposed

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

Yamaha Prop Guard Statements

In March 2012 Yamaha announced a new stainless steel propeller guard for outboards on flood rescue boats in the UK and made several statements about how great it was, how well it performed, and even how prop guards were necessary when people were in the water near the boat. About October we became aware of Yamaha’s new propeller guard. In mid October we began posting some materials about it and some of Yamaha’s own statements about their guard.

The boating industry has long defended itself in propeller injury court cases by claiming propeller guards don’t work. Among their objections, the industry claims guards create too much drag, reduce performance (top speed), effect the handling of the boat, are not durable enough, get bent into the propeller, and they create blunt trauma injuries when they strike people.

But Yamaha was making the exact opposite statements about their propeller guard. Yamaha said their guard worked great, minimized drag and performance reduction, improved handling, was strong and durable for use in shallow water, and guards were essential for operating rescue boats near people in the water.

Our mid October 2012 posts echoed several of Yamaha’s own comments.

By early November 2012, everything Yamaha ever said about the propeller guard AND all records of the guard’s existence vanished from their website. We made many attempts to contact Yamaha about why they pulled all of their materials about the propeller guard, but they will not respond. That leaves us to suspect Yamaha erased their statements to protect the boating industry’s long standing legal defense, “Guards don’t work”.

Among the many specific statements made and deleted by Yamaha about their propeller guard were: Read More →

Research Projects for Senior Design Classes, Masters Thesis Projects, Industrial Design & Other Researchers

Most college students in engineering and design take one or more design project classes, often a Senior Capstone Design Projects Class, in which they work individually or as teams to develop solutions to problems. We are trying to tap this resource and encourage students to consider selecting design projects related to propeller safety. More student design projects would help grow the body of knowledge available to the industry and to boaters. In addition to engineering and design students, we also welcome those from all fields and encourage them to consider projects in this area for their capstone classes. If you or others are interested in a college design class project or capstone project in propeller safety, propeller injury avoidance devices, or related fields, please view the projects listed below and contact us for additional assistance.

Propeller Guard

Propeller Guard

A few Masters and Doctoral students have written thesis and dissertations in this field. We strongly encourage Masters and Doctoral students looking for thesis and dissertation topics to contact us and discuss some of the possibilities available in their specific field of interest, as well as those looking for topics for scientific and technical papers.

We list of several possible boating propeller safety research projects below and will be posting more over time. Read More →

Tangmo killed by boat propeller in Thailand

Tangmo image courtesy Wiki-Drama

image courtesty Wiki-Drama

A beautiful young actress known as Tangmo (Nida Patcharaweeraphong, age 37) fell from a speedboat into the Chao Phaya River in Bangkok Thailand. Tangmo was on a restaurant trip with friends on Thursday February 24, 2022. Tangmo had been seated at the rear of the boat and fell in about 10:40pm. Early reports said 30 divers searched the area for her body.

The Tangmo Accident

Her body was recovered about 1 pm Saturday and found to have a large 30 centimeter long cut on her right thigh. An autopsy found she had drowned because there was mud (sand) in her lungs. The autopsy possibly caused by the boat propeller may have cut into a major artery. The cut could have limited Tangmo’s ability to help herself. Examiners could not determine if the leg cut was before or after her death.

A forensic expert said sand was found in Tangmo’s lungs indicating she was still breathing when she fell into the river. They said that due to movement of the Chao Phraya River, sand particles become suspended in the water. As a result, people do not have to hit the bottom of the river to have sand in their lungs.

Police removed the boat propeller for examination. On Wednesday they re-attached the propeller for a re-enactment of the accident. But the propeller fell off the boat as soon as it was started. Police lost the propeller of the speedboat about 6pm Tuesday March 2nd during a re-enactment of her death.

