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UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES OFFERS SAFETY TIPS FOR AVOIDING PROPELLER STRIKES

 UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES OFFERS SAFETY TIPS
 FOR AVOIDING PROPELLER STRIKES
 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Boating is among the most popular of summer recreational activities. However, a day of fun and sun out on the water could end in serious injury or even death if boaters don't follow appropriate safety precautions. According to the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Statistics report, more than 6,000 boating accidents occur every year. Propeller strikes, which occur when the boat's propeller hits a person or an object in the water, are among the most preventable of all boating accidents.
 "Since June 7 through the June 13 is National Safe Boating Week, now is an excellent time to review safe boating practices with your passengers as well as to check that all appropriate safety equipment is on board and operating properly," said Neal Mahan, associate managing engineer of Underwriters Laboratories Inc.'s (UL) Marine Engineering Services. "When underway, making sure all passengers are properly seated is particularly important. Passengers seated in the gunwales or transom, or "bow riders" could be thrown out of the boat during a sharp turn, unexpected bounce in the wake, or sudden stop. Once in the water, the individual is in danger of being hit by the boat's propeller," Mahan continued.
 UL offers the following safety tips to avoid propeller strike accidents:
 -- Always make sure the engine is off and the propeller is not rotating when passengers are boarding or disembarking the boat.
 -- Keep the boat well away from marked swimming areas and divers. Slow down as your approach swimming areas. Watch for swimmers outside of marked areas. Be alert for divers and be familiar with the red flag with a diagonal white stripe signaling that divers are down.
 -- When someone has fallen overboard, slow the boat, keep the individual in sight and turn the steering wheel to move the propeller away from the person in the water. For example, if the person falls from the port (left) side, turn the steering wheel to the left, making the stern (back) of the boat swing away from the individual in the water. Circle around, approaching into the wind and waves. Turn off the engine when the person is close and toss the individual a cushion, ring buoy; or other throwable personal flotation device. Assist the person back aboard before restarting the engine.
 -- If you are pulling a water skier, designate a passenger to maintain visual contact with the skier at all times. Communicate using standard hand signals. Wait for the skier to signal that he or she is ready before putting the boat in gear. When a skier falls, watch for the "OK" signal. Circle around to get the tow line to the skier. Turn off the motor once you are in close proximity to the individual. After helping the skier aboard, pull in the tow line and retrieve the skis. All water skiers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device marked as suitable for high speed water sports.
 -- Do not drink alcoholic beverages while operating a boat.
 "In addition to following these tips for avoiding propeller strike accidents, it's a good idea to conduct a thorough safety check of your boat. Each state has a list of required equipment that must be on board your boat. Make sure your equipment is still in good working order and that your have the appropriate number, size and type of U.S. Coast Guard approved/UL Listed personal flotation devices (life jackets) on board. Safe boating involves many factors; these are just a few. For more information, contact your local chapter of the U.S. Power Squadron or U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary," Mahan added.
 UL is an independent, not-for-profit organization that has been evaluating products for more than 98 years to reduce safety risks to consumers. UL has testing facilities in Northbrook, Ill. (corporate headquarters); Melville, N.Y.; Santa Clara, Calif.; and Research Triangle Park. The UL Mark appears on more than 6 billion new products annually.
 -0- 5/29/92
 /CONTACT: Laura W. Poms of Underwriters Laboratories, 919-549-1565/ CO: Underwriters Laboratories Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: SU:


SM-TS -- NY002 -- 5074 05/29/92 09:10 EDT
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Date:May 29, 1992
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