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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 →

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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 →

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Kill Switch regulation Coast Guard News Release

Example of a Circle of Death warning

Example of a Circle of Death warning

Kill Switch Regulation Details announced by U.S. Coast Guard today, 10 March 2021.

USCG News Release

News Release
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
Contact: Headquarters Public Affairs
Headquarters online newsroom

U.S. Coast Guard Announces New Law Requiring Use of Engine Cut-off Switches

WASHINGTON – Operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length will be required to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL) as of April 1, 2021, as the U.S. Coast Guard implements a law passed by Congress.

The ECOS and ECOSL prevent runaway vessels and the threats they pose. The ECOSL attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is displaced from the helm. The ECOSL is usually a lanyard-style cord that attaches to an ECOS either in close proximity to the helm or on the outboard motor itself if the vessel is operated by a tiller. When enough tension is applied, the ECOSL disengages from the ECOS and the motor is automatically shut down. Wireless ECOS have recently been developed and are also approved for use. These devices use an electronic “fob” that is carried by the operator and senses when it is submerged in water, activating the ECOS and turning the engine off. Wireless devices are available on the aftermarket and are beginning to become available as manufacturer-installed options.

Each year the Coast Guard receives reports of recreational vessel operators who fall or are suddenly and unexpectedly thrown out of their boat. These events have led to injuries and deaths. During these incidents the boat continues to operate with no one in control of the vessel, leaving the operator stranded in the water as the boat continues on course, or the boat begins to circle the person in the water eventually striking them, often with the propeller. These dangerous runaway vessel situations put the ejected operator, other users of the waterway, and marine law enforcement officers and other first responders in serious danger.

Section 503 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 required manufacturers of covered recreational boats (less than 26 feet in length, with an engine capable of 115 lbs. of static thrust) to equip the vessel with an ECOS installed as of December 2019. Owners of recreational vessels produced after December 2019 are required to maintain the ECOS on their
vessel in a serviceable condition. It is recommended that recreational vessel owners regularly check their existing ECOS system to ensure it works, following manufacturer’s instructions.

Section 8316 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 requires individuals operating covered recreational vessels (less than 26 feet in length, with an engine capable of 115 lbs. of static thrust; 3 HP or more) to use ECOS “links.” Using the ECOSL is required only when the primary helm is not within an enclosed cabin, and when the boat is operating on plane or above displacement speed. Common situations where ECOSL use would not be required include docking/trailering, trolling and operating in no-wake zones.

The Coast Guard believes that the overwhelming majority of recreational vessels produced for decades have had an ECOS installed, so this new use requirement simply obligates recreational vessel operators to use critical safety equipment already present on their boat.

Seven states currently have ECOS use laws for traditional recreational vessels, and 44 states have ECOS use laws for personal watercraft (PWC).

Boaters are encouraged to check the U.S. Coast Guard website for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations:
https://uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/Engine-Cut-Off-Switch-FAQ.php

-USCG-
_______________________________________

Read More →

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Analyzing Boat Acceleration & Boat Coast Down Data

This paper develops a new mathematical model for how boats accelerate during a high speed test run. The process divides a top speed run into two segments, namely a displacement segment and a planing segment. The equation only requires three coefficients for each segment. Each coefficient is independent of the others. Additionally, each coefficient has a meaningful value tied to an attribute of the data. A version of the same model applies to boat coast down data. Previously, some have used polynomials with meaningless coefficients to curve fit coast down data.

This work has been a monumental project on our side. I worked on it off and on for over thirty years.

We hope this report brings new insights to the math and physics behind how recreational boats accelerate and coast down (decelerate). Applications include comparing performance of one boat to another or to itself with modifications. The model identifies differences in performance and the magnitude of those difference. It can also be used to show when those differences occur during a top speed run.

Only a small fraction of the entire report is discussed in this post. We encourage you to read the entire report which is available below.


About This Document Itself

Note: Coast Down Testing is sometimes spelled as Coastdown Testing or as Coast-Down Testing.

This work recently inspired us to digress and take on a spin off boating safety project. Hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.

The document itself is 142 pages in length and about 5 megabytes in size. It contains over 50 images, many of which portray data from actual test run data.

