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Old 26 May 2020, 16:03   #1
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Using a kill-chord

I had to replace a kill chord this spring after the old one got pinched and broke. This lead to a bit of a chat with the guy at the shop. He said he never used one, unless he was on his own. It occurred to me, that I do the same thing.

The reason I don't is simple. If I am alone, and get pitched out of the boat, then I obviously I want the boat to stop.

On the other hand, if I'm out with someone else, and I get pitched while wearing the chord, the remaining person on board can't really/easily get the boat started again without replacing the chord, or somehow holding up the switch. I suppose I figure that if I am getting tossed, it's likely because the weather is up and it's likely windy. I don't know about your boat, but mine make s a pretty great sail in a strong breeze. I doubt I could catch it if I was swimming after it.

Anyway, I was curious about how you use your kill-chord.

I know there are a number of posts extolling the virtues of ALWAYS using a chord, including a pinned one from our illustrious leader relaying a story where an entire family was tossed and injured or killed. I see that as less likely than just me being tossed because I'm usually standing, straddling a jockey seat, were my better half is sitting and holding on tight. I think I need to be convinced that "always" really means "always"... And that perhaps keeping a spare chord hanging on the helm might not be a bad idea...

Thoughts?
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Old 26 May 2020, 16:37   #2
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I always have a spare Cord in the boat. I always have it connected to me - even when I have people in. If I get thrown out I’d like the boat to come to a halt as near as possible while those on board fiddle around trying to start it as I bob around (hopefully conscious) awaiting rescue or swimming toward them.
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Old 26 May 2020, 17:19   #3
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Likewise, kill cord always on, and a spare ready, in sight and reach of the helm (and further spares tucked away safely in a locker!).

Even if you do have people onboard and you get thrown over while not wearing the kill cord, are they going to be ready to instantly take over at 30+kn with no notice, change seats, grab the controls, get the boat under control, etc., all before anything further happens to the boat or people? Personally I think it's far safer to have the boat stop dead, and then sort things out.

For friends or family coming out and unfamiliar with my boats (or in reality as a routine reminder with everyone), I make sure they understand what the kill cord is, what it does, where the easy spare is (right above the switch on the console on my big Ribtec, so you really can't miss it), and how to replace it and restart the engine (remembering the gear lever will need to go back to neutral), given even amongst my 3 boats fitted with kill cords, I have 3 different types of switches!

Especially given the various fairly recent accidents, I don't think there's many reasons in standard pleasure usage not to use a kill cord at all times. Even if people are sitting down correctly and holding on, the sudden and violent change of direction/attitude caused by something like a hook, as with the Milly incident in the Camel Estuary in the UK, can render that ineffective, and people still get thrown out regardless of being seated "correctly".

If you're worried about getting back to your boat given wind drift (which can be a definite concern), there was an interesting case on here with the Round Ireland several years ago when MustRib (I think) got thrown out, and from memory even though he had a portable VHF and PLB clipped on to him, the VHF disintegrated on impact, and the PLB was used to summon help. So definitely worth thinking what other kit you need on your person, if you do end up in the water and need to summon help away from the boat.
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Old 26 May 2020, 17:27   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo View Post
I had to replace a kill chord this spring after the old one got pinched and broke. This lead to a bit of a chat with the guy at the shop. He said he never used one, unless he was on his own. It occurred to me, that I do the same thing.

The reason I don't is simple. If I am alone, and get pitched out of the boat, then I obviously I want the boat to stop.

On the other hand, if I'm out with someone else, and I get pitched while wearing the chord, the remaining person on board can't really/easily get the boat started again without replacing the chord, or somehow holding up the switch. I suppose I figure that if I am getting tossed, it's likely because the weather is up and it's likely windy. I don't know about your boat, but mine make s a pretty great sail in a strong breeze. I doubt I could catch it if I was swimming after it.

Anyway, I was curious about how you use your kill-chord.

I know there are a number of posts extolling the virtues of ALWAYS using a chord, including a pinned one from our illustrious leader relaying a story where an entire family was tossed and injured or killed. I see that as less likely than just me being tossed because I'm usually standing, straddling a jockey seat, were my better half is sitting and holding on tight. I think I need to be convinced that "always" really means "always"... And that perhaps keeping a spare chord hanging on the helm might not be a bad idea...

Thoughts?


You should always wear a kill cord. Just look back at the rib disaster in the Camel Estuary a few years ago where all six occupants were thrown out, and almost all maimed or killed by the runaway boat, not to mention someone having to risk their life to jump on the boat to stop it.

Like others, I keep a spare kill cord on the boat, and make sure my crew know where it is.
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Old 26 May 2020, 18:16   #5
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I hadn't really considered having a spare on the helm, but it seems like that would do it. On my last one, the chord was severed but even keeping the business end right there would be good I guess.
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Old 27 May 2020, 01:15   #6
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Hi Stoo,
I always carry at least 2 spare kill cords onboard. I know you don't run a tiller, but Evinrude tillers have a receptacle on the underside for an emergency kill clip. Smart.
Learn more about Killer Chords here:

https://www.daviddarling.info/encycl...wer_chord.html

Note the curly CORD around the left knee.

