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Old 04 October 2011, 15:56   #1
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Best Prop guard?

We are investigating fitting propguards onto our club safety RIBs. They are currently equipped with 50 HP E-tecs. They will be operating in Chi harbour and will invariably get knocked about in the shallows, so need to be tough. Any recommendations?
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Old 04 October 2011, 16:00   #2
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Personally, no guard and extra training
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Old 04 October 2011, 16:13   #3
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Personally, no guard and extra training
I agree and we are trying to raise the standards of driving. We have a very good safety boat driver course that is basically the RYA course with add ons that cover the peculiarities of Chi Harbour and Hayling Bay and rescue and towing techniques of the wide range of dinghies that race at the club, but accidents do happen.
Our problem is that members who have PBL2, volunteer to drive the RIBs for safety cover for dinghy racing. Being a large club with a fleet of 10+ club Ribs, we are always struggling to get enough volunteers to helm the RIBs. These volunteers may only drive a RIB 2 or 3 times a year and are often rusty. As a responsible club we are looking to reduce the odds of an accident and if propguards help with that, it makes sense to go with them. They will also reduce the number of damaged props hopefully.
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Old 04 October 2011, 16:21   #4
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From my experience in a safety setting, prop guards make people complacent.

"Oh, it doesn't matter if the prop gets a little too close to the bottom, i've got a prob guard."

"Because i've got a prop guard fitted, it will be ok to get just that little bit closer to that sailor in the water."

In fact, prop guards can make and injury worse.
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Old 04 October 2011, 16:29   #5
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Originally Posted by maxhar View Post
From my experience in a safety setting, prop guards make people complacent.

"Oh, it doesn't matter if the prop gets a little too close to the bottom, i've got a prob guard."

"Because i've got a prop guard fitted, it will be ok to get just that little bit closer to that sailor in the water."

In fact, prop guards can make and injury worse.
That's interesting, how does it make injuries worse?
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Old 04 October 2011, 16:42   #6
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That's interesting, how does it make injuries worse?
Trap the limp inside reducing the (already slight) chance of it being thrown out.
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Old 04 October 2011, 17:37   #7
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equipped with 50 HP E-tecs.
which will become 35/40 hp with a propguard.

Don't like 'em, get a pebble rattling around inside the guard and the props gone. However in the event of a mishap it might impress an ill informed investigator that you had taken all reasonable precautions and excercised all due diligence The local beach lifeguard boat used to have one just for that reason..made it a slow thirsty slug though. Whatever you get I'd get just one fitted and see if ya can live with it.
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Old 04 October 2011, 17:54   #8
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The general RYA advice is against prop guards for safety boats.

http://www.rya.org.uk/sitecollection...d%20policy.pdf

Obviously you need to risk assess it yourself, in your specific situation - but will it:

- lead to complacency about prop safety?
- discourage safe practice, e.g. use of kill cords / engine off when alongside people in the water?
- reduce speed at recovering casualties ashore if required?
- increase the risk that someone gets struck by a boat at speed (because it is 'safer')

I do understand your problem but if you aren't confident about safety boat drivers ability to keep props away from people in the water can you really trust them to:

- know how to deal with an unconscious casualty in the water?
- respond correctly to an entrapment?

or any other critical issues.

From a prop-life prospect then whilst you might go through fewer props I think you might find people take bigger risks with the "bottom" and when you do hit something it will be hard and could be the whole leg not just a prop that needs replacing.

Perhaps if buying a new safety boat and really worried about this I would consider the jet drive leg options on the market. Personally though I would be ensuring that I was confident that all my safety boat crew were proficient at handling the boats and if not:

- providing additional training (many clubs consider PB2 to be the minimum, others insist on full safety boat qualification in addition, that is quite a big time demand for training a large number of people, but you could probably produce a shortened course which focusses on the priorities, e.g. I would want to see first aid and probably VHF protocols covered in more detail from what I've seen at typical clubs, as well as a good understanding on the local emergency procedures).
- insisting on regular competence reviews and assessments (e.g. once every 3 yrs having to do a 1/2 day refresher / workshop to ensure up-to-date). This would also be a good opportunity to carry out an "exercise" to test all procedures from recovering casualties to resus on board, recovery to shore etc.
- having procedures in place to remove incompetent operators, and a "management" process in place so you can spot those who need coaching before a problem happens.

If getting volunteers to man boats who can demonstrate competence is a problem:

- are you supporting them adequately?
- do you want them if they don't see the importance of these skills?
- could you get a smaller team of more dedicated volunteers who take it seriously and train well? Are there people who would like to do it regularly in return for good training? Could you recruit volunteers (possibly from outside the club) just to do this? How do you reward your volunteers? e.g. are those who do their fair share given any discount on membership? if you had non sailing volunteers would you expect them to pay for membership?
- if you need "professional staff" it may be time to consider employing people. I know of one club whos entire safety boat team is paid (albeit minimum wage).
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Old 06 October 2011, 05:53   #9
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It is an interesting topic. I have been perusing several sites to get an overview. The advice seems pretty universal, nice idea but very problematic. I have also been looking at Outboard jets as a possible way forward. Does anyone have any feedback of the current models, they would care to share? If they work, that could be a good solution.
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Old 06 October 2011, 08:22   #10
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Does someone not make tunnel props? A weird halfway house between conventional prop & jet.

Firewall is blocking anything with a pic to link to at the mo, but the basic concept is your bog standard prop in a toob. Doesnlt stop small things getting ingested, but would mean in the unfortunate case of comatosed sailor meeting it they are infinitely less likely to get "chopped", and the ring round the blades means it may survive a bottom strke a little better, unless of course it just collapses.
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