S.P.I.N. - Stop Propeller Injuries Now
2365 Conejo Court
Los Osos, CA, 93402
tel. 805-528-0554 - fax. 805-526-8756
If you are injured or have lost a loved one, join with us, get involved, and you will find
this advocacy both hopeful and healing.
It is not easy to begin because you feel so lost. You are frozen at the "how did
this happen to me" stage or deep in the grief process. Everyone goes through the
grief at their own pace, in personal ways. Some do it alone. Some need only family and
shut off friends and neighbors. Some reach out and allow the entire community into the
process. There is no one right way and no time table. We don't presume to instruct but
know that all of us have been here.
At some point the anger stage separates from the grief and emptiness. This triggers
either something positive or negative. It is your choice. We are here to hope that you
choose the positive. Getting involved in the solution is very healing. It is hurtful also.
You will relive your accident. But you will slowly get by that raw pain. For some of us,
getting involved, saved us from the apathy, paralysis, and self destructive anger and
turned our energies outward to seek solutions. Others just want to "get on" with
their lives. If this works for you, you are at least involved in yourself and that too is
However, if you are ready to reach out and make a wider difference, here are few steps.
- Accident Report. Make certain your accident was reported to your State and the US Coast
Guard ... it's the law. Read the report for the details. How is the accident described? Is
a "struck by propeller" being called "man over board" or "hit by
boat"? Make certain the type and length of boat involved in your accident is clearly
stated. Make certain your injuries are clearly stated.
- Hospital Report. If you are attended by a physician, get a report of the propeller
lacerations and forward it to the investigating officer for him to attach to his report.
- Call the State Boating Law Administrator. Every state has a recreational boating
authority. The men and women who head these offices belong to a larger organization call
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators www.nasbla.org
This site will give you the name and number of your state officer. Tell them your story.
Ask what they are doing at the state level to prevent these accidents. Ask about the
official position of the national group. Ask them to get it on the agenda for discussion
and resolution. These officers have seen this accident over and over again. We believe
they should take a strong attitude with their respective legislatures and attempt to
mandate propeller technologies within their state.
- Inform yourself. Visit some of the links on our site. Some are specific to technologies
such as www.maritechsafety.com Others like http://rbbi.com/ are informative on the issue. The Coast Guard
site www.uscgboating.org reviews the types of
technologies to prevent prop strikes but ascribe to the absurd and skewed studies done by
the engine manufacturers on blunt trauma.
- Call your state representative and senator. SPIN can help you with background for your
discussion but basically you are taking a family tragedy and asking for help, as is your
right. You will be asked "what would you like the congressman/woman" to do for
you. Target the task. They will help but need specifics. For instance, SPIN's current
campaign is the get congressional support to raise the "willingness to pay"
death and accident schedule. We have provided a sample letter, as follows:
TO The Honorable.....
RE Recreational Boat Propeller Accidents
I am writing to you to ask support for our request that the "willingness to pay"
formula be changed to more adequately reflect the target population and help to justify
equipment regulations pending with the US Coast Guard to prevent this accident. The Coast
Guard currently operates under DOT guidelines. As they switch to Home Land Security it is
time to change the formula. The current guidance for injuries and fatalities is sorely
short of the mark for the following reasons:
- The math does not net a "willingness to pay" dollar amount to justify any
reasonable/reliable/readily available propeller interventions.
- The $ 3 million figure is based on a curve more appropriate to the 1 - 9 year old
population more typical to accidents on the roads and in the airways. In fact, BARD
propeller fatality and injury statistics for the last five years show
24% of the fatalities are 20 years old or younger ( + 17% to age 30)
36% of the injuries are 20 years old or younger ( + 20% to age 30)
For eleven years SPIN ( www.spin-site.org ) has
worked to effect a regulation to stop these totally preventable accidents. In my case
(tell your story to show how it could have been prevented ). This accident could have been
prevented by a simple device: a propeller guard or cage. REFER TO YOUR ACCIDENT.
My accident would not have happened if anything had been done years ago. A l978 USCG
report demonstrated the statistical need to prevent propeller fatalities. In l980 the
acting chief of the Office Of Boating Safety placed propeller accident and fatalities on
the priority list at top 25%. Twenty four years later, four supporting resolutions from
the National Boating Advisory Council, thousands of deaths and critical/severe injuries,
and we still do not have a regulation. There is a current NPR # 10163 which hangs in the
wind because of the cost benefit analysis.
Please support the change from $3 million to $5 million for recreational boating
accident cost benefit justification.
6. Revisit the marinas in the area where the accident occurred. Refer them to the
educational module in this website. Point of rental is a real sore spot as they rarely
warn the most at risk boating population, the occasional inexperienced renter.
7. Get as wide a coverage on your accident as possible through TV and the newspapers. Try
to find an interested reporter willing to present the broader picture of the problem.