• 72°

A few words on prop safety

Over the past few weeks, while flipping through boating magazines, talking with boat owners and reading boating e-mail newsgrams, I have seen some useful discussions about propeller safety. I have to admit that in all the years that I have written this column I have never specifically focused on this subject.

Today I’ll change that – let’s talk propellers and propeller guards.

The best Web site that I have found for discussions about propellers, propeller injuries, and propeller guards is found at the Recreational Boat Building Industry (RBBI) Home Page at http://www.rbbi.com/pgic/index.htm. This site looks at everything from blogs on propeller safety, studies, patents, analyst and updates on technology.

Additionally, the site looks at the history of propeller guards, along with data on the different propellers available on the market.

In all there are over 30 different links that can be found at this site. Every recreational and commercial operator/owner, along with members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary who teach boating safety, will find this information incredibly useful.

The link within this site that I found most interesting, especially for recreational boater, was the link to &uot;typical propeller injury scenarios.&uot;

There is a ton of good information here which makes you stop and think. Even if you have put your boat in storage this is still good information.

How many times I have you seen or heard about circumstances where boat operators move their vessels too close to divers or folks that are water skiing or swimming? How many times have you heard or read about divers whose airlines get run over and cut by boaters? It happens all over the country, all the time.

Just because it is colder here in Hampton Roads, people still dawn their wetsuits (or dry suits) and get out on the water so these issues are as applicable here in Hampton Roads as in Miami, Fla.!

Here is one example, of just one small portion, of what can be found on the RBBI site,

&uot;In terms of protecting people, people tend to encounter a rotating propeller in one of the following scenarios:

nThey are in the water at the rear of the boat as a result of swimming or skiing and the prop is started in a forward direction.

nThey are in the water at the rear of the boat as a result of swimming or skiing and the boat/prop is backed into them, such as when backing up to a skier.

nThey fall out of a moving boat and are struck by the boat as it passes over them, they tend to fall over the side during a sharp turn or from the front of a bowrider or a pontoon boat or fall over when the boat suddenly strikes an object.

nThey fall out of a moving boat and it circles around (without a driver) and runs over them, sometimes repeatedly.&uot;

There is much more at this site folks. Take a second and visit it. I promise you it will make you think, and perhaps make you just a little more cautious while underway on our country’s great waterways and lakes.

Until next week….Boat Safe…and Boat Smart.