There are many different preventative safety devices available for boats. Some, like the propeller guards that act to encircle the blades, are inexpensive and easy to install. Others are more complex, such as radar systems that help boat operators see underwater hazards to avoid them. These and other technological advances greatly reduce the risk of propeller strike accidents. However, the most important piece of equipment on a boat for preventing these incidents is the ignition safety switch lanyard. This device is a coiled cord that connects into the ignition switch and clips to the captain's body, or the back of their life jacket. If the operator falls overboard or is ejected from the boat, the lanyard pulls out of the switch and shuts down the engine, stopping the spinning propeller blades.
Propeller strikes can cause severe injuries and are among the top causes of boating deaths in the US. In addition to this device, there are many other preventative safety measures that can be taken, such as double-checking that all passengers are seated before starting the boat's engine and never climbing onto the outboard motor. Having a spotter to watch over passengers can also be beneficial, as this ensures that the correct procedures are being followed by everybody.
Propeller strikes are still a serious problem for many boaters, despite their best efforts to take precautions on the water. This is why it's so important that all boaters are familiar with the ignition safety switch lanyard and use it at all times to minimize propeller strike injuries.