Tragic youth sailing accident

Agreed, if you have a prop guard it makes a prop strike fatality much much less likely... problem is, that's a pretty rare circumstance. Of 2 the other youth sailing fatalities reported in the last decade (total of 3) the other two were rigging entanglement in a capsize. I don't know what other forms of accidents have been suffered, it would be very interesting to hear about European and Australian youth accident reports; from a standpoint of preparing for the real hazards rather than imagining what-might-go-wrong scenarios.

FB- Doug
I encourage you not to fall into the same trap the boating industry often uses to deflect attention. They say we have not seen any accidents EXACTLY like this one for a long time (not the same boat builder, the same horsepower, the same type of drive, fatality, within the last 5 years, etc). Sometimes it seems to us like they would like to add "on a Tuesday afternoon". Youth sailing propeller accidents do not happen every day HOWEVER the U.S. Coast Guard openly admits most boating accidents meeting their reporting criteria go unreported. That makes the existing data more valuable. I suggest you consider broadening the applications AND geography AND time span to get a better picture of what is going on.

I suggest looking at fatal AND non fatal propeller accidents involving coaching, escort, and safety boats across youth sailing, open water swimming, canoe races, rowing, sculling, and other similar events here and abroad. It gives you a better view of what brings about these accidents. Much of that data inside AND outside the U.S. will be limited to media reports.

For example, I copied the text below from our site:

"two boys were taking sailing training with a safety boat about 50 meters in front of them with Royal Yachting Association (RYA) handlers on board. Then one boy fell into the water and the sailboat was still upright. The boy remaining onboard was having trouble pulling up the boy that fell in, in part because his safety harness was catching on the hull. The crew on the safety boat decided to help. They put their boat in neutral. The helmsman was moving across the safety boat to assist, when he slipped and grabbed the throttle which also pulled the safety boat into gear. He immediately pulled the kill switch, but his boat had swung sideways, its propeller struck the boy’s leg and caused serious injuries. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital where his leg had to be amputated. The accident was written up as Incident Number 8 in a MAIB safety series. Posted online by Sail-World 24 August 2009 along with a list of 4 lessons learned (lessons posted 23 August 2009)."

Back to my previous post,

Yachting Australia also issued a safety information notice 26 August 2013 "The use of propeller guards for outboard engines at training centres and clubs where there is dinghy and windsurfing training." http://www.sailing.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/sin-2-130826-propeller-guards.pdf

Back to RYA,  in UK Water-Related Incident Database Gap Analysis Final Report RSM/06/14 for Health & Safety Laboratory (a UK safety research firm) they interviewed RYA for their 2014 report. "From the telephone interview it was established that the RYA do not currently collect or collate any accident information. In a small number of cases they may respond to accident information (i.e. through basic investigation if the incident relates to the RYA directly). "

RYA had not taken advantage of their position to record accident data of any kind.

gary

 

Steam Flyer

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I encourage you not to fall into the same trap the boating industry often uses to deflect attention. They say we have not seen any accidents EXACTLY like this one for a long time (not the same boat builder, the same horsepower, the same type of drive, fatality, within the last 5 years, etc). Sometimes it seems to us like they would like to add "on a Tuesday afternoon". Youth sailing propeller accidents do not happen every day HOWEVER the U.S. Coast Guard openly admits most boating accidents meeting their reporting criteria go unreported. That makes the existing data more valuable. I suggest you consider broadening the applications AND geography AND time span to get a better picture of what is going on.

I suggest looking at fatal AND non fatal propeller accidents involving coaching, escort, and safety boats across youth sailing, open water swimming, canoe races, rowing, sculling, and other similar events here and abroad. It gives you a better view of what brings about these accidents. Much of that data inside AND outside the U.S. will be limited to media reports.

For example, I copied the text below from our site:

"two boys were taking sailing training with a safety boat about 50 meters in front of them with Royal Yachting Association (RYA) handlers on board. Then one boy fell into the water and the sailboat was still upright. The boy remaining onboard was having trouble pulling up the boy that fell in, in part because his safety harness was catching on the hull. The crew on the safety boat decided to help. They put their boat in neutral. The helmsman was moving across the safety boat to assist, when he slipped and grabbed the throttle which also pulled the safety boat into gear. He immediately pulled the kill switch, but his boat had swung sideways, its propeller struck the boy’s leg and caused serious injuries. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital where his leg had to be amputated. The accident was written up as Incident Number 8 in a MAIB safety series. Posted online by Sail-World 24 August 2009 along with a list of 4 lessons learned (lessons posted 23 August 2009)."

