Generally, water vehicles and aircraft use a mechanical device named a propeller to help the vehicle move forward. This rotating part of the boat always remains underwater, and that is why the swimmers are unable to see this fatal object.
Every year hundreds of cases of Propeller strike injuries are reported across the globe. These injuries can lead to the death of the victim in some cases. People sometimes fall off the boat and land on the propeller, in other cases, they are struck by the propeller during boarding. Some propeller strike accidents happen during water skiing also.
If you are operating a boat on your own or appearing for a boat exam, you should know the answer to the popular question of “What Piece of Equipment on a Boat is Most Important in Preventing Propeller Strike Injuries?”. It is the ignition safety switch. This switch is generally located on the control handle of the boat with other switches.
Can this switch alone prevent all propeller-related accidents?
Well, unfortunately, the ignition safety switch can’t prevent all types of propeller strike injuries. This switch turns off the engine almost immediately, thereby saving the life of the potential victim. But, apart from this switch, there are other safety devices that are instrumental for preventing such mishaps.
It is evident from the name that the device guards the propeller blades against causing any fatal injury. The prop guard is basically a steel cage that diminishes the chances of direct contact between the propeller and other underwater objects.
Many boat manufacturers are adding the electronic sensor to modern boats these days. This sensor gives the boat operator a signal when a person swims near the boat. This is the time when the operator needs to turn off the engine to prevent propeller strike accidents.
When the ladder is used by the passengers, the Ladder Interlock system triggers the boat to turn off the engine. This way, the boat operator can eliminate the chance of propeller strike accidents.
Is there any safety measure to evade Propeller related injuries?
There are a number of safety measures one can follow to prevent these kinds of propeller strike accidents. Some of these measures are to be followed by the boat operators, whereas most safety guidelines are for the passengers.
Be careful when the passengers board the boat
As a boat operator, you should never start your engine until all the passengers are well-seated on your boat. Also, turn off the boat engine first and then allow the passengers to get down. If necessary, you can hire a spotter to watch the passengers.
Try to spot human on the water
If you locate any swimmer or diver in the water, you should wait for them to pass first. You can either turn off the boat engine or slow it down if you are driving your boat in a populated lake or near-beach water body.
So, follow these two aforementioned steps, and you will be able to ensure passenger safety. To prevent propeller strike accidents, you can update your boat with modern controlling devices. Last but not least, familiarize yourself with the passenger safety guidelines and learn “how you can handle the situation if there is any propeller strike accident.”