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Kill cord safety campaign video

by Rachel Jones 7 Aug 15:00 UTC
Kill cord safety campaign © RYA

The importance of wearing a kill cord is highlighted in dramatic style in a new safety video from the RYA.

Power boat drivers will be left in no doubt of the vital role the kill cord can play in keeping people safe should they experience difficulties on the water.

The video is part of the RYA's new digital safety campaign to highlight its key safety messages: look after yourself, have a plan, keep in touch and know your limits. The campaign is a fresh approach to the RYA's more traditional method of issuing an annual Safety Advisory Notice featuring key topics to help boaters think in practical terms about their safety afloat.

Small open power boats will normally be fitted with a kill cord which, if used correctly, will stop the engine if the driver becomes dislodged from the helm position. The video aims to drive home the message that this is a vital piece of equipment and should always be used.

RYA Safety Advisor Andrew Norton said: "A kill cord is coiled in its design to allow the driver the natural movement required when helming a boat. Should the driver move away from, or be thrown from, the helm position the kill cord will detach from the console and the engine will stop.

"Detaching the kill cord also allows a crew or passenger to stop the engine if the driver becomes incapacitated whilst at the helm, if they have fainted for example. Failing to wear the kill cord is an unnecessary risk and we want to emphasise the potential consequences of not wearing this vital piece of equipment."

In most instances the boat will not start without the kill cord in place therefore a second kill cord should be kept on board to allow the boat to be re-started if the driver and kill cord have gone overboard. The kill cord should be worn by the driver whenever the engine is running.

The kill cord should always be clipped back onto itself. It should not be clipped onto an item of clothing or attached to any other location where the clip would release from the driver rather than detach from the console as the console end must detach for the kill cord to stop the boat.

Summary of RYA advice and recommendations:

  • The RYA recommends that the kill cord be attached around your leg. It should not foul the steering or gear controls.
  • The RYA does not recommend extending the length of the kill cord provided by the manufacturer of the engine.
  • Always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and check it regularly for signs of wear.
  • When replacing kill cords, purchase a genuine replacement lanyard with a strengthening cord through the middle.
  • Do not leave kill cords out in the elements. Extremes of temperature and UV light will harm the lanyard in the long term.
  • If your lanyard has a fabric outer sheath, but has lost its spiral tension, it is advisable to replace it as it is possible that the inner strengthening cord may be damaged.
  • Keep a spare kill cord on board.
For more detailed advice on kill cords visit Safe Boating and for the video visit RYA Safety Advisories.

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