Have a nice pandemic. :^)
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Old 27 May 2020, 01:30   #7
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Controversially, RNLI inshore rescue board (arabica Lifeguard A380’s Not lifeboats) do not wear kill cords ever. Instead the outboards have throttle return springs so it’ll just come to idle in gear. It entirely unpractical in surf and the amount the helm needs to move around the boat. Just playing devil’s advocate, in the zapcat I always always wear it.
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Old 27 May 2020, 03:04   #8
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Normal practice is to always where one and have a back up somewhere on the boat.
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Old 27 May 2020, 03:53   #9
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Merc's style of kill cord work a small toggle switch, if the helm isn't the helm anymore ( Doh! ) then the switch can be reset just by flicking it back to its working position (no cord req ) and then sorted out once any panic is over.

I wear one 100% of the time - your a fool if you don't
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Old 27 May 2020, 04:46   #10
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What Fender said, the Merc system is excellent.
Before that I had an Evinrude and if needed, they can also start without the kill cord.
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Old 27 May 2020, 12:38   #11
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Mercury system here.
Use it solo or with people on board.
Better to have a stationary boat than an out of control one with people on board who have no idea what's going on or what to do.
I do show newbies what to do & have laminated 'how to' sheets for the radio but you never really know what they retain & what goes in one ear & out the other.

ETA Why do people keep referring to a 'kill chord'?
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Old 27 May 2020, 13:17   #12
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I agree there are no circumstances where a leisure user should want to be without a kill cord. I always have a spare tied adj the outboard and another spare in the tool kit. As others have said the Mercury/Mariner "switch" system allows a restart without the cord which may be appropriate to recovering the ejected party but not the run home so a spare is always needed.

The OP questions their use if you have passengers but as others have said it can take a moment for said passenger to realise what has happened and take control. If the passenger happened to be holding your young child beside them there may be an even greater lag in response or indecision which in some circumstances could cause the ejected person to get run over.
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Old 28 May 2020, 01:38   #13
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Quote:
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I wear one 100% of the time - your a fool if you don't
Firm but absolutely fair.

Although I do sometimes see it dangling there and think "sugar" or words to that effect.
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Old 28 May 2020, 08:57   #14
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As others have said. Carry a spare or spares.

A few throttles have a spare 'key' (black plastic bit) in a holder with no cord. I don't link the mercury ones with the toggle. The risk of starting in 'override' to just move round the corner etc and forgetting it's over ridden is high. But having used them a few times last year I found they also pull out very easily... Which may be related to position they are mounted. The red switch that is pulled out by the key can usually be kept pulled out with some 3mm rope if you are stuck...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribtecer View Post
Firm but absolutely fair.

Although I do sometimes see it dangling there and think "sugar" or words to that effect.
Solutions:

1. Always remove and clip to wheel when done. Makes it very obvious. Good in say a sailing club with potentially many helms

2. Permenantly attach to life jacket, so can never not have to plug in when return to boat.
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Old 28 May 2020, 09:31   #15
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ETA Why do people keep referring to a 'kill chord'?

....ícos itís A# Prop
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Old 28 May 2020, 10:02   #16
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Also if the helm is ejected (ya know the guy at the controls) chances of the passenger/passengers staying board?

The merc toggle switch is genius in its simplicity. we used to keep it on the throttle lever which means you cant put it in gear without touching the cord......

Do the RNLI inshores run prop guards?
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Old 28 May 2020, 13:18   #17
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Arancia’s do, no others are equipped. They are the heavy duty large multiple vein type, still crack veins semi regularly.
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Old 28 May 2020, 14:00   #18
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Stoo - whilst that story was particularly high profile it is certainly not the only time the entire crew have been ejected. It was particularly high profile because the outcome was particularly horrific and also potentially because the family were involved in the media so it resonated with journalists etc. keep in mind you will almost never hear about the situations where the cord worked and someone self rescued or even if it was a fairly mundane rescue.
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Old 28 May 2020, 15:02   #19
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If you want to know why the helm should always wear a kill cord
watch this as posted by Lee Argyle

https://www.rib.net/forum/f19/that-red-thing-83473.html
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Old 28 May 2020, 15:23   #20
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If you want to know why the helm should always wear a kill cord
watch this as posted by Lee Argyle

https://www.rib.net/forum/f19/that-red-thing-83473.html
Except that is a commercial vessel and like the RNLI, the military and I'm sure a few other organisations, they possibly don't wear a kill cord as standard and for a good reason.

I do agree that leisure users should always wear a kill cord and the report below is sadly evidence of that.

https://assets.publishing.service.go...0011/Milly.pdf
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