Boat propellers pose a risk that can be easily ignored or forgotten because they are under the water, ‘out of sight and out of mind’. However, a strike from a spinning propeller can cause serious injury or even death.
Boat propeller injuries, if not fatal, are usually severe and disfiguring, resulting in prolonged disability and permanent impairment.
Propeller injuries are preventable.
The skipper is responsible for the safety of passengers and should consider the area around the prop as a ‘hazard zone’.
Being aware of this ‘hazard zone’ is particularly important for people involved in tow sports like water-skiing and wakeboarding and any time power boats are used near swimmers or children.
• Inspect the area near the stern to ensure the area is all clear before starting the engine
• Turn the engine off near people in the water as some propellers may continue to spin, even in neutral
• Keep a proper lookout at all times when underway, especially when near swimmers
• Stay out of designated swimming areas
• Brief any person driving the power boat on the risks
• Keep all arms and legs inside the boat
• Wear a kill-switch lanyard whenever driving a vessel under power. A kill-switch lanyard is attached to the arm and stops the engine when pulled out.