A commercial fisherman was snorkeling and spearfishing earlier this month when a boat when a 32-foot boat struck him, causing serious propeller injuries to his lower body. The fisherman lost part of one leg and suffered severe injuries to the other because of the boating accident.
Why Boaters Need to Be Aware of Propeller Accidents
Propeller accidents are often not the first event that happens. Typically, there is a man overboard situation, a boating accident involving a collision, capsizing, a mechanical failure or a rogue wave. However, the consequences of these types of accidents can be life changing.
A propeller contains three whirling blades and typically spins at 3200 rpm on boats. This means it is capable of inflicting at least 160 impacts in one second. Worse, a propeller can continue to spin even after the engine is put in neutral or turned off. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are anywhere between 28 to 47 people killed each year by propeller accidents. There are approximately between 200 and 250 non-fatal propeller injuries, which most commonly include the following:
- Deep, parallel lacerations
- Permanent scarring
- Substantial blood loss
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
If you are boating, you must be aware of the risks associated with having a motorized vessel and do the best you can to keep both swimmers and your passengers safe. Keep the following in mind while out on the water:
- Most passengers don’t know a boat can bounce suddenly. Make sure all of your passengers are seated safely inside the boat
- Slow down when encountering a large wake to minimize the possibility of the vessel lurching forward
- Boat sober
- Encourage your passengers to help you keep a sharp eye out for swimmers and do your best to keep a safe distance from them
- Wear your engine cutoff switch lanyard
- Stay at least 100 feet from diver-down flags
- Don’t let your passengers swim onto the swim platform while the engine is in gear
Latti & Anderson LLP is a maritime injury law firm that helps those injured in boating accidents. We have offices in Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, but also help those injured in maritime accidents nationwide.