Boat Propeller Accidents

You only need to type ‘boat propeller accidents’ into a search engine to find a litany of news reports, all of them detailing the deaths and injuries of those struck by boat propellers. Recent stories include that of a woman who died after losing her leg in Arizona. In South Carolina, a man died following the laceration of his femoral artery. And in Mexico, an Ontario man has been fighting for his life after a boat hit him while he was swimming in the sea. All three of them had been struck by a boat propellor.

Kirsty MacColl death

Sadly, there is a long history of boat propeller accidents. Perhaps the most widely reported is the death of Kirsty MacColl, the British singer songwriter and female vocalist in the Christmas hit ‘Fairytale of New York’. In 2000, she was scuba diving in Mexico when she surfaced to find a large powerboat coming towards her. She was struck by the propeller and killed instantly. The autopsy report makes for gruesome reading. A hired deck hand, Jose Cen Yam, was said to be at the helm of the boat at the time. He was found responsible for her death.

Fatal and catastrophic injuries

As these examples show, boat propeller accidents often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. Boat propellers are incredibly sharp and spin extremely quickly. Any body part that comes into contact with a moving propellor will sustain a deep laceration. The loss of blood that follows can be very dangerous. If internal organs or arteries are damaged, then there is a much lower chance of survival. Then there’s the added risk of drowning in the water, especially if a life jacket isn’t being worn. 

Who is at fault?

As in the death of Kirsty MacColl, there are times when someone else is to blame for the accident. Individuals who are struck by boat propellers are often in the water at the time, perhaps because they’re swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing or trying to help someone else in need of assistance. Those at the helm of a boat have a duty to look out for people in the water, and to obey the rules. Otherwise, a terrible accident can happen. This might occur if the boat operator is:

  • Inexperienced or doesn’t have the correct licence
  • Speeding
  • Intoxicated through alcohol or drugs
  • Operating the boat in a swimming/no motorized boat zone
  • Behaving recklessly

Of course, boat propeller accidents can happen in other ways too. A passenger may fall overboard and be dragged into the prop blades, or may even fall from ashore.

Boat accident claims

Whatever the circumstances, anyone who is wrongfully injured because of another person’s negligence (or another organisation’s negligence) is entitled to make a claim in Canada. If the injuries were fatal, a claim is made by the deceased’s relatives instead. Compensation can never undo what has happened, whether you have suffered life-changing injuries or lost a loved one to a boating accident. But it does provide some form of justice. It also ensures you have the financial support you need going forward. 

If you have been injured in a boating accident, or your loved one has, contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation. We can help you make sense of the situation. If you are able to make a boating accident claim and you’d like to go ahead with the process, we can manage everything on your behalf. 

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

Go back to Blog
Go Back To Top