The full paper is best viewed on a large desktop computer monitor.

boat acceleration report cover

Read More →

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FLIR receives Virtual Propeller Guard Patent

FLIR logo

FLIR logo

FLIR was awarded U.S. Patent 10,931,934 for Watercraft Thermal Monitoring System and Methods on 23 February 2021.

This patent teaches the use of one or more imaging modules on the vessel scanning one of more areas around the vessel using thermal or non thermal imaging to detect people, debris, or docks in the water near the vessel. Once the object is detected, the operator can be alerted to its presence including its heading, distance, what it is, and could even be shown an image of it.

The control system can take that input (sees person, debris, or dock near the vessel) and automatically steer the vessel, accelerate or decelerate, or stop the propeller depending upon the object and situation.

FLIR describes the system as having an imaging component and a control component. The imaging component is referred to as monitoring modules. They specifically note one or more monitoring modules may be placed at the stern (one place to monitor people near the propeller). Each module may include thermal imaging, non-thermal imaging methods or both thermal and non-thermal imaging capability.

The system may include perimeter detection, meaning it can recognize when someone goes overboard similar to systems on some cruise ships.

The system can take control of the vessel when swimmers or a man overboard situation has been detected, as well as assist in various modes of operation such as docking or tactical debris avoidance.

FLIR US Patent for Virtual Propeller Guard

FLIR US Patent for Virtual Propeller Guard

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Fell Marine wins Sea Tow National Boating Industry Safety Award

National Boating Industry Safety Awards 2020 emblem

National Boating Industry Safety Awards 2020 emblem

Fell Marine, manufacturer of the MOB+ wireless lanyard kill switch, received the National Boating Industry Safety Award sponsored by Sea Tow Foundation in the Top Gear & Equipment Manufacturer category for 2020.

PropellerSafety would like to thank Sea Tow for sponsoring these awards and especially for recognizing the impact a for profit firm, such as Fell Marine, could have on overall boating safety. For profit firms can not only impact boating safety by launching innovative products, but also by their efforts to spread broader boating safety messages than just, “buy our products”.

The Executive Director of Sea Tow Foundation, Gail Kulp, said:

Fell Marine logo

Fell Marine logo

“FELL Marine knows its core demographic and provides outstanding demonstrations on their website to educate customers on how to install and use a wireless man-overboard device.

They provided a diverse selection of many high-quality advertising materials to review and outline future business opportunities to increase the adoption of their product and further promote boating safety.”

Read More →

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OSCAR detects floating debris: avoid log strikes

The origins of OSCAR, a collision avoidance system for boats from Austria, unfolded when Raphael Biancale, a European automotive engineer and founder of the BSB Group, was returning from a 6 month sailing trip in 2013. He searched for ways a sailor could safely navigate at night. His work on intelligent systems for automobiles led to OSCAR.

OSCAR stands for “Optical System for Cognition And Ranging”.

OSCAR is made in Austria by BSB Artificial Intelligence and its sister company BSB Marine.

In 2017 Mr. Biancale joined with sailings offshore racing’s IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association) 60 foot class to further test and develop OSCAR.

His efforts were successful. In December 2020 OSCAR won runner up in the annual METS (METSTRADE) DAME R&D Excellence in Adversity Award.

OSCAR boat collision detection system

OSCAR – Optical System for Cognition And Ranging


Read More →

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Sarasota Youth Sailing: Ethan Isaacs accident UPDATE1

Ethan Isaacs

Ethan Isaacs

We previously covered the 21 November 2020 Sarasota Youth Sailing (Florida) propeller accident that claimed the life of ten year old Ethan Isaacs.

Recent events led us to publishing this update on the Ethan Isaacs accident.


Event 1 – Isaacs family files lawsuit

A wrongful death suit was filed 28 December 2020 in behalf of Ethan Isaacs.

Malinda Martin Isaacs as Personal Representative
of the Estate of Ethan Max Isaacs
vs.
Sarasota Youth Sailing, Inc. and
Riley Baugh, an individual

Filed in the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit
in and for the County of Sarasota State of Florida Circuit Civil Division

Case Number 2020 CA 005516 NC

Jeffrey “Jack” Gordon of Maney & Gordon, P.A. represents the family
David Neal Gambach of Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP. represents Sarasota Youth Sailing

Mr. Baugh, a sailing coach, was the boat operator of the 20 foot Caribe RIB powered by a 90 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor that struck Ethan Isaacs after Mr. Baugh was ejected.

