Always, always, always use a kill cord and ensure that it is attached to the driver of the boat – www.rya.org.uk
Tenders and small powerboats should always have a kill cord fitted. When worn correctly, a kill cord is designed to stop the engine if the driver is suddenly displaced from the helm or becomes incapacitated.
Kill Cord Testing
Before you use your kill cord, you should check it is in good working order by starting the engine and then removing it to test if it stops the engine.
Kill Cord Wear and Tear
The material the lanyard is made from must be monitored for wear and tear. Extreme temperatures and UV light will harm the material and it may become stretched out of proportion, brittle or have reduced elasticity. This could effect if it works properly. If it looks worn, contact your engine manufacturer to obtain a replacement.
Kill cords are made from a red coiled lanyard which has a fast-release fitting on one end and a clip on the other. The fast-release fitting attaches to the console and the clip end attaches to the driver.
The driver should circle the coiled lanyard around his/her knee and clip it back onto itself. This method of attachment allows the driver to move naturally when helming without accidentally pulling the fast-release fitting out causing the boat to stop. It should easily detach if the driver were to be suddenly dislodged from the helm.
Another benefit of using a kill cord is that a passenger or crew member could stop the engine if the driver were to become incapacitated. Many power boats will not start without the kill cord connected. Always make sure there is a spare kill cord onboard in case the driver is thrown overboard and the engine needs to be restarted.
An alternative place to attach the kill cord is by circling it around your PFD (personal flotation device). Make sure it does not interfere with the steering or gear controls. Never clip it onto something where it may release from the driver instead of the console – this would cause the kill cord to fail.
If you are changing drivers then turn the engine off, remove the kill cord, change over, and attach the kill cord to the new driver. Only then should you restart the engine.
There have been many boating fatalities that would have been prevented with the use of a kill cord. Use your kill cord – it’s there to protect you.
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