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Old 17 November 2005, 14:53   #1
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Length of Kill Cord

Probably an old chestnut (point me to a thread if there is already one - I've had a look already), but reading back over some old threads I came across these comments on length of kill cords;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swifty
When solo I wear an extended kill chord which enables me to get to the bow/stern without disconnecting myself from the KC .... Extension is about 4 foot with a bowline in one end and a metal clip at the other.
and;
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scary Des
Even with a short kill cord the engine will still be going fast as you and the boat go your separate ways .... The kill cord really only ensures that the boat stops and maybe close enough for you to swim after it.
Also, reading through Jono's account of his recent capsize;
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jono Garton
we took a big bang off the wave chucking us both to the deck with the bolster seat still between my legs and pulling the kill cord off slightly and flicking the kill switch
Prompts me to ask the question why are kill cords the length they are? Will the engine really stop by the time you reach the prop if ejected at speed? If not then the risk of cutting the engine when you need it (as for Jono) may present a greater hazard (my only experience of this is while mooring - more embarrassing than dangerous!).

I was always of the view that main safety point of the kill cord was to stop the boat circling and taking off the top of your head (as has unfortunately been the case on a number of occasions), but this will be the same if the kill cord was longer.


Andy Beach
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Old 17 November 2005, 15:15   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyB007
I was always of the view that main safety point of the kill cord was to stop the boat circling and taking off the top of your head
Andy, it is.

I think you're probably getting over-analytical. People who are ejected without the kill-cord aren't generally carved up straightway. It's an unpredictable situation, and I don't know of any evidence against following the established and accepted practise of using a standard engine lanyard.
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Old 17 November 2005, 16:17   #3
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Its other main reason - often forgotton is that it stops your craft rushing off and injuring someone else! If you lengthen it it might well catch on something at the cruicial moment and not work.
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Old 17 November 2005, 17:00   #4
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Andy, having read your post again, are you just wondering if a longer kill-cord is appropriate?
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Old 17 November 2005, 17:27   #5
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kill cords

what happens if you have hydraulic steering.... how fast can you swim? but if you are racing..... how fast can you swim with your head down?!!!!!!
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Old 17 November 2005, 17:51   #6
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I'd rather have a normal length kill cord and just unclip it when I need to get around the boat. Anything longer and it'll snag around your leg and things whilst under way.
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Old 18 November 2005, 05:12   #7
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I have to admit i have forgotten to re-attach kill cord numerous times after i have had to unclip from it to do something at the back of the boat etc...

a longer one might mean unclipping it less

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM
If you lengthen it it might well catch on something at the cruicial moment and not work.
How can this happen - unless it actually gets tied with a knot stronger than the breaking strain of the cord - even if wrapped around several items your weight falling over is still going to disengage it from the switch.
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Old 18 November 2005, 06:22   #8
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Kill cords are a real pain in the neck and either work when you don’t want them to or don’t work when you do

I’ve always thought that kill cords are not user friendly and I think that there is scope for big improvement.

A couple of ideas jump to mind:-
On some plant, like mini diggers there is a sensor in the seat that will not allow the digger to move unless someone is sitting there
Some delivery drivers, to allow them to keep there vehicle running without them in it, have a transponder ‘credit card’ that they keep in the back pocket that has to be there for the vehicle to be moved

Both these systems could be used on a rib and in the case of the second it would allow you to move around the boat when a kill cord would not.

Des
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Old 18 November 2005, 06:42   #9
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The kill cord is designed to stop the engine if the helmsman moves away from the helm. I personally think that the normal ~1.3m is plenty - especially if you have crew onboard. If you’re solo then you just need to plan everything a little more carefully - eg prepare lines before you go along side and run them back to the helm.

If you have trouble remembering to reattach the kill cord, stick a label on the dash right in front of the helm to remind you.

I know of two occasions when rough weather knocked helmsman to the floor. (not in RIBs) It was noted that in both cases it would have been difficult to get back to the helm if the kill cord had not stopped the engine. A long kill cord probably wouldn't have cut the engine in these situations.

I would also like to question the ability for a kill switch to be momentarily activated. All kill switches I have come across have essentially employed an over centre mechanism to provide a positive, clean switch. The kill switch on my Mercury control box only kills the engine once the switch has passed the point of no return. Other types where a clip holds the spring loaded switch out require the clip to be totally removed before the engine is stopped - in my opinion momentary activation would be difficult. Try it with your nearest light switch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM
Its other main reason - often forgotton is that it stops your craft rushing off and injuring someone else!
Very true - a quote from the MCA website “…over the weekend dozens of beachgoers had a lucky escape when a speedboat careered onto a crowded beach after its skipper fell overboard last Saturday afternoon”
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Old 18 November 2005, 21:42   #10
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Proper length of a Kill Cord?

How do you know it is the right length?



I was out on a Rib with a friend this summer, we hit a wave and it sent my friend flying while he was on the helm!

To our knowledge this was the appropiate kill cord for this boat!

Luckily my friend landed on the tube and then fell back into the rib.
He was laid on the floor on the opposite side of the boat to where the kill cord attaches.

The kill cord did not come out!

I got to the Throttle and pulled the boat back into neutral.

Luckily None of us where hurt or thrown into the water.
I dont like thinking of what could of happened if i had been thrown into the water and my friend was on the floor with the boat going out of control round the bay
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