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Sarasota Youth Accident


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54 minutes ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

At fucking high noon to boot. Dollars to donuts some asshole was (drunk/high/distracted) driving his (jet ski/fishing boat/powerboat) and ran over a kid in a dinghy.

The story (which may be inaccurate) stated that both boats were participating in a sailing event.

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1 hour ago, Mark Set said:

Terrible tragedy. Very poor response by SYS I'd say. Cant believe they're keeping the family in the dark. It suggests the coach did something terribly negligent which may or may not be the case, but it's not a good look. 

Totally agree

By far the better stance would be transparency. Of course, that's exactly what lawyers tell you NOT to do

FB- Doug

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Oh damn that is terrible. My sincere sympathies to all involved. Sailed at a club try at had a fatal accident involving a junior few years back and it never leaves you. 

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Story is out, I'm told - propeller accident.

So sad. Since you are all so much more familiar with these clubs than I am, can anyone say why a "coach boat" in such a situation would not have a jet motor or fully encased prop? I know the little motor boat on the Bay that chased the kids in Optis had a plastic case around the prop.....

But it would seem a no-brainer that, when possible, exposed prop boats would not be used for situations where something else might do. Even one death in this type of situation is way too many.

Kid was in Pineview school - that is literally a school for geniuses. The world has lost more than a sailor and son. 

Yeah, hard to blame the coach or anyone else....accidents happen. But this is why Ralph Nader and friends have literally saved 100's of thousands of us from death and millions from severe injury.  

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A local club here uses prop guards. Most others don't. In general, coach boats are older RIBs. They generally were purchased on a budget, which means they have the bare minimum length and horsepower to get the boat to plane and/or don't allow the "modern" over-HP setups in their USCG plaques. Add a prop guard, and the boat will never plane. LOTS of old RIBS have the max 40 or 50hp, struggle to get on a plane, and would be dangerous with more horsepower if there wasn't a prop guard slowing things down. Money solves it all by buying a new boat large enough to take a 70hp motor and a prop guard where a 40 or 50 would have been sufficient in the past (17'-ish RIB). We all know that junior programs aren't generally swimming in cash. When you are in the 15' range of boats, it is hard to find a boat that is USCG plaqued to take an engine large enough to plane reasonably quickly with a prop guard. It's easy to drop $25k on a Zodiac 550 with a 70hp Yamaha. That handles well with a prop guard and is set up nicely to coach. Multiply by 6, and you've spend $150k. Nothing money can't solve....and has at the local club that runs with prop guards. 

As for jet outboards, is anyone aware of a program using them? My local Evinrude dealer that I trust implicitly told me that the Evinrude models didn't have the ability to "slam it in reverse" and stop in a hurry. He said the balance with a prop guard was similar that you'd need a 70hp motor to equate to a 50hp propped motor. Now he's Yamaha after the demise of Evinrude, but hasn't test driven those jet outboards. More experience from the crowd would be helpful here. 

When my daughter starts sailing school, I'd like her to be as safe as reasonably possible. I've been a coach, a guy selling the coach boats, and on sailing school boards. Now, I'm a dad with a "real job" and a lot of context to how programs run. My worst nightmare is an accident with the kids. I wish I could contribute the money to make the boats safer. I don't have the means to drop that money into our local program. In my opinion, slapping a prop guard on every existing coach boat isn't the right balance. Where I live, the boats we have wouldn't plane, leaving the coaches unable to see as they got up to speed. The only legitimate resale value of a sailing school used RIB is to another sailing school. I value the ability to get to a kid in a hurry because I know from my own experience how important seconds can be. I've seen "bow in the air" accidents with under-powered coach boats on more than one occasion. This is a complex issue that only money can solve, in a marketplace where every penny counts. 

Of course, safety shouldn't be sacrificed for money. With that said, the money is finite. As prices rise, we become more of the elitist rich people sport. 

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10 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

A local club here uses prop guards. Most others don't. In general, coach boats are older RIBs. They generally were purchased on a budget, which means they have the bare minimum length and horsepower to get the boat to plane and/or don't allow the "modern" over-HP setups in their USCG plaques. Add a prop guard, and the boat will never plane. LOTS of old RIBS have the max 40 or 50hp, struggle to get on a plane, and would be dangerous with more horsepower if there wasn't a prop guard slowing things down. Money solves it all by buying a new boat large enough to take a 70hp motor and a prop guard where a 40 or 50 would have been sufficient in the past (17'-ish RIB). We all know that junior programs aren't generally swimming in cash. When you are in the 15' range of boats, it is hard to find a boat that is USCG plaqued to take an engine large enough to plane reasonably quickly with a prop guard. It's easy to drop $25k on a Zodiac 550 with a 70hp Yamaha. That handles well with a prop guard and is set up nicely to coach. Multiply by 6, and you've spend $150k. Nothing money can't solve....and has at the local club that runs with prop guards. 

As for jet outboards, is anyone aware of a program using them? My local Evinrude dealer that I trust implicitly told me that the Evinrude models didn't have the ability to "slam it in reverse" and stop in a hurry. He said the balance with a prop guard was similar that you'd need a 70hp motor to equate to a 50hp propped motor. Now he's Yamaha after the demise of Evinrude, but hasn't test driven those jet outboards. More experience from the crowd would be helpful here. 

