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Old 11 August 2016, 05:24   #1
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Prop Guard

I'm trying to get my sailing club to buy prop guards for their ribs. Does anyone have a prop guard or recommend one?
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Old 11 August 2016, 05:57   #2
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I'm trying to get my sailing club to buy prop guards for their ribs. Does anyone have a prop guard or recommend one?
Search the forum extensively before you do this.

The general consensus is: prop guards are bad (is losing top speed, acceleration or towing capacity going to adversely affect your 'rescue' operations?). Manufacturers all claim they don't but none seem to have any independent test data to prove it! If they were that good the inevitable question is why don't O/B engine manufacturers offer them as an option.

You'll probably need to "reprop" after fitting one, so thats more cost; as well as increased fuel consumption.

Whilst people in the water is an inevitable risk around any sailing club rescue boat, your helmspeople should be competent enough to avoid moving props near people. If your concern is that they aren't its not a prop guard you need - its a training programme - there are lots of other ways to hurt people with a powerboat even if the prop risk is zero (which it never will be).

Remember you can train your sailers to be prop aware too.

Fitting a guard can lead to complacency. Both increasing other risks, and reducing skill/experience when working on other boats (e.g. visiting coaches, at other centres, if a guard is damaged but the boat is still needed).

The only time I would consider it is if I was doing lots of "swimmer" safety cover at close quarters, with people everywhere and no prop awareness. The RYA don't generally encourage it; and as far as I am aware prop based injury from trained people at RYA sailing clubs doing safety cover is not a regular or real problem: 2200 training centres in the UK, 1500 affiliated clubs, not all doing dinghy sailing but that must be well over 50000 "days" afloat with rescue boats working around dinghies and windsurfs every year and I don't recall a single serious incident of this type being reported in the last 20 years - crudely that suggests its < 1:million problem. Head injuries and entrapments are much more common - although I suspect that if you actually want to save lives you'd do better by dealing with the "heart attack" risk...
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Old 11 August 2016, 06:25   #3
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we used one at work re-bar or something similar went through it wiped it out and the prop as ploy says & they get full of debris too sea weed etc. if the idea is to protect swimmers etc not really suitable dont think RNLI use them might be wrong never seen one though best to use gear lever and take the hazard away OMO
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Old 11 August 2016, 11:46   #4
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The RNLI did take them off their boats for some time due to: if a prop hits a limb without a guard, it will slash or break the limb. If a prop fitted with a guard hits a limb, the chances are that the prop may suck the limb into the guard & the whole limb will have to be amputated! But last weekend while down in Littlehampton I noticed that the RNLI surf rescue boat was fitted with a guard! So maybe the cost of bent props were getting too expensive?
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Old 11 August 2016, 16:41   #5
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The RNLI did take them off their boats for some time due to: if a prop hits a limb without a guard, it will slash or break the limb. If a prop fitted with a guard hits a limb, the chances are that the prop may suck the limb into the guard & the whole limb will have to be amputated! But last weekend while down in Littlehampton I noticed that the RNLI surf rescue boat was fitted with a guard! So maybe the cost of bent props were getting too expensive?
Interesting, everyone seems to have their preference. When I was doing my RYA PBA we were out supporting some of the activities (sup, sailors, windsurfers) and we were assigned to prop guarded ribs.
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Old 11 August 2016, 17:46   #6
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If a prop fitted with a guard hits a limb, the chances are that the prop may suck the limb into the guard & the whole limb will have to be amputated!
Can't see that happening with the cage type guard.

The shroud type, okay, yeah I can see the risk there. Still protecting from a limb going into the side of the prop though.

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Old 13 August 2016, 02:58   #7
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A Jet would be a better solution for swimmers - OK replacing engines is an expensive solution to a non existent problem... But if you were starting with a blank canvas...

Swimmer events :: generally use kayak close to swimmers. Creates less wake, less risk of injury, better visibility of heads next to kayak. RIB then assists kayak if required. Except in a life threatening incident no urgency for RIB and kayak to meet.

ENGINE OFF every time. The only reasons I hear for not turning engine off are:

1. Risk from drifting onto rocks etc. Correct approach is anchor off and 'drift' on anchor to the incident if time permits.

2. Concern the engine might not restart. In which case said boat has no business being a rescue craft.

The other risk I can see is around slipways etc. Shouldn't be an issue IF you control the slip you prohibit swimming etc near slip. You train your crew not to come in while dinghies still recovering etc. If slip is public you can't prohibit them. But working with slip owner re signage to say 'Power boats in use near this slipway - no swimming' or something similar doesn't seem impossible even if not actually enforceable.

Sailing sheets sucked into a prop guard will still lock the prop and smash the gear box. Our club has had a damaged box from a mainsheet round a prop that I think would still happen with a guard.
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Old 13 August 2016, 05:53   #8
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Surf rescue boats have them due to the way they're launched and recovered, quite often they'll just ride the boat into the beach, the engines aren't locked down so as the prop guard rides up the beach it tilts the engine out of the way, otherwise the prop would be damaged.

Our lifeboat doesn't have a prop guard, we kill the engine once hands are on the casualty, but our flood rescue boat does, mainly to protect the prop from all the crap that floats about in floods (wheely bins are an issue as are submerged cars) and also because we'll often have people working in very close proximity to the boat wading alongside.
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