Take care - be prop aware
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’.
But a strike from a spinning propeller can cause serious injury or even death.
A typical three-bladed propeller - which spins at around 3200rpm - can make more than 160 impacts per second, and can travel from head to toe of an average person in less than one tenth of a second, causing multiple deep wounds.
Boat propeller injuries, if not fatal, are usually severe and disfiguring, resulting in prolonged disability and permanent impairment.
Propeller injuries are preventable. The NSW Government and Roads and Maritime Services have launched the Take care - Be prop aware campaign to increase public awareness about the dangers of prop strikes.
Being ‘prop-aware’ is particularly important for people involved in tow sports like water-skiing and wakeboarding, and any time powerboats are used near swimmers or children, such as sailing schools and surf clubs. Being ‘prop-aware’ is also important for people diving or snorkelling out of a vessel, and for boat drivers operating in areas where divers, snorkellers or spearfishers may be present.
It is also important to pass the message on to less experienced people who hire powerboats such as tinnies and houseboats.
For more information and propeller precautions, download the Prop strike brochure (pdf).
You can also view prop strike safety guidelines in the Boating handbook (pdf).
Skippers are also encouraged to put a Take Care – Be prop aware sticker (pdf 99KB) on the transom of their boat, as a reminder to everyone onboard of the hidden dangers of spinning propellers.
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