Prop guards on junior sailing chase boats

frostbit

Anarchist
We are planning on fitting all chase boats with prop guards. Any of you have direct experience with running boats with guards and, if so, what was your experience?

 
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WCB

Super Anarchist
4,518
910
Park City, UT
I think that there was a thread about this not too long ago.  We're looking at it for our program in Park City.  It seems like the correct thing to do.

 

PaulK

Super Anarchist
All of our Jr. Program boats have them, following an accident at another club. We looked at many different models, some of which seemed much less effective than others.  Am checking on the brand name. The ones we got cut top speed on our whalers and RIBs by a considerable amount and reduce mpg.  We now sometimes think about trailing crash boats to distant regattas instead of having an instructor go by water.

 
meh. The right idea in theory, harder to implement in practice.

We put them on two of our boats (18' Whalers) after the Olivia incident (and USS saying they wanted something like a 5:1 student/coach ratio which is impossible for most clubs).

Took top speed down 25-30% and the ones we installed didn't have a back, it was blue or yellow plastic that bolted to the anti-cavitation plate. Really hard to turn too unless you were at 1/3 throttle or better, and you couldn't back down worth a shit.

My sketchiest situations were all in a seaway or in some type of weather trying to get close to exhausted/injured/frustrated kids, maybe the new models are better but I always hated driving the boats with guards, between not being able to get there fast, not being able to turn or back down, and training to pick things up amidships seemed to negate concerns over turning swimmers into sashimi.

 

PaulK

Super Anarchist
This design looks rather poor. If you want to try and retain some performance, the part around the perimeter of the prop should be a solid ring, and as close to the prop as feasible. 
The idea is to have a prop guard that works as a prop guard, and doesn't serve to funnel fingers, toes, and loose lines into the prop. If we had wanted Kort nozzles, we'd have fitted them. Performance was not one of the selection criteria.  Safety, with drivers like the digitally challenged who think victims will not drift away from amidships, or grab whatever part of the boat is closest to them, was the Prime Directive. We operate seven Boston Whalers, two RIBs and a runabout for our junior program.  All are fitted with prop guards. 

 
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fastyacht

Super Anarchist
12,928
2,600
meh. The right idea in theory, harder to implement in practice.

We put them on two of our boats (18' Whalers) after the Olivia incident (and USS saying they wanted something like a 5:1 student/coach ratio which is impossible for most clubs).

Took top speed down 25-30% and the ones we installed didn't have a back, it was blue or yellow plastic that bolted to the anti-cavitation plate. Really hard to turn too unless you were at 1/3 throttle or better, and you couldn't back down worth a shit.

My sketchiest situations were all in a seaway or in some type of weather trying to get close to exhausted/injured/frustrated kids, maybe the new models are better but I always hated driving the boats with guards, between not being able to get there fast, not being able to turn or back down, and training to pick things up amidships seemed to negate concerns over turning swimmers into sashimi.
It sounds like I should design a better one so that this doesn't happen. Open wheels around swimmers is simply a bad thing.

Notice that surfers use jet skis to rescue? Waterjet. And they manouver. I think we have been thinking too old fashioned. Actually just thinking cheap.

Heck, a large PWC would do well as an optimist rescue boat.

But the prop guards don't have to be so bad.

 

ziper1221

Member
110
39
florida
The idea is to have a prop guard that works as a prop guard, and doesn't serve to funnel fingers, toes, and loose lines into the prop. If we had wanted Kort nozzles, we'd have fitted them. Performance was not one of the selection criteria.  Safety, with drivers like the digitally challenged who think victims will not drift away from amidships, or grab whatever part of the boat is closest to them, was the Prime Directive. We operate seven Boston Whalers, two RIBs and a runabout for our junior program.  All are fitted with prop guards. 
How would a nozzle with that same cage in front and back be any more dangerous? and obviously performance must factor in in some manner, or you would be using 5 hp engines 

 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
12,928
2,600
How would a nozzle with that same cage in front and back be any more dangerous? and obviously performance must factor in in some manner, or you would be using 5 hp engines 
A long time ago in the he 80s I ran a camp as head instructor. 70 hp on 16 Whaler. The club officers would get all bent out of shape any time I had the boat on a plane. Might as well had a 5 hp. And a whitehall.

 

PaulK

Super Anarchist
How would a nozzle with that same cage in front and back be any more dangerous? and obviously performance must factor in in some manner, or you would be using 5 hp engines 
The water that gets pushed out the back by the propeller has to come from somewhere.  When it's in a directed flow - as in a Kort nozzle - it comes in from in front of the nozzle.  Like a vacuum, things that are near the front end are sucked in by the concentrated flow.  With a cage, the water comes in from the sides as well as the front and the flow is not as concentrated. This lessens the tendency of the propeller to draw objects into it.  In a capsized boat scenario there are likely lots of loose lines and other objects floating around that might be wrapped or tangled around a sailor.  It would be better not to draw things into the propeller.  

 

JoeW

New member
31
11
Guernsey
Is this more of a question of better training and boat handling skills than putting a prop guard on? I've never used one and never felt like I've needed one. I've been in plenty of situations with people, ropes, sails etc in the water but as long as you keep the engine away and switch it off when necessary there shouldn't be a problem?

 

JoeW

New member
31
11
Guernsey
I would say that jet drives are even worse. If you do get a rope sucked into the impeller, it's nearly impossible to get it free which leaves you in a worse position. They are also useless in shallow water because they suck the sand, mud, seaweed etc into the impeller. The other thing is that the steering is reversed in reverse with a jet drive, so you need to be competent driving a jet drive, not just a boat, to be able to manoeuvre efficiently. They have a couple of other bad characteristics, so overall I think there's plenty of reasons you don't see them being used for safety boats etc.

 

European Bloke

Super Anarchist
3,407
829
Overal which is likely to be safer for people in the water, a tiller steered outboat boat or a wheel steered center console one?
I've seen clowns making a right mess of it in the best boats with the best gear. I've seen others make it look easy in difficult conditions in boat you'd be told were totally unsuitable.

They'd all been trained, and all had paperwork, but some people can do it and some never will. Not saying that means we should just accept the outboards are blenders.

 

WGWarburton

Anarchist
993
745
Scotland
There's no easy answer to this,  someone who understands the specific environment needs to make an informed and sensible decision on the lowest risk option (lowest risk may mean least chance of injury or least chance of litigation,  depending on said environment...).

 For "junior" coaching in Oppies, Teras etc there should be less need for high speed, so a prop guard may reduce the risk of injury,  though ensuring you don't have a running engine in the same place as swimmer may be more effective.

  If coaching youth boats like skiffs, then there's a higher risk of (1) significant separation and (2) dangerous entrapment, a combination of which is obviously concerning. 

 In that situation,  limiting the speed and/or maneuverability your coach boat may be misguided, so a different balance might be appropriate, though again, switching off when close to swimmers usually reduces risk. 

 As others have said,  safety isn't about the gear,  it's about the attitude, competence and awareness of the people. 

Cheers, 

                W.

 




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