Originally Posted by Leapy
the reality, at the moment, is that the collective brains trust on this forum - or anywhere else as I've noticed - hasn't identified a more stable, reliable and durable solution than that which currently exists if fitted and used correctly. Or have you any new suggestions to share
Even limiting the discussion to RIBS and kill cord preventable accidents, the topic is still pretty broad.
We are not specifically recommending the approaches below, but they are among those that seem worthy for discussion. Many of them are cut from a tool we started to develop to help individuals pick the best propeller safety approach for them.
It basically teaches about five categories of propeller risk reduction activities:
1. Propeller Injury Avoidance Devices (guards, interlocks, kill switches, etc.)
2. Educational and Training Opportunities
3. Behavioral Modifications
4. Alternative Propulsion Systems
Then provides boaters with a survey asking questions in 5 areas:
1. Boat Specifications
2. Operator Experience and Environment
3. Water Conditions
4. Activities On and Near My Boat
5. Exposure Time and Boater Fatigue
and provided some tools to help them sort through the existing solutions to find the approaches best suited for their highest risks.
Narrowing all that down quickly to RIB kill cord preventable approaches the same five categories of risk reduction approaches exist. The link below to Risk Proofing My Boat reasonably covers items 2 though 5 which you already probably pretty well understand, so I will focus on number 1 (devices).
1. Propeller guards may be needed or required in certain situations (small rescue boats, youth sail club support boats, youth scouting, open water swimming canoe or kayak event support boats, dive boats, life guard training, some military situations, lifeboats, yacht tenders, SOLAS, etc.)
2. Yamaha UK Pro announced a new guard last year and made some pretty extreme claims about its performance. They said they were available for all Yamaha outboards. It is our understanding that similar guards are now sold by Propeller Solutions in the UK.
3. Kill cords
4. Virtual kill cords (wearable tags like MariTech Virtual Lifeline and CAST, AutoTether, and CoastKey).
5. Safety Propellers (RingProp, Australian Environmental Safety Propeller, PowerTech! Safety Prop, MagBlade Max Thrust & Slip Stream Propellers).
6. We have suggested several inventions ourselves. Among them are:
A. Integrating a virtual kill cord with a life jacket (boat operator wears life jacket which automatically acts as a virtual kill cord)
B. Sense capacitance of people in the boat to detect man overboard situation
C. Detect screams
D. Man overboard detection without the use of lanyards or wearable tags
E. Automatically detecting a vessel circling with no one on board, and shut it down.
Details for most of these inventions are on our site and they have been placed in the public domain for anyone to use.
We also encourage the use of Public Service Announcements as part of an educational campaign about the dangers of propellers. The U.S. Coast Guard had a great one, but the industry made them take it down because they thought it showed boating in a bad light.
As others have mentioned, adding technology is not always a great idea vs. traditional kill cords. But for those who refuse to use kill cords in their current state of development, technology is an alternative.
Please note - kill cords may not be effective in some situations - operator falls overboard and is immediately struck by the propeller, not struck by the circling boat.
Also Please note - although this post focuses on devices, the other four categories of propeller risk reduction activities also offer excellent opportunities to reduce the risk of a kill cord preventable accident on a RIB.