Back to my previous post,

Yachting Australia also issued a safety information notice 26 August 2013 "The use of propeller guards for outboard engines at training centres and clubs where there is dinghy and windsurfing training." http://www.sailing.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/sin-2-130826-propeller-guards.pdf

Back to RYA,  in UK Water-Related Incident Database Gap Analysis Final Report RSM/06/14 for Health & Safety Laboratory (a UK safety research firm) they interviewed RYA for their 2014 report. "From the telephone interview it was established that the RYA do not currently collect or collate any accident information. In a small number of cases they may respond to accident information (i.e. through basic investigation if the incident relates to the RYA directly). "

RYA had not taken advantage of their position to record accident data of any kind.

gary
Gary, thank you very much.

FB- Doug

 
          Good post PropellerSafety... I hope that we're in agreement that it's not a simple issue and a decision about the use of guards needs to be made with careful consideration of the risks inherent in the particular environment and application the boat is intended for,  not mandated (either by government or other organisation) in a knee-jerk reaction to a particular tragedy.
We agree it is not a simple issue, but better coordination between the parties involved (boat builders, drive manufacturers, propeller guard manufacturers, national youth sailing organizations, yacht clubs, etc) could make it a much simpler issue. We also agree decisions should not be made in knee-jerk reaction to a particular tragedy.

Regulations are out due to the reasons described below:

As to new U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulations, that is not an option. Historically any movement of that nature would be killed by the boating industry, but now it dies on its own. I attended the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) meeting in late March 2017. Major USCG officials told us they estimated it would take 18 years to get a new regulation of significant impact (creates a cost burden over a certain size as determined by Office of Management and Budget) passed and they would have to identify two existing regulations to kill to get it issued. As a result, USCG has moved most of their safety related regulatory efforts to OUTREACH PROGRAMS (trying to influence boat operators by providing literature, public service announcements, social media, training, events, and other activities to encourage / nudge them into making better safety decisions, like the "Get Connected" campaign currently underway by the National Safe Boating Council encouraging boat operators to attach their kill switch lanyard. New USCG boating safety regulations are no longer an option in today's political environment.

State legislatures can create their own regulations which can quickly become a patchwork of regulations. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) sometimes steps in, especially when encouraged by USCG and writes model acts that can be adapted by states resulting in much less variation between states. But the process takes a LONG time and only a few states may adopt the proposed model act.

Congress is always a possibility but we have all seen how well they work together recently. The probability of getting Congress to directly pass a boating safety regulation would be hard to distinguish from zero.

You could try to raise the issue up to the Coast Guard like they did with kill switches back in 1976. In March 2017 (51 years later) we were told the resulting proposed kill switch regulations were dead in the current political environment. I don't think you want to wait that long. The Coast Guard is a wonderful organization but they answer to many voices and change comes very slow. Some loud voices might be able to encourage a USCG non-profit grant to gather information on these topics in a few years, then present it to those involved a few years after that, but any actual USCG testing of guards on vessels like these would be hard to come by (limited budgets and few resources).

Regulations from the levels listed above hold little or no immediate promise for this situation.

Back to the OUTREACH programs described by USCG:

An NBSAC presenter at the March 2017 meeting recommended those in attendance study the field of Behavioral Economics and listed three well known experts in that field: Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, and Cass Sunstein. We have been reading some of their works on encouraging people to make better choices for their own individual well being and safety. A book called NUDGE by Thaler and Sunstein talks about how the architecture of choice can be setup to help people make better choices for themselves and their specific situations and how to recognize some of the stumbling blocks that must be overcome. Organizations and the boating industry COULD help this come to pass for youth sailing by NUDGING nudging yacht clubs and related youth sailing training organizations with some of the techniques described in the book to assist people into making better complex choice decisions they rarely make that provide little immediate feedback. We have been formulating some ideas along those lines.

gary

 
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DavidG

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PropellerSafety ... I respect your position, you have obviously given this a lot of consideration.  I did not say that I agreed with the RYA position, merely reflecting a point of view.  As previously stated, I do a lot of accreditation work with high powered RIBs and the amount of power at the disposal of unqualified drivers makes me fearful ... thankfully most coach boats and safety boats don't have 300HP on the back, but that is another story.