Mercury Verado outboard less propeller<br>image courtesy Bangkok Post

Mercury Verado outboard less propeller. Image courtesy Bangkok Post

As seen above, the outboard motor was a Mercury Marine Verado outboard. News reports indicate the boat was a Cobalt. Read More →

Yamaha Patent Application: Propeller Status Indicator Lights

Back in April 2014, Brunswick was issued U.S. Patent 8,803,711 for what eventually became Mercury’s Moving Propeller Alert device. It uses several LED lights to display a rotating pattern when the propeller is turning and the boat is stationary or barely underway. Mercury has on online brochure.

Now, in 2022, Yamaha’s U.S. Patent for a related device was printed by the US Patent and Trademark office as US Patent Application 2022/0106028 published April 7, 2022.

Yamaha cites the Brunswick patent as prior art and claims two improvements:

1. They provide a means to place to device directly on the back of the outboard motor.
2. They can provide additional information about the status of the outboard via the lights. Read More →

Ethan’s Story: Importance of engine cut-off switches

Ethan Issacs’ family created a great video about their wonderful son, Ethan, who is no longer with us. Ethan lost his life because a youth sailing coach failed to attach their boat engine kill switch lanyard.

In the video, the local Sarasota Florida police department recounts that day. (See our initial coverage of the accident.)

His family dropped Ethan and his brother off at the sailing school that Saturday morning, just like any other weekend.

We encourage everybody to wear their kill switch lanyard or virtual lanyard.

Watch this video on YouTube.

A big thanks to all who assisted with this video:

  • Mindy, Ethan’s mother
  • Greg, Ethan’s father
  • Tanner, Ethan’s brother
  • Linda, Ethan’s grandmother
  • Van, Ethan’s grandfather
  • Krish & Aadi two of Ethan’s classmates from Pine View School for the Gifted
  • Officers Ron Dixon and Michael Skinner of the Sarasota Police Marine Patrol
  • All those on the other side of the lens that made this video possible.

Special thanks to Officers Dixon and Skinner for their assistance to Ethan that day, and for being willing to relive those moments for this video.

It is very timely releasing this video now with National Boating Safety week and the Memorial Day Holiday are almost upon us.

Please forward a link to this page or directly to the YouTube video to your boating friends.

Be Safe Out There!

Read More →

Prevent Unauthorized Operation of Rental Boats Invention

Our invention eliminates / stops / prevents unauthorized individuals from operating rental boats during the rental period, sometimes called nonauthorized operation

The disclosure below of our invention to Prevent Non-Authorized Operation of Rental Boats was posted on February 8, 2022. We will make no changes to the text below the line following this paragraph except to correct misspellings, punctuation, and to update html/computer codes and links. Any updates to the invention itself will be posted below the invention disclosure.

This invention disclosure was posted February 8, 2022.


Boat rental operations typically require one or more individuals to check in at the facility, designate what kind of boat they want and how long they want it (reservations are sometimes made earlier), sign rental documents, pay for the rental, agree to pay for fuel used when they return, receive some instruction in how to operate the boat and its systems, receive safety instructions, sign disclaimers, and verify the condition of the propeller before they take off.

Marinas and rental facilities typically require those who will be operating the boat to sign up as operators, provide their drivers license, meet certain requirements such as be sober, don’t drink or do drugs while operating the boat, meet rental requirements of that state, and receive some onsite instruction and/or previously watch a video.

Non-authorized Users Operate Rental Boats

During the rental period, non-authorized operators often operate the boat. While authorized or non-authorized operators may be at the helm during an accident, we have seen several rental boat propeller accident cases in which a non-authorized operator was at the helm. They may:

  1. Have previously planned to be an operator but did not complete the pre arrival training, the on site training, or meet specific requirements to be an authorized operator.
  2. Just decide to drive a while because they want to, or to give someone a break.
  3. Arrived in the middle or end of a multi day rental.
  4. See what they perceive to be a dangerous situation developing and immediately take action by operating the boat
  5. Be young children or mentally challenged individuals that just happen to have access to the keys or some other means to start the boat.
  6. Be individuals that were not part of your party that somehow wound up on your vessel.
  7. Not know they are non-authorized operators. They think it is fine for anybody to operate the boat and no one instructed them differently.
  8. Consider themselves to be the most capable driver at the moment due to alcohol consumption by authorized operators
  9. Be Law Enforcement professionals, Lake Rangers, Lake Patrol, County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department rescue personnel, other first responders, good samaritans, marina staff, or others with legitimate needs to operate the rental vessel.