When my daughter starts sailing school, I'd like her to be as safe as reasonably possible. I've been a coach, a guy selling the coach boats, and on sailing school boards. Now, I'm a dad with a "real job" and a lot of context to how programs run. My worst nightmare is an accident with the kids. I wish I could contribute the money to make the boats safer. I don't have the means to drop that money into our local program. In my opinion, slapping a prop guard on every existing coach boat isn't the right balance. Where I live, the boats we have wouldn't plane, leaving the coaches unable to see as they got up to speed. The only legitimate resale value of a sailing school used RIB is to another sailing school. I value the ability to get to a kid in a hurry because I know from my own experience how important seconds can be. I've seen "bow in the air" accidents with under-powered coach boats on more than one occasion. This is a complex issue that only money can solve, in a marketplace where every penny counts. 

Of course, safety shouldn't be sacrificed for money. With that said, the money is finite. As prices rise, we become more of the elitist rich people sport. 

Jet drives are lousy for coach/safety boats. Low speed maneuvering is terrible compared to a traditional prop. 

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11 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

A local club here uses prop guards. Most others don't. In general, coach boats are older RIBs. They generally were purchased on a budget, which means they have the bare minimum length and horsepower to get the boat to plane and/or don't allow the "modern" over-HP setups in their USCG plaques. Add a prop guard, and the boat will never plane. LOTS of old RIBS have the max 40 or 50hp, struggle to get on a plane, and would be dangerous with more horsepower if there wasn't a prop guard slowing things down. Money solves it all by buying a new boat large enough to take a 70hp motor and a prop guard where a 40 or 50 would have been sufficient in the past (17'-ish RIB). We all know that junior programs aren't generally swimming in cash. When you are in the 15' range of boats, it is hard to find a boat that is USCG plaqued to take an engine large enough to plane reasonably quickly with a prop guard. It's easy to drop $25k on a Zodiac 550 with a 70hp Yamaha. That handles well with a prop guard and is set up nicely to coach. Multiply by 6, and you've spend $150k. Nothing money can't solve....and has at the local club that runs with prop guards. 

As for jet outboards, is anyone aware of a program using them? My local Evinrude dealer that I trust implicitly told me that the Evinrude models didn't have the ability to "slam it in reverse" and stop in a hurry. He said the balance with a prop guard was similar that you'd need a 70hp motor to equate to a 50hp propped motor. Now he's Yamaha after the demise of Evinrude, but hasn't test driven those jet outboards. More experience from the crowd would be helpful here. 

When my daughter starts sailing school, I'd like her to be as safe as reasonably possible. I've been a coach, a guy selling the coach boats, and on sailing school boards. Now, I'm a dad with a "real job" and a lot of context to how programs run. My worst nightmare is an accident with the kids. I wish I could contribute the money to make the boats safer. I don't have the means to drop that money into our local program. In my opinion, slapping a prop guard on every existing coach boat isn't the right balance. Where I live, the boats we have wouldn't plane, leaving the coaches unable to see as they got up to speed. The only legitimate resale value of a sailing school used RIB is to another sailing school. I value the ability to get to a kid in a hurry because I know from my own experience how important seconds can be. I've seen "bow in the air" accidents with under-powered coach boats on more than one occasion. This is a complex issue that only money can solve, in a marketplace where every penny counts. 

Of course, safety shouldn't be sacrificed for money. With that said, the money is finite. As prices rise, we become more of the elitist rich people sport. 

^ Well said ^

Prop guards are not a cure-all but they'd be a big improvement in safety.

Training in better motorboat driving, including a realistic rescue scenario under pressure, would also be a good requirement. This was a regular feature of our program but it petered out over the years since I've been involved.

Standardization of coach boats within a program would be a huge improvement but also a huge expense. I've seen a number of near-misses because a coach fumbled with controls that were not what he was accustomed to in his usual boat; these were towing in strings rather than rescuing a person in the water, but it's still an issue.

Statistically, youth sailing is a very safe sport. Unfortunately, when things go wrong, they go wrong REAL BAD real fast. This is something that I drum into the sailing coaches I work with, not to hammer them but to foster an attitude of thinking ahead, of not making assumptions, and of taking proactive steps in steering situations away from 'the worst that can happen.'

This is an awful tragedy and we should all take it as serious responsibility to keep it from happening again

FB- Doug

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25 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

A local club here uses prop guards. Most others don't. In general, coach boats are older RIBs. They generally were purchased on a budget, which means they have the bare minimum length and horsepower to get the boat to plane and/or don't allow the "modern" over-HP setups in their USCG plaques. Add a prop guard, and the boat will never plane. LOTS of old RIBS have the max 40 or 50hp, struggle to get on a plane, and would be dangerous with more horsepower if there wasn't a prop guard slowing things down. Money solves it all by buying a new boat large enough to take a 70hp motor and a prop guard where a 40 or 50 would have been sufficient in the past (17'-ish RIB). We all know that junior programs aren't generally swimming in cash. When you are in the 15' range of boats, it is hard to find a boat that is USCG plaqued to take an engine large enough to plane reasonably quickly with a prop guard. It's easy to drop $25k on a Zodiac 550 with a 70hp Yamaha. That handles well with a prop guard and is set up nicely to coach. Multiply by 6, and you've spend $150k. Nothing money can't solve....and has at the local club that runs with prop guards. 

As for jet outboards, is anyone aware of a program using them? My local Evinrude dealer that I trust implicitly told me that the Evinrude models didn't have the ability to "slam it in reverse" and stop in a hurry. He said the balance with a prop guard was similar that you'd need a 70hp motor to equate to a 50hp propped motor. Now he's Yamaha after the demise of Evinrude, but hasn't test driven those jet outboards. More experience from the crowd would be helpful here. 

