More About the Propeller Strike Accident and Prevention
The Propeller Strike Accident
If you've ever seen a propeller strike accident, you want to do everything in your power to prevent another one. They can be the most gruesome of boating accidents. Anyone in the water around a boat—a swimmer, scuba diver, fallen water-skier, or someone who's fallen overboard—is a potential victim. Many propeller accidents are caused by operator inexperience, incompetence, negligence, and intoxication. However, most accidents can be prevented if operators follow a few simple safety practices.
Turn Off the Engine When Boarding or Disembarking
Turn off the engine when passengers are boarding or disembarking. Propellers should not be spinning when a passenger is in a vulnerable situation.
Prevent Passengers from Being Thrown Overboard
Prevent passengers from being thrown overboard accidentally.
- Never start a boat with the engine in gear.
- Never ride on a seat back, gunwale, transom, or bow.
- Make sure all passengers are seated properly before getting underway. Some operators cause injuries by putting the engine in gear while people are still swimming or diving from the boat.
- Assign a responsible adult to watch any children in the boat and sound the alarm if a child falls overboard.
Maintain a Proper Lookout
Maintain a proper lookout for people in the water. The primary cause of propeller strike accidents is operator inattention or carelessness.
- Slow down when approaching congested areas and anchorages. In congested areas, always be alert for swimmers and divers.
- Learn to recognize warning buoys that mark swimming and other hazardous areas.
- Keep the boat away from marked swimming and diving areas. Become familiar with the red flag with a white diagonal stripe and the blue-and-white “Alfa” flag—both signal that divers are down.