USCG Requested Propeller Guards to Test in 2007

The United States Coast Guard put out a request for propeller guards to be used in testing their propeller guard protocol test in June of 2007. We first posted the notice below at that time. The testing was completed by November 2007 and prop guards are no longer needed for this particular test.

We left our original materials online for historical reference purposes. We appreciate those who participated in the verification process and wish them well. We also encourage them and others to participate in any similar opportunities in the future.

During that time frame, we also directly contacted most of the propeller guard manufacturers in the world, made them aware of this opportunity, and pointed them to this page for additional information.



The U.S. Coast Guard has recently developed a testing procedure for propeller guards. They are currently seeking propeller guards to test to verify their procedure. They have requested samples in a series of three emails to various groups involved with propeller guards (manufacturers, advertisers, attendees at propeller injury avoidance seminars).

We encourage manufacturers to participate in this program and are copying portions of the three U.S. Coast Guard emails below.

We have already called the test to the attention of several propeller guard manufacturers who will submitting guards for this test. If you have not yet contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, please contact them for additional information as soon as possible if your are interested in participating as the samples were to have been in Maine by June 22nd, 2007. We are now hearing the deadline has been extended, possibly to August 3rd. Please contact them immediately and confirm the current deadline if you are interested in participating.

Please forward this URL to anyone you know who may be interested.

All 3 emails below are from:

Mr. Richard A. Blackman
U.S. Coast Guard
Office of Boating Safety
Product Assurance Division (CG3-PCB-3) 

Web Site:
Phone: 202-372-1077

If you have trouble reaching Mr. Blackman with the contact information above, please contact us and we will try to put you in contact with him.

If you intend to ship propeller guards for testing, we strongly encourage you to contact Mr. Blackman at once so he knows they will be coming.

Propeller Guard email #1

The U.S. Coast Guard has undertaken a project to develop a comprehensive test protocol for propeller injury avoidance devices that could be used for recreational boats. We are currently developing the portion of this test protocol that applies to propeller guard devices. It is our intent to validate the draft protocol by applying it to several different combinations of boat, engine/propeller, and guard. As such we have asked known guard manufacturers to provide test specimens of their product for use on two different types of boats known for a high incidence of injuries. The devices will be used to validate the draft protocol. Any published results will not identify specific manufacturers since this task is only intended to validate the procedure.


Propeller Guard email #2

Samples of production level propeller guard devices for the below engine/prop combinations are being requested to support the protocol development effort. We request two samples of your production device, marked “Hold for USCG project”, be shipped to:

Finestkind Boatyard
11 Bristol Way
Harpswell, ME 04079

Attn: Mr. Mark Hubbar

Technical characteristics
MERCURY 200 H.P. OPTIMAX OB SER. #: 1B243965
Propeller – Merc Tempest Plus P/N 48-825866 25 inch pitch 15″ diameter

Propeller P/N: 48 832832A45 21 pitch, 14″ diameter

Your product will be evaluated for use by the project team. If your product is selected for on water evaluation, you will be notified and afforded an opportunity to attend, at your own expense, during the installation and on water evaluation of your device. If desired the device will be returned “as-is” upon completion of the evaluation. Guards not used for the on-water evaluation will be returned.

Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance for your support.


Propeller Guard email #3

A third boat has been added to the upcoming protocol validation.

The third test boat is an 18′ center console outboard with a 90 HP Mercury Engine, Model 2005 90 EXLPTO, Model Number: 1090422DY; Serial Number: 1B065786; Prop Serial Number: 48-77344A45; pitch: 17P

In the event you would like to volunteer a guard for our experiments, it must be received at the below address by June 22, 2007 to ensure consideration.

More Information on the Test Procedure

The test procedure was briefly discussed at the 2 November 2006 USCG Propeller Injury Avoidance/Carbon Monoxide (CO) Update Meeting at IBEX Miami FL minutes. The meeting. You can see that discussion on pages 2 and 3 of the minutes. Additional information is in a slide presentation as pages 8 through 27 of the same document.

It was also briefly discussed in an NMMA Environmental, Health & Safety Compliance bulletin dated September 2006. Portions of the document are reproduced below.

USCG to Begin Evaluating Propeller Guards

As part of its rulemaking development for propeller avoidance measures, the USCG has commissioned an evaluation of propeller guards when applied under the various conditions experienced when operating a vessel. The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) will manage the project and their staff will work with the USCG to define the test boats, identify propeller guards to be tested, create a propeller guard test protocol, and retain a consultant to perform the work.

Although NMMA is not managing this project, data from this project may be used to regulate NMMA boat builders and engine manufacturers. For this reason, among others, it is important to the Marine Industry that the proposed USCG testing produces scientifically reliable and commercially useful data. As a result, NMMA is commissioning Design Research Engineering to develop a scope of work (SOW) to assist the ABYC and USCG in this project. Upon completion, the SOW will be presented to the ABYC as suggestions from the Marine Industry regarding the minimum criteria for the evaluation of propeller guards.

The SOW will include the:

  1. Identification of propeller guards that are commercially available for recreational boats;
  2. Establishment of minimum criteria for the qualification of propeller guard products as “feasible”;
  3. Establishment of a propeller guard test protocol to evaluate:
    1. the relative safety of the guard versus an open propeller,
    2. the performance characteristics of a boat with the guard in place (speed, fuel consumption, handling),
    3. the durability of the propeller guard,
    4. any other characteristics that affect the safety, performance or commercial viability of the propeller guard.

The USCG plans to run the protocol evaluation at Solomon Island, Maryland on September 27 and 28, 2006. The propeller guard test is scheduled to run through 2007.

If you wish to have your propeller guards tested during the summer 2007 tests or have any questions about this opportunity, please immediately contact Mr. Blackman at the U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Boating Safety, Product Assurance Division at the contact information provided above, if you cannot reach him, please contact us.

Also, if you wish to be notified of similar future announcements, please contact us.