Boat propeller hazards
Boating accidents involving propeller strikes can be serious. The skipper should remember that the area around the propeller is dangerous. This means that no person or part of their body should be near a propeller as it spins. When operating a vessel near swimmers, watch them carefully at all times. When you see an Alpha flag, take extra caution so as not to harm the divers.
What to do
When swimming in areas where there are a lot of swimmers, always turn the engine off so you don’t injure them. Some propellers can spin even when they are neutral. By attaching propeller guards to outboard engines, the risk of injuries and propeller strikes is reduced. When running activities with a high risk of capsize, it is recommended that sports and recreational organizations use propeller guards.
Reduce the risks of Propeller strikes
- Before you start the engine, make sure to check the area around the propeller to make sure no one is there.
- Ensure that everyone on the crew is aware of the dangers of propeller strikes, especially the driver.
- Ensure the driver wears a kill switch lanyard that prevents the engine from running if they lose control of the boat.
- While the ship is underway, everyone on board should stay within the bounds of the vessel.
- It is a violation of good boating etiquette to have your body, legs, or arms hanging over the sides of your boat while it is in running.
- You should consider the installation of wireless engine cut-off switches in case of control loss, and propeller guards if someone accidentally goes near the propeller to avoid propeller strikes.
- The primary cause of propeller strike accidents is due to the operator being distracted.
Towing a person
In the case of towing a person, the tow rope must be long enough to safely tow a person such as a water skier or wakeboarder because there are higher chances of propeller strikes. There should be a minimum of 7m between the vessel and the towing person.