Originally Posted by Burgie
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...