May 2008

Coast Guard Auxiliary Crew Assists Woman Struck By Boat Propeller

Submitted By Tom Nunes

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

PHOENIX — Coast Guard Auxiliary crews are extremely busy assisting boaters throughout the summer. In addition to battling Arizona temperatures, the Auxiliary assists boaters by responding to accidents and other marine events.  Medical evacuations are, unfortunately, common. Here’s a typical case.

 An Auxiliary vessel answered a request for assistance on Channel 16 on the marine radio by a boat about an unknown problem. On scene, the crew of Auxiliary vessel observed several boats rafted up, with the majority of the people on board drinking and partying.

They were ultimately waved down by a patio boat that was in the middle of about 10 boats. All occupants of that vessel, and surrounding vessels, appeared to be in various stages of intoxication.

 "The scene was pure chaos," said Steve Allen, owner of the Auxiliary vessel, and a crewmember on board. "People were screaming, and it was difficult to ascertain what was going on or what the real problem was."

After a few minutes on scene, the Auxiliary crew learned that an 18-year-old woman had been struck by the propeller of a boat passing by.

 The Auxiliary crew immediately assessed the situation and administered aid.  "The young woman was conscious, but panicked and appeared to be going into shock.  “I just wanted to re-assure her and keep her calm,” said one of the crewmembers.

The Auxiliary crew transported the woman approximately a mile where they were met by an ambulance that transported the victim to the hospital.

 The Coast Guard Auxiliary wants to warn boaters and swimmers about the danger of "prop strikes" and the need to be extremely vigilant whenever swimmers are observed in the water near a vessel.

For more information on propeller strikes and how to prevent them, visit