Here's why you should install a boat engine kill switch
The subject of boat safety remains a hot topic in the media and for those heading out onto the water. Even the most careful boaters can't foresee when danger can strike, meaning precautions should always be taken to prevent disaster.
Thankfully, among the various onboard safety accessories, you'll find the kill switch. If you're yet to understand the importance of this small feature, read on to discover why you should always install a boat engine kill switch.
What is a boat engine kill switch?
A boat engine kill switch, or cord, is a cut-off device that activates and 'kills' the engine if the helmsman becomes separated from control of the boat. It typically consists of a length of strong plastic cord with two different ends. The first features a set of quick-release clips that attach to the engine's kill switch. The other end has a karabina which clips directly onto the driver's jacket, or it can be made into a loop which is then passed around a leg or arm.
Should the helmsman become thrown from their seat or overboard by a sudden manoeuvre or accident, the cord would pull away from the engine, cutting power and stopping the boat completely. This prevents injury to the person and enables them to easily get back onboard and in control.
Are boat engine kill switches mandatory?
In NSW, boating regulations are governed under the Marine Safety Act 1998. However, there is no mention of mandatory kill cord use within the legislation. In 2015, the state government put forward a public consultation draft proposing changes to the Act. They recommended that all boats under 4.8 metres in length should be fitted with a main kill switch and a second kill switch lanyard wrapped around the handlebars. A year later, the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 was introduced to increase safety for boaters. Here, they implemented the second recommendation to add an additional kill cord.
Installing a kill cord could be the difference between life and death - so why are people still becoming injured whilst boating?
Kill cords in the news
An accident occurring outside of Cornwall, England that resulted in two deaths could have been prevented by drivers wearing kills switches, claims a surviving passenger. The family of four were unexpectedly flung from their boat, and because kill switches weren't attached, the boat continued to move. The father and daughter were killed on impact with the boat while the wife and other daughter sustained injuries but survived the ordeal. Speaking to the media, the widow explained it was a big mistake that neither she nor her late husband were wearing the kill cord.
When should I replace my kill switch?
If your kill switch isn't protected from the elements, it can start to show signs of wear and tear. For example, direct sunlight and moisture exposure can stretch and damage the cord, leaving it at risk of failing to stop the engine when you need it to. If you notice rust, fraying or reduced elasticity, it's time to replace your kill switch to avoid running into problems.
Here at Hunts Marine, we stock several trusted and high quality kill switches. These are also universal, meaning you can be sure to find the right one for you and your boat.
There's no price you can put on guaranteeing your and your passengers' safety. To ensure everyone stays safe and happy, pop into your local Hunts Marine store today and pick up a kill switch.