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What Piece of Equipment on a Boat is Most Important in Preventing Propeller Strike Injuries

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

what piece of equipment on a boat is most important in preventing propeller strike injuries

In an exam for boaters, you might be given multiple choices such as steering control, kill switch lanyard, self-circling device, and USGC life for a question that asks for the equipment that can prevent propeller strike injuries.

So actually, what piece of equipment on a boat is most important in preventing propeller strike injuries? The correct answer is a kill switch lanyard. Most boaters can pass the exam easily. But if you relate this subject to hands-on application, there are other things associated with it.

You must be aware of every detail as it’s also for everyone’s safety. Continue reading to gather information regarding this topic.

Definition Of Propeller Strike

A propeller strike or short for prop strike, is when a boat’s propeller suddenly slows down or stops due to contact with other objects. Operators, passengers, skiers, and swimmers can’t notice it right away as it doesn’t affect them anyway.

It only poses risks among divers and something can go wrong if it runs into tall grasses or heavy things. A boat propeller accident also happens because of the boat driver’s intoxication, inexperience, and incompetence.

It will likely occur in times that people indulge in water sports, namely wakeboarding, water skiing, and tubing. Another cause of propeller strikes is swimming off the back of a vessel.

What Piece of Equipment on a Boat is Most Important in Preventing Propeller Strike Injuries


You can’t sway the danger that a propeller strike can bring. Still, the possibility of evading it can’t also be ignored. But first, better know why this happening can be hazardous.

For instance, a propeller with three blades that functions at 3,200 rpm can cause 160 impacts in a matter of one second. Within a second, a standard recreational propeller can injure the whole body of an individual.

Take some time to enroll in a boat safety course before traveling on a boat. Preparation for safety is crucial so that you can have an enjoyable and memorable ride.

List Of Propeller Safety Equipment

  • Lanyard or engine kill switch – This marine equipment is worn by the operator. It turns off when the wearer falls overboard. You can easily find good ones like ZOOKOTO, DTLgear, and attwood.
  • Propeller guard – This equipment locks up the propeller, chances of causing injuries are dismissed. However, it’s not suitable for bass boats, ski boats, and those high-speed boats.
  • Electronic sensor – Wearing this item will notify you of the presence of a person in the water. If it happens, the boat’s engine automatically switches off. You’ll find it handy for sure, but you still need to be careful when using it.
  • Propeller cover – Although this is not made for the sake of running the engine, it keeps the propeller secured when it doesn’t contact with water.
  • Ladder interlock – Interlocking is a technology that links the swim platform and ladder to the engine. It creates an alarm sound and disconnects the engine. But propeller accidents usually take place in the water, not the ladder.

How To Prevent Propeller Strike Accidents

It’s best to be cautious to prevent propeller strike accidents. Here are different practices for safety:

  • Never turn on the boat’s engine while people are boarding or getting off a vessel.
  • Check if everyone has seated before you start the engine.
  • Passengers shouldn’t sit on the gunwale, seatbacks, or transom bow when a boat is underway.
  • Get help from a spotter to watch over the passengers.
  • Stop rowing your boat when there are swimmers, skiers, and divers nearby.
  • When there are children on board, there must be adult supervision.
  • Lower your boat’s speed when you’re getting close to anchorages or crowded places. Once an area is congested, there are numerous divers and swimmers for sure.
  • Always remind yourself of the crowded and risky areas.
  • Be familiar with the red flags that have white diagonal stripes and the Alfa flag with blue and white colors. These objects denote the presence of divers underwater.
  • It’s great to have a mechanic around to fend off hazards.
  • Take some time in educating passengers about the propeller’s location and the danger that it can create.
  • Don’t panic when someone falls into the water from your boat. Instead, pull yourself together and stop immediately, then turn around. You have to keep an eye on the person all the time, and someone should continuously monitor the person in the water. When doing the rescue, turn off the engine.

Actions To Take When Propeller Strike Takes Place

When a propeller strike has taken place, the cause of this incident should be written on an engine logbook. When there’s an emergency or losing the blade tip, the whole engine must be disassembled. Turn it off first before thoroughly inspecting the blades.

You’ll need to hire a technician who is an expert on this issue. So, the necessary repairs will proceed.

Sum It Up

Now, you’ve reached the end of the article “what piece of equipment on a boat is most important in preventing propeller strike injuries?”, and you may be aware of the danger of a propeller quickly spinning. Getting contact with it is extremely dangerous, even if it’s just for a single second.

Aside from the lanyard, other items can sustain in the prevention of propeller strike injuries. Moreover, there are precautions added to prevent it from happening. Hope this article has helped you out in finding an effective way to get away from these injuries. If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments. We are delighted to hear from you.

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