How to prevent propeller strikes
A typical recreational boat propeller can travel from head to toe on an average person in less than one-tenth of a second. Fortunately, propeller strikes can be prevented.
- Wear your engine cut-off switch lanyard and your life jacket at all times. If the lanyard is removed from the switch, the engine will shut off.
- Assign a passenger to keep watch around your boat’s propeller area when people are in the water.
- Consider purchasing propeller safety devices for your boat.
Propeller strike safety tips
- Before starting your boat, walk to the stern and look in the water to make certain no one is near your propeller (people near the propeller may not be visible from the helm).
- Never allow passengers to board or exit your boat from the water when engines are on or idling (your propeller may continue to spin).
- Educate passengers about the location and danger of the propellers.
- Call attention to and discuss any propeller warning labels around your boat.
- Be especially alert when operating in congested areas and never enter swimming zones.
- Take extra precautions near boats that are towing skiers or tubers.
- Never permit passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seatbacks, or other locations where they might fall overboard.
- Children should be watched carefully while on board.
- Establish clear rules for swim platform use, boarding ladders and seating. (If possible, passengers should remain seated at all times.)
- If someone falls overboard, stop. Then slowly turn the boat around and keep the person in sight as you approach. Assign a passenger to continuously monitor the person in the water. Turn your engines off, and then bring the person to safety. Never reverse your boat to pick up someone out of the water. Go around again.
Propeller strike safety devices
A variety of devices are available to help prevent propeller strikes:
- Wireless cut-off switches
- Propeller guards
- Ringed propellers
- Propulsion alternatives
- Anti-feedback steering
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