The following information was written by the previous owner of Safemarine who has kindly given permission for the below text to remain as a record of the events that led to the creation of the Safemarine Propguard.Read more
A day that would change the way I see safety in small craft.
Sitting on a boat at the Mercury Islands – an isolated spot east of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, I watched with horror as a young man stepped into his inflatable dinghy, pull the start cord of his outboard motor, slip and fall overboard.
The outboard then swung full throttle hard over and the dinghy began to circle him. It came around three times. Each time he tried to push it away. The third time I heard the engine wind down and realised it had struck his body – this time with great impact. Then I heard the scream that seemed to echo around the bay. We leapt into a dinghy and headed towards his boat that he had managed to get to. Pulling him from the water I could see the extent of his injuries. Firstly to his head and elbows but then to his buttocks. The propeller has sliced into him making three deep two inch wide incisions. I wrapped him as best I could with towels in an attempt to stop the blood which was by now everywhere and kept my patient still. We contacted Westpac Rescue by radio and they were on their way. It seemed to take hours for the helicopter to arrive but when it did I wished my patient the best of luck and he was gone.
It was 5 years later and quite by accident that I met the man who was living in Russell and at a meeting with him he told me of the days following the accident. He has been in hospital for 3 days – received several pints of blood and showed me the scars from the many stitches. He walked with a slight limp as the propeller had taken a chip from his hip. His recovery was slow but he was lucky and thankful to be alive.
Safe Marine Ltd was formed in July 1997. Research showed that there was no “of the shelf” guard available although one could be purpose built. My first two years was spent researching and developing the product we now call “PropGuard”.
I believe that Propguard is undoubtedly the best method of protection against injury and accidents in the water from outboard motor propellers.