I am also sympathetic to the need to "do something about it", I know of two prop strike incidents local to me, with horendous outcomes, one fatal, one life changing, and witnessed two incidents where drivers have been ejected from boats (not ribs) with no kill chord and the boats circling them ... fortunately slow enough for a second driver to board from a boat close by.

Where does this get us ... in the UK anyone reading the RYA advice would probably infer that they are anti, though this is not quite what their document says, but clubs would probably infer that to fit a prop guard would be against RYA advice and not look good on a risk assessment.

Last time I looked when a flag officer of my club, we read the RYA advice, and failed to identify a prop guard that ticked the boxes.  Things might have changed, but the manufacturers probably need to educate the market more than they have done.  Nor do I see outboard engine manufacturers embracing prop guards as an option.

Previously I raised the issue of throttles.

Another big issue is imo a "safety" boat is absolutely useless, if not dangerous if it is manned "one up", which is what appeared to be in this case.  I sail every week as well as run quite a few races; if I were in the water being approached by a one up safety boat I would ask them to go away ... I would rather take my own chances.  Likewise as a race officer, I would prefer to have less but fully manned safety boats, than more "one up" safety boats.

 

fastyacht

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Last point is excellent. However, a good coach can be effective alone. But in some circumstances unable to actually help. It is the "stretching" in those conditions, that can lead to calamities.

 
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familysailor

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San Francisco Bay
We agree it is not a simple issue, but better coordination between the parties involved (boat builders, drive manufacturers, propeller guard manufacturers, national youth sailing organizations, yacht clubs, etc) could make it a much simpler issue. We also agree decisions should not be made in knee-jerk reaction to a particular tragedy.

Regulations are out due to the reasons described below:

As to new U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulations, that is not an option. Historically any movement of that nature would be killed by the boating industry, but now it dies on its own. I attended the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) meeting in late March 2017. Major USCG officials told us they estimated it would take 18 years to get a new regulation of significant impact (creates a cost burden over a certain size as determined by Office of Management and Budget) passed and they would have to identify two existing regulations to kill to get it issued. As a result, USCG has moved most of their safety related regulatory efforts to OUTREACH PROGRAMS (trying to influence boat operators by providing literature, public service announcements, social media, training, events, and other activities to encourage / nudge them into making better safety decisions, like the "Get Connected" campaign currently underway by the National Safe Boating Council encouraging boat operators to attach their kill switch lanyard. New USCG boating safety regulations are no longer an option in today's political environment.

State legislatures can create their own regulations which can quickly become a patchwork of regulations. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) sometimes steps in, especially when encouraged by USCG and writes model acts that can be adapted by states resulting in much less variation between states. But the process takes a LONG time and only a few states may adopt the proposed model act.

Congress is always a possibility but we have all seen how well they work together recently. The probability of getting Congress to directly pass a boating safety regulation would be hard to distinguish from zero.

You could try to raise the issue up to the Coast Guard like they did with kill switches back in 1976. In March 2017 (51 41years later) we were told the resulting proposed kill switch regulations were dead in the current political environment. I don't think you want to wait that long. The Coast Guard is a wonderful organization but they answer to many voices and change comes very slow. Some loud voices might be able to encourage a USCG non-profit grant to gather information on these topics in a few years, then present it to those involved a few years after that, but any actual USCG testing of guards on vessels like these would be hard to come by (limited budgets and few resources).

Regulations from the levels listed above hold little or no immediate promise for this situation.

Back to the OUTREACH programs described by USCG:

An NBSAC presenter at the March 2017 meeting recommended those in attendance study the field of Behavioral Economics and listed three well known experts in that field: Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, and Cass Sunstein. We have been reading some of their works on encouraging people to make better choices for their own individual well being and safety. A book called NUDGE by Thaler and Sunstein talks about how the architecture of choice can be setup to help people make better choices for themselves and their specific situations and how to recognize some of the stumbling blocks that must be overcome. Organizations and the boating industry COULD help this come to pass for youth sailing by NUDGING nudging yacht clubs and related youth sailing training organizations with some of the techniques described in the book to assist people into making better complex choice decisions they rarely make that provide little immediate feedback. We have been formulating some ideas along those lines.

gary
Just a math thing...

 
Where does this get us ... in the UK anyone reading the RYA advice would probably infer that they are anti, though this is not quite what their document says, but clubs would probably infer that to fit a prop guard would be against RYA advice and not look good on a risk assessment.

