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Boat Propeller Safety

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Boating Safety

The best rule of thumb regarding your propeller is: don’t run the engine when people are near the boat. Be alert for other boaters engaged in towing sports like tubing, wakeboarding, etc., and take every precaution to avoid them.

Simple Steps Can Make a Difference

There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of propeller injury.

•    Personally look at the area around your boats' propeller before starting the engine. Don’t count on others. See for yourself. 

•    Before you set out for the day, take a moment to inform your passengers of the location and dangers of the propellers, and call attention to any propeller warning labels around your boat.

•    Never permit passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seatbacks, or other locations where they might fall overboard and under the boat. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye… and so can propeller strikes.

•    Establish and communicate rules for swim platform use, boarding ladders, and seating. Your boat. Your rules. Be clear and firm.

•    Consider an engine cut-off switch or another propeller safety device, and make sure all passengers (including you) wear a lifejacket at all times.

Other Safety Devices to Consider…

There is no “one-size fits all” solution to eliminate the risk of propeller injuries. Boaters must carefully review all options and determine which devices make the most sense for their particular boating experience.  The most effective preventive measure is alert, aware boaters who responsibly manage propeller injury risks.

•    Propeller guards
•    Ringed propellers
•    Propulsion alternatives
•    Interlocks
•    Sensors
•    Anti-feedback steering 
•    Rear-facing video cameras

Check out for more information on propeller safety options.

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The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include: wearing a life jacket at all times and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence (BUI); successfully completing a boating safety course; and getting a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons(r), or your state boating agency's Vessel Examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to "Boat Responsibly!" For more tips on boating safety, visit

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