Campaign to lower boating injuries
NSW Maritime has introduced a campaign to reduce boat propeller injuries in the wake of a recent accident at Mobbs Bay, Ballina, that hospitalised two men.
Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay announced the start of the campaign on Friday, stating that in the past six years there had been five deaths and 46 injuries after people were struck by spinning propellers.
“These injuries can be devastating. The fact that they are preventable makes awareness of this issue vital,” Mr McLeay said.
Mr McLeay said a typical three-bladed propeller spinning at 3200rpm could make more than 160 impacts per second.
“A fast-spinning propeller blade can travel from head to toe on an average person in less than one-tenth of a second, causing multiple deep wounds,” he said.
“Boat propeller injuries if not fatal are usually severe and disfiguring, resulting in prolonged disability and permanent impairment.”
Mr McLeay said the area around the propeller should be considered a hazard zone and boat skippers needed to be particularly vigilant when involved in towing sports and driving powerboats near swimmers, sailing schools and surf clubs.
“People who fall overboard are particularly at risk, espec- ially those boating alone who may be run over by their own boat if they are not wearing an engine kill-switch lanyard,” he said.
The Minister advocated the use of propeller guards and wireless kill switches.
In the accident at Mobbs Bay on December 30, two men from Tweed Heads were using a power boat to tow another man on a tube.
The tow rope broke and the two men were thrown overboard. Both were run over and hit by the propeller.
A 38-year-old man with severe shoulder and leg injuries was taken by ambulance to the Lismore Base Hospital, while a 36-year-old was taken to Ballina Hospital with a cut in his head.