When my daughter starts sailing school, I'd like her to be as safe as reasonably possible. I've been a coach, a guy selling the coach boats, and on sailing school boards. Now, I'm a dad with a "real job" and a lot of context to how programs run. My worst nightmare is an accident with the kids. I wish I could contribute the money to make the boats safer. I don't have the means to drop that money into our local program. In my opinion, slapping a prop guard on every existing coach boat isn't the right balance. Where I live, the boats we have wouldn't plane, leaving the coaches unable to see as they got up to speed. The only legitimate resale value of a sailing school used RIB is to another sailing school. I value the ability to get to a kid in a hurry because I know from my own experience how important seconds can be. I've seen "bow in the air" accidents with under-powered coach boats on more than one occasion. This is a complex issue that only money can solve, in a marketplace where every penny counts. 

Of course, safety shouldn't be sacrificed for money. With that said, the money is finite. As prices rise, we become more of the elitist rich people sport. 

Really well said. This is going to be as hard on the survivors as it is on those who lost a loved one. 

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Prop guards are great, but again, a stopgap.

Still stuck on answering, why was the student under the boat?  Pray to god the coach isn't going to be living with a poor decision (goofing off with the boat). My head still centers on more robust powerboat training. Have not heard yet if the coach is US Sailing certified. While it has its weaknesses, it is generally additive, and does a good job explaining the risks. Something about hearing it from someone other than your boss typically adds a layer.

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This one hits close to home, I grew up sailing and racing out of this club and I'm at a loss for words as it relates to the incident. I have spoken with some people briefly from general area, but no one that is directly involved with Sarasota, and do not intend to. I have heard what may have happened,  it was not a goofing off incident. I do not know if the coach was USS certified, but I doubt that there are any programs operating in the country that are not using certified coaches.

 

As for jet drive, prop guards, etc...

A slow coach boat can be a very unsafe boat when it's windy. Boats can become separated very fast - especially if someone capsizes and the other boats don't stick around to wait. (that said i was primarily a 420 coach, not opti coach) Slow speed maneuvering is also very critical when working along side the boats in light air, stopping quickly, setting marks, etc.

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28 minutes ago, Gumbo said:

Some prop guards claim improved performance. How often is a coach boat in displacement mode? Olympics requires them as should youth sailing. The statistics are staggering in the attached doc. Suggest a bake sale if you don't have the $300.

GowrieSafetyPropProtectors.pdf

There is significant debate as to whether the prop guard in that picture is effective, as there is plenty of area open to the prop. While it may protect a torso, a limb injury is likely operating at slow speed, and especially in reverse. In discussions, a fully or at least partially caged model has been suggested, which absolutely hinders performance more that what you see in this article. It is also very hard to acquire. I would contend that the larger problem isn't the difference between 35 and 40 mph as suggested in this article. The risk is the inability to plane quickly, losing visibility of where you are going. Sail Newport has a nice fleet of boats, operates in the ocean, and likely has plenty of power on their boats for the task at hand. A 13' whaler with a 15hp motor isn't planing, which is fine for green fleet practice near the club. I suspect that boat isn't the same one going under the bridge to coach the Opti racing team as they practice for large regattas. Not every program has that same starting point with multiple boats ideal for their specialized task. Many have a few boats used for everything. A bake sale won't raise the money for most of the programs that operate in my area to get an effective answer to this without some unintended consequences. 

Frankly, if this was obvious, Gowrie (who wrote this article) would require it as a condition of insurance for the programs they insure, as would every other insurer. As it stands, they don't, and that is telling as they are clearly active in the discussion. 

This issue may help decide where I send my child to Sailing School. I may choose the more expensive local program that has prop guards and is much further from my home. That said, it isn't a black and white issue. If there was an easy and obvious answer, widespread adoption would happen because coaches, boards, parents, and insurance companies would insist on use of prop guards. 

What do I want to see to make things safer? I hope programs to adopt:

  • Zero tolerance for doing stupid stuff with the boat
  • Zero tolerance for no attached kill cord
  • Every employee proves good low and high speed abilities in EVERY boat owned by the program that they might operate
  • All new boat acquisitions are done with a caged prop guard installed

Its easy to say this is all easy, but it isn't. When your high paid "hot shot" junior coach who makes your kid win is the one breaking the rules, it all goes down the tubes. 

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13 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

There is significant debate as to whether the prop guard in that picture is effective, as there is plenty of area open to the prop. While it may protect a torso, a limb injury is likely operating at slow speed, and especially in reverse. In discussions, a fully or at least partially caged model has been suggested, which absolutely hinders performance more that what you see in this article. It is also very hard to acquire. I would contend that the larger problem isn't the difference between 35 and 40 mph as suggested in this article. The risk is the inability to plane quickly, losing visibility of where you are going. Sail Newport has a nice fleet of boats, operates in the ocean, and likely has plenty of power on their boats for the task at hand. A 13' whaler with a 15hp motor isn't planing, which is fine for green fleet practice near the club. I suspect that boat isn't the same one going under the bridge to coach the Opti racing team as they practice for large regattas. Not every program has that same starting point with multiple boats ideal for their specialized task. Many have a few boats used for everything. A bake sale won't raise the money for most of the programs that operate in my area to get an effective answer to this without some unintended consequences. 