The Problem to be Solved

Prevent unauthorized operators from operating rental vessels. Read More →

Malibu moves for new verdict / new trial in Batchelder

Malibu Boats filed for a Judgement Not Withstanding the Verdict (JNOV) on September 7, 2021 in the Batchelder vs. Malibu case regarding the $200 million verdict with about $140 million being against them.

Ryan Batchelder clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

Ryan Batchelder
clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

Malibu says,

To the extent that the verdict and judgment impose successor liability on Malibu Boats for the actions of Malibu Boats West, Inc.—which is contrary to law and fact—Malibu Boats also moves for entry of JNOV or in the alternative for a new trial with respect to the verdict and judgment entered against Malibu Boats West, Inc.

Read More →

Boat Accident Trials: Harsh Forum Comments on Verdicts

Boni Buehler as a stewardess

Boni Buehler, high profile boat propeller accident trial
resulting from a 1953 boat accident

Some thoughts for those who tend to offer snap judgements about what happened in boating accidents along with what should have happened in jury trials.

When we read about boating cases/trials in online boating forums, we naturally want to weigh in on what we think happened in the accident. In addition, we also want to weigh in on the findings of the court / Jury.

Themes typically brought up in an online boating forum discussion of a Boat Accident case / trial often include:

  • The McDonalds coffee case.
  • Remington model 700 rifle trigger cases & the Remington Sandy Hook case.
  • My car tires do not have guards on them.
  • Lawyers are blood suckers looking for deep pockets.
  • The boat operator is a drunken, high on drugs, irresponsible, idiot.
  • The boat operator is 100 percent at fault.
  • I can’t understand how the Jury could assign that high of a percentage of fault to the boat builder.
  • The boat operator should have (insert commenter’s proposed actions).
  • It is sad the person is deceased, but they should have (insert commenter’s proposed actions).
  • The jury was packed with bleeding heart city folks that know nothing about boating.
  • Nobody takes responsibility for their actions anymore.
  • You can sue anybody for anything.
  • Jury was full of morons.
  • We already have too many warning labels, and now they want more
  • Are they going to put a warning on (fill in the blank with something ridiculous) now?
  • This case is an example of why boats and everything else have become so expensive.
  • This award will be struck down on appeal.

The common theme is many comments are harsh negative comments about the boat operator, the injured or deceased person, the lawyers, and the jury.

Read More →

Malibu Boats loses 200 million dollar jury trial

Parties in the Batcheler vs. Malibu Boats Legal Case / Trial in Georgia.

  • Stephan Paul Batchelder & Margaret Mary Batchelder (parents of Ryan Batchelder, deceased).
  • Dennis Ficarra (operator of the boat and Ryan’s great uncle).
  • Malibu Boats West.
  • Malibu Boats LLC.

The Trial Jury verdict / award 28 August 2021

Ryan Batchelder

Ryan Batchelder

  • $5 million for life of Ryan Batchelder.
  • $75 million for pain and suffering of Ryan Batchelder.

This total of $80 million was divided between Dennis Ficarra being 75 percent at fault, Malibu Boats West 10 percent at fault, and Malibu Boats LLC 15 percent at fault.

In addition to these findings, the jury found for punitive damages.

  • Malibu Boats West for punitive damages in the amount of $40 million dollars.
  • Malibu Boats LLC for punitive damages in the amount of $80 million dollars.

