PowerTech! Propellers
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Prop Safety
Propellers are devices presenting some obvious dangers. Like many other items of everyday life, they offer many benefits, but must be used wisely. Other items such as automobile tires and bumpers, lawnmower blades, chainsaw chains, and knives fit into this category. Failure to heed the warnings presented herein or otherwise use the product with caution can result in serious injury or death. This list is by no means complete, exercise all due care!! These propellers are manufactured, sold, and distributed for the express purpose of being used with a marine motor for the purpose of propulsion. They should not be used for any other purpose without the manufacturers express written consent.

Propellers should always:

  1. Be handled carefully, using heavy gloves, body covering protection, safety glasses and safety shoes. The sharp edges of the propeller should be kept away from your body. The prop should not be stored in such a fashion that it could drop or fall upon a person. Proper wrenches and prop removal blocks are required. The engine must be placed in neutral gear and the ignition key removed, prior to prop removal or installation.


  2. Be removed and/or properly covered (with durable safety covers) during boat or propeller transport or storage.


  3. Be used with great caution. You should always be at idle speed and minimal rpm's whenever you are near other boats, docks, or persons.


  4. Not be used if the operator or passengers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


  5. Only be used by an alert, rested, properly trained operator.


  6. Be inspected annually and every 100 operating hours and after every impact strike. Any damage should result in a proper repair or replacement. Propellers are subject to great stresses (as well as cavitation and impact damage) and their mechanical capabilities deteriorate over time. Additionally, if a mechanical flaw exists (or develops) in the propeller, it is imperative that the operator is utilizing the prop according to these guidelines, so as to avoid the risk of injury to the operator, passengers, or others. AVOID LOCATING PERSONS IMMEDIATELY ABOVE THE PROP! No one should ever be located above an operating prop unless the craft is equipped with a shatter shield. Propellers do lose blades and disintegrate. No one should ever be allowed in the potential arc travel of a disintegrating propeller.


  7. Be operated with the knowledge that, as most mechanical devices, they are subject to failure. Care should be taken to ensure that, in the event of failure, all human life is protected. Examples might be to avoid; cutting in front of larger craft, operating in close proximity to a dam or spillway, operating a craft in floods or severe storms, operating out of range of communications with rescue agencies, operating the prop near the surface of the water (exposing bystanders to danger in the event the propeller disintegrates), and racing.


  8. Be supported by a backup prop, hardware, tools, and knowledge to successfully replace a failed prop. Persons not capable of these operations should avoid situations with the potential to put themselves in harm's way.


  9. Avoid operating the prop in mud, sand, surface penetrating operation, or any entanglements, which might prematurely stress the propeller. If forced to operate in such a condition, extreme care is required as the prop is subject to catastrophic failure and disintegration. Such a condition exposes nearby persons to extreme hazards.


  10. Be used in an area devoid of loose ropes, loose clothing, fishing lines, nets, etc. which might become entangled in the prop. This poses a potential hazard to those nearby, who might be harmed by being pulled into the propeller (or water, or other deck hazards).


  11. Be operated by persons over the age of 16, who are appropriately trained for the size of craft being operated. An adult should supervise operators under the age of 18. Some areas may have specific age laws, which should be specifically followed.


  12. Be used only on motors properly equipped with anti-kickback devices, preventing the engine from breaking loose from its normal transom position and flipping over into the boat.


  13. Be used only on motors equipped with operator kill switch protection, preventing the continued operation of the craft if the operator is ejected. Approved flotation devices must always be worn. Follow all Coast Guard regulations.


  14. Be cleared of all persons or objects prior to engagement. Take care that on vessels of such size that the operator cannot physically verify (while located at the operator's console) the "safe to start propeller" condition, that a responsible person attends this inspection prior to authorizing the engagement of the propeller rotation.


  15. Be operated with passengers safely located. Special care must be taken to avoid operations with persons sitting, standing, or otherwise located near the front of the boat, in anything other than a totally secure position. This is extraordinarily hazardous in that a man overboard may be run over by the boat and prop. Always secure all persons behind guards of sufficient height to safely retain them in the vessel.


  16. Be utilized at a legal speed safe for the operating conditions. Almost all craft are capable of speeds in excess of safe operating conditions. Use good judgment. Just because you can go fast doesn't mean it is safe or legal!


  17. Be utilized allowing adequate distance between any boat you are following. Do not allow other boats to follow your craft too closely. Allow a margin of time for recognition of a developing hazard and sufficient distance to come to a stop. Do not operate at speeds which would, in the event of a loss of control, allow you to impact other boats, marine facilities, or bystanders. Since most marine vehicles do not possess braking devices, safe operation distances for collision avoidance must include adequate distance to "coast to a stop".


  18. Be used when visibility is good. Avoid operations in poor visibility or night, without adequate navigational equipment.


  19. Propeller guards may be available from aftermarket sources for your application, particularly if low speeds or rescue craft are involved. If you would like assistance, please contact our engineering staff. We also design propellers to help partially reduce some of the negative performance characteristics of propeller guards or shrouds.




Hazards Relating to Propeller Materials

Propellers are made from a variety of materials including brass, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, and plastics. The are typically packaged with rubber accessory members and paper/plastic packaging. Various glues or additives may also be used. In ordinary use for the purpose of a propeller, it poses no chemical danger to its operator or installer. However, some of the materials involved, may be cancerous or cause reproductive system toxicity, or present other health hazards, if ingested in quantities exceeding the recommended maximum levels. Avoid ingesting propellers, propeller material by-products, or their related packaging and accessories. Recycle or dispose of unused propellers (and their associated by-products) responsibly, in an approved recycling facility or landfill. MSDS available upon request.
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