Frankly, if this was obvious, Gowrie (who wrote this article) would require it as a condition of insurance for the programs they insure, as would every other insurer. As it stands, they don't, and that is telling as they are clearly active in the discussion. 

 

As an alternative to repowering the boat, changing the pitch on the prop may be enough to overcome the issues with the prop guard. It would hurt the top end, but that isn’t critical. 
 

Another simple idea that would help is something silly I did to my (now ex) girlfriend’s boat. She was new to boating and would forget to shut her boat off when her kids would be climbing back up the swim ladder. I added a bright green LED light on the back that was turned on by plugging in the kill switch lanyard in a port at the back of the boat. Explained to the kids to never swim up to the back of the boat unless the green light was on. They listened far better than their mom and did a great job training her to remove the kill switch when people are boarding the boat. 

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4 minutes ago, Monkey said:

As an alternative to repowering the boat, changing the pitch on the prop may be enough to overcome the issues with the prop guard. It would hurt the top end, but that isn’t critical. 
 

Another simple idea that would help is something silly I did to my (now ex) girlfriend’s boat. She was new to boating and would forget to shut her boat off when her kids would be climbing back up the swim ladder. I added a bright green LED light on the back that was turned on by plugging in the kill switch lanyard in a port at the back of the boat. Explained to the kids to never swim up to the back of the boat unless the green light was on. They listened far better than their mom and did a great job training her to remove the kill switch when people are boarding the boat. 

Changing pitch might work well. A partnership with a good boat dealer who can try different pitch props (without charging for each one) would make a ton of sense for any program. 

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I was under the impression that the drowning last year (LIS area IIRC?) occurred due to entanglement in the prop. Prop guards were a hot topic, but I'm not sure there were any that would have prevented that? Never did see a report from that incident.

Ultimately it comes down to safe operation. Putting a prop guard on a boat is like putting cattle catcher on a car to me. You've still ran over a person. Yes, potentially safer. Solving the problem? Not really.  Due to the market and expense of sailing, the majority of the Midwest is still paying 14-20 year olds less than Starbucks wages to drive powerboats around children. You tell me where the risk is. I know where I'd put my money - returning, trained, and experienced staff. Might be different with YC supported programs, but not in this part of the country.

 

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4 minutes ago, Roller Skates said:

I was under the impression that the drowning last year (LIS area IIRC?) occurred due to entanglement in the prop. Prop guards were a hot topic, but I'm not sure there were any that would have prevented that? Never did see a report from that incident.

Ultimately it comes down to safe operation. Putting a prop guard on a boat is like putting cattle catcher on a car to me. You've still ran over a person. Yes, potentially safer. Solving the problem? Not really.  Due to the market and expense of sailing, the majority of the Midwest is still paying 14-20 year olds less than Starbucks wages to drive powerboats around children. You tell me where the risk is. I know where I'd put my money - returning, trained, and experienced staff. Might be different with YC supported programs, but not in this part of the country.

 

A prop guard is more like a seatbelt in a car. It obviously won’t save you every time, but it’ll help more than it hurts. 
 

You’re absolutely right though that training is key in safe operations. 

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2 hours ago, ScowLover said:

Changing pitch might work well. A partnership with a good boat dealer who can try different pitch props (without charging for each one) would make a ton of sense for any program. 

I’ve thought a little more about this. I can’t help but wonder if a prop purposely designed to operate inside a tube (basically a ducted cowl) couldn’t overcome the extra drag with the gains in efficiency while doubling as a prop guard. I’ll talk to the nerds at work about this. They should be able to model it pretty easily, and if it’s viable, I’ll bug ‘em to create a “safety” gearcase for our engines. I’d think it’d have a substantially larger market than our jet drives. 

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29 minutes ago, Monkey said:

I’ve thought a little more about this. I can’t help but wonder if a prop purposely designed to operate inside a tube (basically a ducted cowl) couldn’t overcome the extra drag with the gains in efficiency while doubling as a prop guard. I’ll talk to the nerds at work about this. They should be able to model it pretty easily, and if it’s viable, I’ll bug ‘em to create a “safety” gearcase for our engines. I’d think it’d have a substantially larger market than our jet drives. 

It's called a Kort nozzle. improves thrust and efficiency in heavily loaded conditions (note that larger diameter makes for lighter loading....so in other words for small diameter improves.) USed extensively on tugs. Not efficient at "free steaming" speeds but on a coach boat, a ducted prop could work. Of course then if fully ducted it is a jet...

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18 minutes ago, fastyacht said:

It's called a Kort nozzle. improves thrust and efficiency in heavily loaded conditions (note that larger diameter makes for lighter loading....so in other words for small diameter improves.) USed extensively on tugs. Not efficient at "free steaming" speeds but on a coach boat, a ducted prop could work. Of course then if fully ducted it is a jet...

I’ve seen it used that way before. On a “safety” boat, top speed isn’t really an objective. I think we’re on the same page. It wouldn’t be as fast, but would be functionally fast. 
 

edit:  if it prevented some of the horrible situations this thread is about, it’d be worthwhile in my opinion. 

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3 hours ago, Monkey said:

I’ve thought a little more about this. I can’t help but wonder if a prop purposely designed to operate inside a tube (basically a ducted cowl) couldn’t overcome the extra drag with the gains in efficiency while doubling as a prop guard. I’ll talk to the nerds at work about this. They should be able to model it pretty easily, and if it’s viable, I’ll bug ‘em to create a “safety” gearcase for our engines. I’d think it’d have a substantially larger market than our jet drives. 

