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Video: Georgia Propeller Strike Injuries

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Video Transcript

Obviously, no really easy way to bring this up. Propeller strikes—they’re obviously tragic when they happen. We want to do everything we can to avoid them. Can you give me an incident where it could have been avoided if certain precautions had been taken?

Sergeant Mike Burgamy

First of all, you need to know where your swimmers are at all times. When people are in the water, you need to know where they are at all times. We had an incident on the lake one time where a father actually backed over his own son, who was hanging onto the swim platform and got caught in the propeller. It was a—a severe injury, but luckily he made it.


So what kind of precautions can you take—I mean, there’s several, I’m sure—to make sure you don’t get struck by a propeller?

Sergeant Burgamy

Yeah, if you know there are people in the water, especially at the rear of the boat, cut the boat off. You have to remember that a propeller is like blades turning. They can do severe damage. Also, if you’re on a boat and you’re going to be operating, all of your newer boats now are equipped with ignition safety switches. Attach that to you. If you fall out of your boat, like a personal friend of mine did in his bass boat while it was in gear, he got run over by his own boat. It struck his leg, and ultimately, his leg had to be amputated. Had he had that ignition safety switch on, it would have cut his boat off, and he’d have never sustained that kind of injury.


The idea is, different than in a car, with a boat, you have a big spinning propeller underneath that you just have to be really mindful of. So, just keep that in mind at all times, right?

Sergeant Burgamy

Absolutely. Bottom line, folks come to the rear of the boat, cut it off.

Requirements for Boat Operators

An operator involved in a boating accident must:

  • Stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the accident and...
  • Assist anyone injured or in danger from the accident, unless doing so would seriously endanger his or her own vessel or passengers and...
  • Give, in writing, his or her name, address, and vessel identification to anyone injured and to the owner of any property damaged by the accident.

You cannot be held liable for any civil damages for any assistance rendered in good faith and in a prudent manner.