Chapter 5 X Accident Prevention and Rescue
If the skier is re-entering the boat, the operator should turn the engine off a boat length before reaching the skier and before the skier comes on board. You may be able to leave the engine in neutral if your boat design has the propeller a good distance away from the skier. For instance, many boats specially designed for water skiing have a swim step on the stern and a propeller that is mounted amidships. In either case, the water skier should be brought into the boat over the stern. Case Study A skier had just finished skiing and was sitting on the swim step of a vessel, pulling in the ski line. The ski flag was raised, as there was still a ski line in the water. A second vessel came very close to this vessel at a high rate of speed and ran over the ski rope, which became caught in the propeller. The line then broke, and snapped back, striking the skier on the swim step in the stomach and leg. The skier sustained third degree burns and a fractured pelvis. Questions: 1. Identify the mistakes that the people made and the proper actions they could have taken. 2. What could have been done differently to prevent this accident? 3. What steps could you take to rescue the victims and/or make the situation better?
If the boat is put into neutral while the engine is running, the propeller may continue to spin for a short time and cause serious injury. You should make sure that the propeller is no longer spinning before allowing a skier near it.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Adaptive Recreation Center
California Course for Safe Boating
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