Making the award / verdict total of $200 million dollars. posted a copy of the actual Batchelder vs. Malibu Jury verdict form.

Read More →

USCG releases Recreational Boating Statistics 2020

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2020

USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2020

U.S. Coast Guard released their annual 2019 recreational boating accident statistics report on 30 June 2020.

Total number of accidents, injuries, and deaths were up significantly in 2020.

2020 USCG BARD reported accident statistics were 5,265 accidents, 3,191 injuries, and 767 deaths

2019 USCG BARD reported accident statistics were 4,168 accidents 2,559 injuries, and 613 deaths.

The email USCG sent out announcing the new statistics included the statement below about the significant increase in accidents, injuries, and deaths.

“The Coast Guard is still analyzing data, but believes that the primary driving factor for the significant increase in deaths was a significant increase in boating activity. There is evidence that boating activity rose significantly during the pandemic, from reports of increased boat sales, insurance policies taken out, insurance claims, and calls for towing assistance.”

Continued reading of USCG’s announcement states not only was boating activity up, but the number of deaths per 100,000 registered vessels was up 25 percent over 2019 as well.

At previous U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) meetings we have heard an increasing portion of accidents in previous years is due to the increasing popularity of non-powered vessels (kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, etc).

Similarly, propeller accidents, injuries, and deaths were considerably up in 2020.

2020 USCG BARD reported 247 propeller accidents, 241 injuries, and 39 deaths.

2019 USCG BARD reported 171 propeller accidents, 155 injuries, and 35 fatalities.

Propeller accidents were noticeably up in 2020 (up from 171 in 2019 to 247 in 2020) Read More →

Hank Cherry, Mercury, & Bass Cat win 2021 Bassmaster Classic

Congratulations to Hank Cherry for winning the Bassmaster Classic Sunday 13 June 2021.

The Classic was delayed this year due to the virus.

Hank is actually a repeat back to back winner as he won in 2020.

The tournament was on Lake Ray Roberts with the Weigh In in Fort Worth.

John Cherry wins 2021 Bassmaster Classic

John Cherry wins 2021 Bassmaster Classic – Bassmaster image

The Classic Confetti photo at Day 3 Weigh In on Sunday

John Cherry & photographer on Day 3 2021 Bassmaster Classic - Bassmaster photo

John Cherry & photographer on Day 3 2021 Bassmaster Classic – Bassmaster photo

A nice photo a Hank Cherry driving his Bass Cat powered by a 250 horsepower Mercury Pro X/S Outboard.

Trip Weldon (left) & Dave Mercer Bassmaster image

Trip Weldon (left) & Dave Mercer Bassmaster image

A huge thanks to these two men for making the Bassmaster Classic weigh ins so interesting and enjoyable the last several years.

Mercury posted a nice image of several of their outboards in the 2021 Bassmaster Classic on their Facebook page.

Mercury Marine Facebook Image - 11 June 2021 Bassmaster Classic

Mercury Marine Facebook Image – 11 June 2021 Bassmaster Classic

Bassmaster Classic 2021 Mercury Marine Supporting Their Anglers - Mercury Marine FaceBook image 13 June 2021

Bassmaster Classic 2021 Mercury Marine Supporting Their Anglers – Mercury Marine FaceBook image 13 June 2021

Mercury Marine encouraging their anglers the final day of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic.

Feasel propeller case heard by Utah Supreme Court

On June 30, 2012 Mr Feasel and Mr Martinez were fishing. They were in a Tracker bass boat powered by a Mercury Marine outboard motor on a Utah reservoir. The boat swerved and both men were ejected. The unmanned boat circled in the Circle of Death. Mr. Feasel, the passenger, was repeatedly struck the propeller.

Feasel Case Before UT Supreme Court

Feasel Case Before Utah Supreme Court 12 May 2021

While additional issues were raised in the legal case arising from this accident, this post purely focuses on warnings.
Read More →