Coast Guard Shelves Propeller Safety Rule

Saying the proposal might have cost at least five times more than it originally estimated, the Coast Guard has withdrawn a December 2001 proposed rule that would have require owners of recreational houseboats with propeller engines located aft of the transom to install a propeller guard or other devices to prevent propeller injuries.

The rule was drafted because the agency believed it would significant reduce the number of boaters who are seriously or fatally injured when struck by these propellers. USCG received about 190 comments from people who have been injured by boat propellers; relatives and friends of those injured or killed; health care providers; boating safety and environmental advocacy groups; and others. Some wanted pontoon houseboats included and wanted the phase-in period to be reduced to one year, but others preferred using propeller guards instead of swim ladder interlock systems because they expected propeller guards to give better protection. Some said too few people are hurt by propellers to justify the rule or said guards demand high maintenance costs and there is an increased danger of collisions when swim ladder interlock systems disable propellers.

In the end, cost was the deciding factor. USCG had said guards, the least expensive option in the rule, could be self-installed for about $300 each -- or $30 million for the estimated 100,000 houseboats that would be covered by the rule. A reassessment "revealed that most boats would need to be lifted out of the water for propeller guard installation, boats with twin engines would require a guard for each engine, and installation would be beyond the capabilities of most owners and operators. For these reasons, a more realistic average cost per boat is approximately $1,500, for a total cost of $150 million. This figure does not include costs of periodic maintenance to clear debris from guards or the resulting decrease in fuel efficiency," the Coast Guard said, explaining that it is now exploring ways to prevent propeller injuries at a lower cost to the economy.

Jeff Ludwig, project manager in the USCG Office of Boating Safety (202-372-1061 or [email protected]) is the contact for more information.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Reserve your copy of the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get a detailed, fact-based comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • Best Practices to Navigate ISO 45001

    Learn helpful tips and tricks to navigate your transition to ISO 45001 certification and ensure an effective health and safety management system.

  • Improve Your Safety Culture

    Learn the 3 fundamental areas to focus on to achieve safety culture excellence and what you can do to boost employee engagement in your EHS programs.

  • Chemical Safety: 5 Questions Answered by Experts

    Get answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions about how to effectively mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your chemical data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management technology program.

  • How Has COVID-19 Changed Safety Culture?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has provided unique opportunities for health and safety professionals to rethink how they manage risk and develop stronger safety cultures. Read this eBook to learn actionable steps you can implement today to improve your programs.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January February 2021

    January February 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING: SOFTWARE
      Tips for Choosing the Best Training Software
    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Assessing the Dangers of Dust Explosions
    • HAND PROTECTION
      Pushing the Boundaries of Hand Protection
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Getting a Grip on Slip Resistance
    View This Issue