Coastguard issues kill cord warning after speed boat crashes into Minnis Bay sea wall

HM Coastguard

Two men were thrown from their speedboat which then crashed into the sea wall at Minnis Bay earlier this afternoon (July 12).

At around 2.25pm  HM Coastguard received a number of 999 calls reporting that the two men had been thrown from the boat which then continued unmanned until it crashed into the sea wall. The two men were rescued by the RNLI Lifeguards.

The speedboat had set out from Herne Bay but run over rocks close inshore at Minnis Bay. While inspecting their outboard engine the two men had been washed overboard.

HM Coastguard Margate, Margate RNLI lifeboat, Minnis Bay RNLI Lifeguards and Kent Police were on scene and the two men were recovered from the water by the lifeguards. It appears the men did not suffer any serious injuries.

Tony Evans, HM Coastguard Maritime Operations Specialist, said: “These two men have had a very lucky escape. Although they were wearing lifejackets, it would appear that they had a kill cord on the engine but neither of them were wearing it. With a busy beach nearby, the circumstances could have been very different, or indeed tragic, if the vessel had not crashed into the wall.”

HM Coastguard offers this safety advice regarding kill cords.

The kill cord as the name suggests, is designed to kill your engine in the event of you going overboard. All owners and drivers of open powerboats, personal watercraft and RIBs should ensure that if their boat is fitted with a kill switch and kill cord, it is correctly used.

On a powerboat the kill cord should be attached securely around the thigh and on a personal watercraft it should be attached to the buoyancy aid. Attach your kill cord before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear where safe to do so. Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.

Always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and remember to replace it when there are signs of ageing, or wear and tear or it starts to lose spiral tension. When replacing kill cords, buy the manufacturers genuine replacement kill cords.

Do not leave kill cords out in the elements. Extremes of temperature and UV light will harm the kill cord in the long term.

1 Comment

  1. It is appalling that after many incidents involving the use, or rather the non-use of kill cords, people still persist in not attaching them properly. (For those who don’t know, a kill cord is a cord one end of which is attached to the engine operator – usually the boat driver. The other end has a fitting which operates an electrical switch, such that when the fitting is removed, for example, when the boat driver falls out of the boat, pulling the cord with him, all electrical power to the engine is killed, so that it stops. Therefore the boat stops). Many fast motorboats are used by young men who consider “safety” to be uncool. I’d have thought injury to oneself or others, or even the death of oneself or others, all of which have occurred in British waters within the last 10 years or so, would be even more uncool.

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