Last time I looked when a flag officer of my club, we read the RYA advice, and failed to identify a prop guard that ticked the boxes.  Things might have changed, but the manufacturers probably need to educate the market more than they have done.  Nor do I see outboard engine manufacturers embracing prop guards as an option.

Previously I raised the issue of throttles.

Another big issue is imo a "safety" boat is absolutely useless, if not dangerous if it is manned "one up", which is what appeared to be in this case.  I sail every week as well as run quite a few races; if I were in the water being approached by a one up safety boat I would ask them to go away ... I would rather take my own chances.  Likewise as a race officer, I would prefer to have less but fully manned safety boats, than more "one up" safety boats.
Thank you for your kind reply.
You make several excellent points. The way you said, "in the UK" makes me think you may be there.

As to your comment about engine manufacturers not embracing propeller guards as an option -
> "Nor do I see outboard engine manufacturers embracing prop guards as an option."

RYA raised similar issues in their statement your referenced:

"[SIZE=9pt]Prop guards can alter characteristics of a vessel [/SIZE]




In some cases however a prop guard will alter the characteristics of the craft or the performance of the engine to such a degree that it may no longer be fit for the purpose intended. Vessels requiring rapid acceleration or a high degree of manoeuvrability will be adversely affected by the fitting of a prop – guard and therefore may no longer be able to perform to the required standard.

There has been some suggestion that prop guards can cause damage to gearboxes and prop shafts. The fitting of prop guards to some engines may have implications on the validity of the warranty for those engines. This question should be explored directly with your manufacturer or dealer. "




********************************************

The remainder of my comments focus specifically on your and RYA's comments specifically as they relate to Yamaha, which happened to be the manufacturer of the outboard involved in the recent accident.

To those with coach and escort boats in the U.K. serving youth sailing powered by Yamaha outboards of 100 hp or less I would point you to numerous statements made by Yamaha UK Pro (Yamaha's UK Professional division that adapts Yamaha's motorized recreational products for use in commercial applications).  In 2012 Yamaha UK Pro launched a stainless steel vane type guard for small flood rescue outboards that quickly spread to their entire outboard line.

Yamaha said in their own promotional literature:

1. "When operating in floodwater environments the likelihood of swimmers/divers/casualties being in the water means a prop guard is essential. Yamaha propeller guards, tailored to fit individual engines, are also specifically designed to have minimal impact on performance."

2. "When operating in a flooded environment there is also the possibility of casualties in the water, which means a propeller guard is essential to reduce the risk of injury."

3. "In addition, these guards aid control of water flow from the propeller and can increase thrust at low RPM."

4. "a new design of propeller guard, shaped to give greatest strength, with minimum water-flow disturbance to the propeller giving maximum performance. These options are for both both larger and smaller outboards ...."

In October 2012 we posted some articles commending Yamaha for their efforts in the face of strong industry opposition to the use of propeller guards. Yamaha immediately erased all online references to their propeller guard program. We encouraged them to repost the information or explain why they took it down, they failed to respond to our inquiries, so we posted clips from the copies we had previously downloaded to our archives. The clips are at: http://www.propellersafety.com/6331/legal-propeller/yamaha-propeller-guard-documents-coverup/

*****************

The stainless steel guard Yamaha was touting and selling is now known as the Prop Deflector.
http://www.prop-deflector.com/

Here is a quote from the current Prop Deflector web site:

"It is worth underlining that in tests the RNLI who use the product, a craft achieving a top speed of 30 knots only lost 5% overall speed, with no manoeuvrability issues found, even when utilising the standard propeller."

note - use of  a propeller guard sometimes requires a propeller with a little less pitch to allow the engine to rev back up to maximum RPM to achieve its best performance. In the RNLI test they achieved 95 percent of top speed with the old propeller.

If anybody is running Yamaha outboards of 100 HP or less in coaching and escort boats used with youth sailing in the UK and considering the use of propeller guards, we suggest you visit with Prop Deflector or one of their outlets.

The Prop Deflector is a guard that was at least at one time touted by Yamaha for applications sharing several things in common with youth sailing coaching, escort, and safety boats that several have sang praises too. Seems like it would be hard for Yamaha to question the use of those guards on Yamaha outboards in youth sailing applications.

We have no financial connections with the the Prop Deflector. We just wish Yamaha would have had to the courage to have stuck with it in the face of industry opposition.

gary

 


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