Propellers are the most dangerous part of a boat. It spins at 3200 RMP and can inflict 160 impacts in a second. Injuries involving propellers can easily be prevented.
How Do Propeller Accidents Occur?
Well, for one, children and passengers like to dangle their legs outside the boat while it is in motion. Most think it’s relaxing and cooling, but it is also very illegal and even more dangerous. If passengers are hanging out the boat, it is much easier to slip off the boat and be hit by the propeller. This is called “bowriding”. This is a form of negligent operation.
Propellers on boats are very scary because even when the engine is in neutral, the propeller can continue to spin – even after it is turned off. This is the biggest hazard for swimmers, skiers and tubers, and especially bowriders.
Establish A Hazard Zone
The hazard zone of your boat which include the bow, stern, gunwales, and swim platform, along with the water 30 feet behind and around the motor. The hazard zone should be associated with a rule, such as “no one goes in the hazard zone until the motor is off, the boat is no longer moving; the keys are removed, and the driver has counted to ten.” This may seem extreme, but it really is necessary, especially with kids on board.
Do a headcount before starting the motor to ensure all passengers are inside the boat. Adults should be designated responsibility of specific children, as an easy way to make sure they are safe and on the boat when need be.
From the helm, it's often hard to see swimmers in the water near the propeller. Go to the stern and look in the water near the propeller or appoint a lookout to do so before inserting the key in the ignition lock.
It is also very important to keep in mind the actions of other boats - don't forget that the passengers of other boats also need to be kept away from your propeller. Stay out of designated swimming zones and take particular care in congested areas or near boats that are towing skiers or tubers.
Keep Your Watercraft Well Equipped
Consider practical devices that prevent propeller accidents, such as wireless cut-off switches, propeller guards, ringed propellers, alternative propulsion systems, interlocks, sensors, and anti-feedback steering.
However no form of equipment can be more important than keeping a lookout!