The biggest difference would be the shape of the blades. On a regular prop they have that teardrop shape, on a ducted prop you would want more area further out, effectively the same thing as taking a larger prop and turning it down on a lathe. 

7 hours ago, ScowLover said:
  • Zero tolerance for no attached kill cord

What do you mean by this? kill cord that is attached the powerboat driver? What happens when they need to set a mark?

11 hours ago, Monkey said:

Jet drives are lousy for coach/safety boats. Low speed maneuvering is terrible compared to a traditional prop. 

Can you elaborate on this? as long the jet nozzle can be turned to the same angle as the outboard, shouldn't the turning ability be the same? 

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7 hours ago, ziper1221 said:

Can you elaborate on this? as long the jet nozzle can be turned to the same angle as the outboard, shouldn't the turning ability be the same? 

Jet drives are generally built for shallow water running, so they don’t have a skeg. This makes the boat track terribly when slow, and you need thrust to steer. Reverse is awful as well. 

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I'm waiting for more information before I hang the instructor.

I have always voted no for prop guards, as others have said, they waste money and carbon.

If you need a prop guard to not kill anyone on the water, you are already too dangerous to be driving a boat.  The bow, the keel, the outboard leg, can all end a life, the spinning prop is only an additional risk.  There are some people who can make a rowing boat dangerous, no amount of safety aids are going to make a high speed boat safe for these folk, in any universe.

A strong safety system at any organisation will reduce the injury rate, but in the end, accidents will always happen, and the sea is about the last playground where we can live or die depending on our skill, ability, and judgement, I will swallow the anchor if this ever changes.

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1 hour ago, maxstaylock said:

I'm waiting for more information before I hang the instructor.

I have always voted no for prop guards, as others have said, they waste money and carbon.

If you need a prop guard to not kill anyone on the water, you are already too dangerous to be driving a boat.  The bow, the keel, the outboard leg, can all end a life, the spinning prop is only an additional risk.  There are some people who can make a rowing boat dangerous, no amount of safety aids are going to make a high speed boat safe for these folk, in any universe.

A strong safety system at any organisation will reduce the injury rate, but in the end, accidents will always happen, and the sea is about the last playground where we can live or die depending on our skill, ability, and judgement, I will swallow the anchor if this ever changes.

I agree that " accidents will always happen" but any engineer with training/experience in safety reviews will tell you that it is ALWAYS a choice and a cost/benefit analysis.

I got involved in the Olivia Constants enquiry, a youth sailing fatality involving a trapeze. The US Sailing enquiry was a total whitewash. They threw up their hands and said 'accidents will happen' but there were a LOT of points to consider for any program putting kids in trapezes. That's one area where this forum shines, we came away with dozens checks and procedures to increase safety with trapezes, several of which had a strong possibility of preventing Olivia's death if they -had- been part of her program.

However, it would have taken money (buying new safer trap systems) and time (ditch training)... when I suggested to a number of sailing coaches I know, that an integral part of training to sail trapeze boats, should be practice disconnecting under stress. Most said something like "Yeah but that would take time away from racing practice."

When our priorities are part of the problem, it becomes an accident waiting to happen. The fact that it takes a long time between happenings does not change the facts.

FB- Doug

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12 hours ago, ziper1221 said:

 

What do you mean by this? kill cord that is attached the powerboat driver? What happens when they need to set a mark?

 

I think we should have a kill cord attached to the driver. If you need to set a mark, the engine is off. If that's a problem, buy a FELL Marine - system. 

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28 minutes ago, ScowLover said:
12 hours ago, ziper1221 said:

What do you mean by this? kill cord that is attached the powerboat driver? What happens when they need to set a mark?

 

I think we should have a kill cord attached to the driver. If you need to set a mark, the engine is off. If that's a problem, buy a FELL Marine - system. 

We should also ALWAYS have two people in the safety boats. A boat with just one person in it is kneecapped for carrying out any safety function, nor can a single driver keep lookout reliably.

Want to add, Maxstaylock my post above was not intended as a slam aimed at you, just a general comment. Safety has to be baked-in, and both top-down and bottom-up, in an organization that is undertaking potentially fatal activities. This is difficult to achieve!

- DSK

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1 hour ago, Steam Flyer said:

I agree that " accidents will always happen" but any engineer with training/experience in safety reviews will tell you that it is ALWAYS a choice and a cost/benefit analysis.

I got involved in the Olivia Constants enquiry, a youth sailing fatality involving a trapeze. The US Sailing enquiry was a total whitewash. They threw up their hands and said 'accidents will happen' but there were a LOT of points to consider for any program putting kids in trapezes. That's one area where this forum shines, we came away with dozens checks and procedures to increase safety with trapezes, several of which had a strong possibility of preventing Olivia's death if they -had- been part of her program.

However, it would have taken money (buying new safer trap systems) and time (ditch training)... when I suggested to a number of sailing coaches I know, that an integral part of training to sail trapeze boats, should be practice disconnecting under stress. Most said something like "Yeah but that would take time away from racing practice."

When our priorities are part of the problem, it becomes an accident waiting to happen. The fact that it takes a long time between happenings does not change the facts.

