A propeller is a combination of blades that are responsible for moving the boat forwards.
Essentially, when operating, the propeller will convert the power that is produced by the engine into forward movement.
As the propeller adopts a turning motion, the force will propel the boat forward and the flow of water downwards.
If the propeller comes into contact with any object that forces it to slow down, a strike occurs.
When the boat is operating, the propeller isn’t very visible and presents a risk to heavy objects in the water and even divers and swimmers who aren’t aware that they are swimming near it.
Ultimately, the propeller can be very dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities in some cases due to the speed at which it operates.
The main causes of a propeller strike tend to be inattention and carelessness of the operator or inexperience and even intoxication.
There are measures and pieces of equipment that play a role in preventing propeller strike injuries.
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What Piece Of Equipment On A Boat Is Most Important In Preventing Propeller Strike Injuries?
An ignition safety switch lanyard is responsible for preventing such injuries.
This piece of equipment is connected to the safety switch and the boat operator's life jacket or wrist.
If the operator of the boat should fall overboard the engine will cut out.
This piece of equipment is an affordable purchase that can prove invaluable in preventing injury.
You shouldn’t expect an ignition safety switch lanyard to completely eradicate the possibility of any type of injury occurring because this isn't the case.
However, it will ease the risks that are faced by the operator who has fallen into the water and will also ensure that the boat doesn’t continue to plow along the water when there is no one controlling it as this can also prevent a risk to other boat users on the water.
Aside from an ignition safety switch lanyard, there are also other pieces of equipment that are intended to lower the risks of propeller strike injuries.
A propeller guard is a steel cage that surrounds the propeller.
Although it can still move inside this cage, it will help to reduce the possibility of an injury occurring.
A ladder interlock is a device that sounds an alarm and will automatically turn the engine off when the ladder is in use.
As such, boat operators are fully aware as to when the ladder is in use by the passengers and can refrain from moving the boat until boarding is completed.
A ringed propeller adopts the same motion as the blades and will prevent them from injuring swimmers or slicing objects that they encounter.
Instead, it is likely that the victim whether this is an individual or an object will get bumped but will not endure any injuries that are more severe than this.
These sensors work by producing a noticeable alarm that will inform the wearer that an individual has been detected in the water.
As a result, the engine will also turn off electronically.
Safety Steps To Prevent Propeller Injury
Many steps can be followed to ensure that the risk of someone being struck by the propeller is reduced.
When operating a boat, it is hugely important to take precautions to keep yourself and passengers safe.
First, you should refrain from starting or running the engine whilst people are still boarding the boat.
Instead, you should make sure that everyone is safely seated.
If the engine is running as passengers attempt to board the boat there is an increased risk of the movement casting them into the water.
All passengers should also be seated from the time that they get onto the boat to the time that they depart.
If a passenger stands they are more likely to become unbalanced and fall into the water.
They should also avoid sitting on the transom, seatbacks, and gunwales.
If they are children on board the vessel, they should be monitored at all times by a responsible adult.
Those that are left unattended are more likely to end up in a situation where there is a risk of them falling overboard.
As the inattention of the operator is a prominent cause of propeller strike injury it is important to ensure that you focus on the water surrounding you, looking out for swimmers and divers, etc.
When approaching areas that appear congested, you should drive carefully to avoid coming into contact with any swimmers in the area.
Some designated areas are solely intended for use by swimmers and divers. In this instance, you must accustom yourself with any signs that indicate this and refrain from entering these areas with your boat.
In the eventuality that a passenger should happen to fall overboard, it is important to remain calm.
Signs of panic will heighten the feelings of fear amongst the victim who is in the water and those that remain on the boat.
Ensure that the person is visible to you at all times and slowly begin to turn the boat around so that the propeller is facing the opposite direction to the victim.
Once you have carefully and successfully turned the boat around, you can proceed with the task of rescuing the individual who is stranded in the water.
Propellers can be very dangerous to passengers on the boat and swimmers and objects in the surrounding water.
Whilst an ignition safety switch lanyard is considered to be the most important piece of equipment that will prevent propeller injury, as you can see, several other devices will prove helpful in serving the same cause.
Propeller strike accidents can be very dangerous often resulting in severe injuries within a matter of seconds as a result.
Despite this, as you can see there are also many ways of preventing them from occurring at all.
Whilst the use of equipment provides an invaluable aid, simply ensuring that all safety precautions are adhered to and that all passengers are aware of the potential dangers is crucial.