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  • $4,400,000.00 jury award to a former shipmate who sustained a shoulder injury while at sea. The third mate had to undergo multiple surgeries and will not be able to become a captain because of the injury.
  • $2,400,000 jury award to a licensed marine engineer who sustained permanent knee injuries while attempting to remove a 200 lb. valve from an overhead piping system. Partner Mellusi personally inspected the ship’s engine room taking detailed photos and measurements. A duplicate valve was obtained from a maritime junkyard and was brought into court along with an auto-shop mechanical hoist capable of lifting it 12 feet to demonstrate the vessel lacked suitable means to perform this work safely. The jury award was in top ten verdicts in the United States for a comparable knee injury. The case was tried to verdict in a New York Federal Court.
  • $2,980,000.00 jury award to a ship’s cook for back injury resulting from insufficient procedures for moving ship stores. Case tried in New York federal court.
  • $2,700,000.00 settlement to a mate on a Tanker vessel who sustained multiple fractures.
  • $2,000,000.00 was awarded to a barge deckhand – wrongful death.
  • $1,827,000 awarded to a marine engineer working on a US Government supply vessel who fell into an unguarded ventilation fan causing neck, shoulder and hand injuries. The case was tried non-jury before a federal judge in Baltimore Federal Court. The court award was subsequently determined to be within the highest ten verdicts for the State of Maryland in 2009.
  • $1,200,000.00 jury award to a ship’s Bosun who sustained shoulder and neck injuries while attempting to move plywood sheets on main deck of vessel during 40 knot winds. Case tried in New York Federal Court.
  • $950,000 awarded to passenger killed when his recreational boat came into collision with tow wire of tug and barge
  • $850,000 settlement, Federal Court Allentown PA., to seaman sustained herniated disk while lifting a 110 lbs crane hooks.
  • $840,000 jury award to a seaman who fell from ladder while painting sustaining fractured wrist.
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After sailing camp tragedy, lawmakers seek safer boat propellers

Do propeller guards make boats safer? If they do, should boaters be required to have them?

There’s disagreement about how effective propeller guards are (some boat manufacturers say they may even make boats less safe), but there’s no disagreement about the danger of propellers. Last year at least 24 people died in boating accident involving propellers, and 175 were injured, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Long Island lawmakers are taking these risks especially seriously in the wake of last month’s tragic death of a 12-year-old boy in Northport. The boy suffered fatal injuries when he got caught in the propeller of a Zodiac dingy. He was participating in a capsizing drill at a sailing camp at the time.

Now, several New York assemblymen are planning to introduce legislation that would require propeller guards to be installed on any boat used to teach children under age 18. Some lawmakers and experienced mariners say that such guards could have prevented the tragedy in Northport.

According to CBS New York, boat manufacturers have opposed such requirements when they have been suggested before, arguing that propeller guards can actually suck objects into the propellers — and thus increase the risk of entanglements. (There are arguments against propeller guards that have nothing to do with safety, too: they could slow down boats, and they typically cost a few hundred dollars to install.)

Whether the legislation passes or not, the recent accident is a stark reminder for boaters of all ages to take care around propellers. If your child is interested in learning how to sail, you may want to talk to instructors about the safety precautions they will take.

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