FB- Doug

This seems REALLY unfair and divorced from the reality I know if aimed at that MD club. Don't think there was any "whitewash" I have never seen safety compromised there because it would take away from race practice or anything else and its a hell of a thing to imply without putting your name behind it.  You are also ignoring that training accidents happen as well and there is a very real possibility that your "stressed" ditch or disconnect training could also have the potential for an accident. 

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12 minutes ago, Wess said:

This seems REALLY unfair and divorced from the reality I know if aimed at that MD club. Don't think there was any "whitewash" I have never seen safety compromised there because it would take away from race practice or anything else and its a hell of a thing to imply without putting your name behind it.  You are also ignoring that training accidents happen as well and there is a very real possibility that your "stressed" ditch or disconnect training could also have the potential for an accident. 

I am sorry if it seems unfair. Not specifically targeting any one program

However a requirement for "ditch training" was mentioned, talked about, and rejected flat-out... not by just one program but by all it was proposed to. It was not even mentioned in the USSA safety evaluation, which is what I meant as a whitewash.

Now, that proposal should probably have been adjusted and put on a scale of action/reaction, for everyone to pick where they wanted to put their priorities. But the net result of the whole affair was to say "Meh, it was a freak accident"

If an engineering firm had brought forward those results after a fatal industrial accident, they'd be asking "want fries with that" the week after. That's the standard I'm approaching it from.

I apologize for bringing up the past but I'd like to see us... especially those of us who are teaching & coaching sailing... to learn at least a little bit from it.

FB- Doug

 

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46 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

But the net result of the whole affair was to say "Meh, it was a freak accident."

 

Bullshit.  Many improvements and changes came about at the club because of that accident. You seem to have an axe to grind because as you say one of your recommendations was flat out rejected by al the clubs it was carried to but ignore that there may be good reason for that as your suggestion clearly comes with some significant increased risk.  But I am not going to waste time arguing with you or distract from a horrible accident in Sarasota.  I will simply say if you really were involved you know your statement above is complete and 100% total bull shit.

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Just now, Wess said:

Bullshit.  Many improvements and changes came about at the club because of that accident. You seem to have an axe to grind because as you say one of your recommendations was flat out rejected by al the clubs it was carried to but ignore that there may be good reason for that as your suggestion clearly comes with some significant increased risk.  But I am not going to waste time arguing with you or distract from a horrible accident in Sarasota.  I will simply say if you really were involved you know your statement above is complete and 100% total bull shit.

Agreed, no intention of distraction. My main point was to say that, just because there is a long interval between accidents, does not mean that we don't need to work on improving safety.

FB- Doug

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On 11/25/2020 at 10:10 AM, Wavedancer II said:

I remember a long discussion about the prop guard issue a while ago. I would be good to have that reference added to this thread. Someone?

Sadly I think in that discussion the child died when a line or strap from the life jacket was dragged through the prop guard .

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Jet boats are lousy coach boats in some ways, but I think their limitations can be overcome by a skilled driver who knows how to handle them and is highly trained.  Regardless, state legislators need to step in and start making prop guards mandatory.

Thoughts and prayers to all involved and the family of the young sailor lost.  Hugging my boys a little harder tonight. Eight bells.

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:16 PM, ScowLover said:

I think we should have a kill cord attached to the driver. If you need to set a mark, the engine is off. If that's a problem, buy a FELL Marine - system. 


Can someone give me some background to this conversation about kill cords on your side of the pond. 
Do you have to use them? 
Is it considered acceptable  to remove it when the engine is running for any reason? 
And what your rules are re ribs and sailors in the water . 

It just seems strange to uk ears . As we have very strict rules ( by the RYA ) regarding kill cord and what ribs have to do when sailors are in the water .

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49 minutes ago, Xeon said:


Can someone give me some background to this conversation about kill cords on your side of the pond. 
Do you have to use them? 
Is it considered acceptable  to remove it when the engine is running for any reason? 
And what your rules are re ribs and sailors in the water . 

It just seems strange to uk ears . As we have very strict rules ( by the RYA ) regarding kill cord and what ribs have to do when sailors are in the water .

During you coaching training through us sailing it's drilled in pretty good to wear the cord. There are definitely times I didn't have it on though. It's easy to think of wearing it when you're punching through waves out of the harbor, a little harder if it's a 5kt day and you're setting marks or whatever. 

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The Hawaii DNR (water cops) now require all daysail boats to have prop guards since a couple of fatalities from snorkelers getting run over in busy reef mooring spots. Here a guard/cage that I specified when I designed a new 50' Waikiki daysail cat that claims to actually deliver more thrust and is similar in that respect to a Kort Nozzle.

 

MPT Thrustor 17.75" Prop Guard | Boat props, Boat propellers, Props

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If that is correct, it explains a lot.

it certainly brings into focus the value of kill cords. And if you have to take it off , the engine should be turned off not in neutral. I understand there are sea conditions where you cannot do this and in those conditions there should be two people in the rib.

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+1 on kill cords, plus double action protection for putting the engine in gear from neutral, on our safety boats, you can't put an engine in gear from neutral by falling on it, you only break the handle off.  Hope the part of the report saying 20 foot boat was just usual journalistic inaccuracy, round here 15 foot is more usual for dinghy support, less than half the displacement of a 20 foot boat, I shudder to think of a 20 foot boat out of control around Oppies.

This year has seen our club change to single (approved) operators on ribs, due to social distancing, but we have been taking a more conservative approach to weather too.  Before this year, 2 persons on ribs was unbreakable, I wonder if this had a bearing on the accident.