The suit reports Mr. Baugh was leaning out of the RIB to bail water from an Optimist sailboat (about an 8 foot long sailboat used for youth instruction). The RIB engine was running, the kill switch lanyard was not attached per the suit. Mr. Baugh unintentionally leaned into the shift-throttle, the boat began to move, ejecting Mr. Baugh. The unmanned boat continued to run striking Ethan Isaac, multiple Optimist sailboats, and some other boys.

The suit says Sarasota Youth Sailing had a duty to install or equip the Caribe with available throttle safety options that would prevent the unintentional shifting of said throttle into gear.

They point out Mr. Baugh was an employee of Sarasota Youth Sailing and thus Sarasota Youth Sailing is responsible for all damages, negligent acts, and failures to act of Mr. Baugh.

The suit also includes claims relative to weather and seas conditions.

We were a bit surprised by the absence of propeller guard claims give the aftermath of the 2017 Centerport Yacht Club accident in New York in combination with previous statements made by Yamaha in support of propeller guards in applications like this.
Attorneys requested production of a list of 82 documents including photos and videos of Mr. Baugh and all others operating any power boats at their facility. One suspects this is an effort to find photographic evidence of them not always attaching kill switch lanyards or other safety issues.

The case is being overseen by Judge Stephen Walker. Read More →

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Design Chart to prevent outboard motors from flipping into boats – UPDATED Feb 2021

We updated our Design Chart to Prevent Outboard Motors From Entering / Flipping Into The Boat After Striking Submerged Objects today (3 February 2021).

Flip In Design Chart

Flip In Design Chart

Primary additions include:

  1. Auto detection of floating or submerged hazards using sonar, radar, infrared, fish finders, depth finders, lasers, computer vision and other technologies combined with the potential to automatically take evasive action such as raising the drive, tilting the drive, raising the stern using trim tabs, slowing the boat, killing the engine, and steering the boat
  2. Predicting imminent impact based upon previous impacts in the area and/or gps location vs nautical chart depth readings
  3. Counting impacts and their severity to determine amount of life remaining in the outboard motor and to gather data for identifying hazardous areas

Read More →

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Brunswick launches BoatClass on water training

Brunswick Corporation logo

Brunswick Corporation logo

Brunswick Corporation announced their new BoatClass on water boating training program to assist boaters in gaining confidence on the water and to teach proper boating safety practices.

Brenna Preisser, Brunswick Corporation President – Business Acceleration & Chief People and Strategy Officer said, “Safety is the number one priority for all boaters on the water and BoatClass provides an opportunity for new and seasoned boaters to receive world-class training and learn the necessary skills to make the most of their time on the water.”

BoatClass Brunswick on water training

BoatClass Brunswick on water training

U.S. Coast Guard emblemCertified Coast Guard Captains will provide beginner and intermediate three hour courses. Techniques taught will include: shifting and throttle control​; turning, stopping, backing drills​; 360- to 720-degree pivot turns​; docking drills​; crossing wakes and wave; speed zone adjustments​; anchoring theory and techniques​; utilizing boat trim​; ferrying; and returning to the slip​. Read More →

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Coast Guard to require use of kill switch lanyards

U.S. Coast Guard emblemThe huge bill Congress passed at the end of 2020 included the provision that operators of boats 26 feet and under attach their lanyard kill switch or use their wireless lanyard if either is available on their vessel on Federal waters.

Cabin boats and vessels with less than 115 pounds of thrust are exempted from the regulation.

The bill was part of the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020 that was rolled into the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). The House and Senate voted December 28, 2020 and 1 January 2021 respectively) to overturn the 23 December 2020 Veto of President Trump. President Trump had wanted the bill to include the elimination of protections for social media platforms and increase the $600 stimulus payments in the bill to $2,000.

The actual law was written as an addition to the law passed in December 2018 requiring installation of kill switches on new boats of 26 feet and under.

The new mandatory wear law as passed is below: Read More →

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Updated list of over the bow Pontoon Boat propeller accidents 2021

Its been over 3 years since we updated the List of Over the Bow Pontoon Boat Propeller Accidents, many of which result from bow riding / bowriding.

We tried to limit the list to only over the bow prop accidents on pontoon boats. There are numerous other ways to get struck by the propeller of a pontoon boat, but this is the leading cause, and the cause that most often involves children. Read More →

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