Deepest sympathies to all affected.

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We had an instructor playing silly bugger in  RIB , wave jumping, fell out of coach boat  with no kill cord attached to him, boat went about a 1/2 mile then started doing tight donuts. Another coach got close enough in his RIB to pull out the kill cord that was hanging on the steering podium . We fired the wave jumping idiot the next morning. 

We have had several "near misses" over the years, by the grace of God.

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The importance of attaching the kill switch was driven home in St. Pete, Florida years ago. An experienced coach took it off his belt to lean over and help an Opti skipper. He leaned on the throttle and the boat took off, dumping him out. For the next 20 minutes the little 13-foot Whaler made tight circles right in front of spectators on the St. Pete Municipal Pier, with "St. Petersburg Yacht Club Sailing Team" prominently painted on the side . We had the Coast Guard, Marine Patrol and several other power vessels standing by.  I, as the manager, was also nervously standing by after getting the radio call at the Sailing Center.

Finally, a Coastie in an inflatable timed it right and pulled the kill switch. They checked the boat over very well, looking for safety infractions. Finally, one of the three officers said to our coach, "We must fine you for not having a PFD aboard."  The other two officers were grinning when the Coach said, "But, I'm wearing it!" 

Needless to say, all the coaches thereafter wore their PFDs and kept the kill switch attached on my watch.

Dave Ellis, SPYC 1987-2000

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I always wear the kill cord for changing location, (round leg just below knee), but must admit to taking it off when mark laying, or assisting a vessel, if alone.  Always double check am in neutral, before stepping out of the console.  By the grace of god, never had a problem.  Should really just leave it attached, and just keep restarting the engine, but come from a time stopped engines did not always restart, and starter motors cost money.

So, the number of kill cord incidents, everywhere, every year, across all ranges of experience and use, makes me think, maybe it's time for a re-design, its not 1973 anymore.  I understand all the usual argument against complexity in critical marine equipment, but surely some kind of electronic tag, instead of a physical attachment.  And as a back up, if the boat does more than 3 loops without the throttle being adjusted, it shuts down?

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12 hours ago, VWAP said:

 

I'm not sure I want to rely on that either to stop my boat or not to stop me from starting it. We have enough trouble with people fucking up the rescue boats without giving them one of those to loose or destroy.

Being a bit old school I was a bit sloppy with kill cords for a time, I've got over it. Yes they're a pain when setting marks, but I can live with it.  That's exactly the kind of time I'm going to cause a problem that the cord will solve.

This was a horrible accident. Let's wait until we find out what actually happened and then see what we might need to think about changing as a result.

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On 11/30/2020 at 3:03 PM, Roller Skates said:

Heartbreaking to hear.
Best to all involved. Thanks for update @thengling.

If you're not a kill cord person, try fastening at the ankle. Works great in nearly all boats, allows me to grab marks/sailors, and doesn't get in the wheel.
Don't get me started on the number of coaches I see still not wearing PFDs.

 Maybe you should get started? I've been to a LOT of youth sailing events over the last ten years or so, in the UK and abroad, as a parent and as safety crew or rib driver. I've even been safety lead at a couple of smaller regattas. In the UK, at least, buoyancy aids or lifejackets are mandatory for everyone on the water and kill cords are required to be worn. Occasionally at bigger event here, overseas coaches will be seen to be lax with their use and need to be counselled appropriately... 

 It's not hard to wear a kill-cord and a BA/LJ and there should be no excuses. Everyone present has a vested interest in being safe, the OA has good reason to be seen to be safe.

 Decades ago the Principal at the first sailing school I worked at used to say "It's not enough to wear a BA, an instructor should be seen to be wearing a BA": applies to safety crew, coaches and race officials too. "Useless unless worn", as the saying goes.

 Cheers,

                W.

Edited by WGWarburton
fix typo
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5 hours ago, European Bloke said:

This was a horrible accident. Let's wait until we find out what actually happened and then see what we might need to think about changing as a result.

Agreed that we shouldn't jump to conclusion, but it doesn't prevent us from moving forward while the events are fresh and emotional. Waiting for reason looses the power of emotion to change behavior. Wear a kill cord - electronic or manual. Think the news is clear enough. Hope the family directs their pain positively towards the promotion of prevention in the future.

The fact that my state requires training classes for snowmobiles - but not powered watercraft - is laughable. Truly do not understand.

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1 minute ago, WGWarburton said:

 Maybe you should get started? I've been to a LOT of youth sailing events over the last ten years or so, in the UK and abroad, as a parent and as safety crew or rib driver. I've even been safety lead at a couple of smaller regattas. In the UK, at least, buoyancy aids or lifejackets are mandatory for everyone on the water and kill cords are required to be worn. Occasionally at bigger event here, overseas coaches will be seen to be lax with their use and need to be counselled appropriately... 

 It's not hard to wear a kill-cord and a BA/LJ and there should be no excuses. Everyone present has a vested interest in being safe, the OA has good reason to be seen to be safe.

 Decades ago the principle at the first sailing school I worked at used to say "It's not enough to wear a BA, an instructor should be seen to be wearing a BA": applies to safety crew, coaches and race officials too. "Useless unless worn", as the saying goes.

 Cheers,

                W.

It also is important to set an example. I used to dislike wearing a life jacket, but grew accustomed to it over years of dinghy/one-design racing. There are almost always a few students who complain, say they are great swimmers (and probably are), etc etc. But when they see the coach, a figure that they hopefully admire and try to earn the approval of, wearing a life jacket cheerfully, they fall right into line.

Safety is what happens between the ears of the people doing potentially dangerous stuff.

- DSK

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7 minutes ago, WGWarburton said:

 Maybe you should get started?

Our organizing body is quite clear on this, but it still seen in that traditional American fashion. Not sure our PFDs are sized to fit the egos of our coaches? Money seems to loosen the zipper as they say. :ph34r:

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1 minute ago, Roller Skates said:

Our organizing body is quite clear on this, but it still seen in that traditional American fashion. Not sure our PFDs are sized to fit the egos of our coaches? 

All coaches here are required to wear USCG approved life jackets while on the water. Same for all juniors 

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1 minute ago, Roller Skates said:

Our organizing body is quite clear on this, but it still seen in that traditional American fashion. Not sure our PFDs are sized to fit the egos of our best coaches. Money seems to loosen the zipper as they say. :ph34r:

Are the coach boats part of the safety fleet? If so, they should fall under the remit of the designated safety lead for the event, who should be in a good position to apply pressure to the coaches to meet "minimum safety standards".

 Some careful wording of race documents to allow penalisation of sailors receiving any support from boats that don't comply with requests from the safety lead should establish the ground rules. Friendly warnings to parents of coached sailors regarding the potential impact of non-compliance can work wonders.

Cheers,

               W.

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When I became the manager of the St. Petersburg Sailing Center in January, 1987, the coach did not wear a life jacket (PFD) nor did many of the kids. I made it a priority to change that.

One of the ways was to point out to the very accomplished coach that the insurance did not cover him if he had an accident while not wearing his PFD. 

We knew we had trained the kids when we had to remind them to take off their PFDs when we got to McDonalds for a break. Shows how few kids we had on the race team back then!

Dave Ellis

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Just to add to the discussion, please replace the kill cords every few years. It’s amazing how many sun bleached, rotted cords you see out there that probably aren’t even strong enough to pull the kill switch. 

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Our rules have become increasingly easy at our sail school. If your a student or coach, within 50ft of the water , PFD is on. If you dont wish to wear on, your not getting within 50ft of the water let alone in a boat. Coach with no PDF? = fired.  Same for kill cords now, engine running with no cord attached? = fired.  All instructors have a VHF (mandatory) , if your engine wont restart, call and another boat comes and gets you. Total number out of 10 Ribs in the fleet ever towed in from the lake in a decade, zero. 

Like wearing a seatbelt in the car, or helmet on your motorcycle, or a PDF in a dingy, none of this is hard to do. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The idea that prop guards keep boats from planing is so overblown that it’s barely worth mentioning.

We have a 2013 4.5m shite Chinese center console rib for our sailing club. It was donated brand new with a brand new 20hp 4 stroke Mercury. We put a prop guard on immediately. The boat has always planed with driver + 2 people. 
 

I pushed the club to repower it as our logical quick response safety boat. 30hp 4 stroke Honda with a prop guard has enough go to be on the edge by yourself. It will plane with 4 people on board instantly. 

In AU we have many many sailing clubs and surf lifesaving clubs. The vast majority of ribs I’ve seen or used have prop guards. 

We are absolutely strict about PFDs & kill cords.

 

 


 

 

 

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13 hours ago, CaptainAhab said:

The idea that prop guards keep boats from planing is so overblown that it’s barely worth mentioning.

We have a 2013 4.5m shite Chinese center console rib for our sailing club. It was donated brand new with a brand new 20hp 4 stroke Mercury. We put a prop guard on immediately. The boat has always planed with driver + 2 people. 
 

I pushed the club to repower it as our logical quick response safety boat. 30hp 4 stroke Honda with a prop guard has enough go to be on the edge by yourself. It will plane with 4 people on board instantly. 

In AU we have many many sailing clubs and surf lifesaving clubs. The vast majority of ribs I’ve seen or used have prop guards. 

We are absolutely strict about PFDs & kill cords.

 

 


 

 

 

They also race those crazy inflatables with Tohatsu 50 off beach.

Prop guards.

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6 hours ago, fastyacht said:

They also race those crazy inflatables with Tohatsu 50 off beach.

Prop guards.

https://images.app.goo.gl/7jR3SUQY3gDZzrjG7


https://images.app.goo.gl/5Ywmo6C2WVVnWSYh6

https://youtu.be/cESaylp0R3g

In South Australia we typically use 25hp outboards. Those are 25’s and 30’s from what I could see. The races are insane. 

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Our club has for some years insisted on rescue boats having.

two people,

Kill cords worn, round leg because of where the switches are mounted

PFDs worn,

First aid kit on board,

Throwing Lifeline fitted, 

Fire extinguisher fitted,

Tow rope,

They are 15ft fibreglass dories with a 15 or 25hp outboard. Without propguards. We used to have 10hp engines but got criticised by our authority rangers for having non planing rescue boats. Although technically it's not a requirement.

 

Having had none for many years, There have been two deaths by prop this year, both on Norfolk  Broads hire boats of about 40ft.

In one case the boats was coming into moor , the boat hit the quay the crew preparing to go ashore with the mooring rope fell overboard, and was washed under the boat by the very strong tide at that point. A 5 knot tide is normal there.

The other at the same place they were fooling around and someone got pushed overboard and also got washed into the prop.

Hire boats only have a top speed of 7 or 8 knots and swing a big prop.

 

 

 

 

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