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Propellor Blade Injuries

Kill Cords – The importance of wearing them and what happens when we don’t

Over the years, the absence of kill cords being worn when driving speed boats, RIBS, and small powerboats have been wanting in their absence. The necessity to wear kill cords is a priority. The attitude towards doing just that is somewhat lighthearted and often accompanied with a care free attitude. Multiple deaths and injuries over the years whether it is out on the sea or in a loch still doesn’t appear to register that accidents can and do happen.

The picture below isn’t the result of an attack of a Great White, but a propeller, he was lucky. It is not uncommon for boats, when the driver is thrown overboard and not wearing a kill cord,  to continue to circle back. The result being the person in the water is run over by his own boat while it is out of control.


Kill Cord

Kill Cord

Seatrek Training Propellor Blade Injuries

Propellor Injuries









So is this a case of frightening everyone, putting  a dampener on your boating; NO,  its about common sense, preparing for the unexpected, the unnoticed wash off a passing vessel which results in a loss of control or a man overboard. By simply wearing a kill cord  it avoids the boat continuing in its path of destruction. The same applies if you have youngsters driving. Get a dual kill cords so that both of you are wearing it. Its not rocket science this is your family and friends we are talking about. Be safe this summer and enjoy the water its a great sport with the opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

We don’t promise that nothing will happen to you but we can help educate you in how to deal with some of the issues raised by this post if you are looking for powerboat training you can view our RYA Powerboat Level 2 courses by following the link.

First aid training is a competency that all of us should learn to a lesser or greater degree so whether it is on board your own boat, at work or within your home life there is a course to suit all of you. Follow the link through and choose which course suits you best if you need help then we are at to answer any of your questions

MAIB Investigation into one families horror story KILL CORD DEATHS – SB1_13



7 Comments on “KILL CORDS”

      1. I must completely disagree with you here: an out of control powerboat is not just a threat to yourself, it is a threat to other water users. Humans are not horses and can be made to act responsibly, particularly when their actions place the lives of others at risk

        1. Hi Jonathan thank you for your comment however, we can only educate people to being responsible boat owners and yes i agree with you that the implications of not wearing a killcord and someone falls in can be catastrophic. However there is no way of legislating this anymore than the fact training is not legislated. The stance of the RYA is to educate people in being responsible boat owners and to encourage them to take the correct courses, raising awareness of the dangers and thereby reducing the risks of accidents that occur. Ultimately it still comes down each boat owner/individual to make their own informed decisions as to how they proceed next. No different to someone who gets in behind the wheel of a car drunk.

  1. I deliver STCW training and this topic has been raised fairly regularly in slightly off-topic discussions (mainly during the PSSR module) with the course candidates, particularly those with small craft experience. I am thankful that the outstanding majority were aware of the importance of the kill cord before attending the course. However, with the continued prevalence in no-kill-cord related deaths and serious injuries, the question is raised as to why people are reluctant to use them? Going through this question mentally, I can only pick up one or two weak reasons why someone would not want to use the cord and a whole plethora of strong reasons why they would.

    1. Hi David We strongly recommend people use them when using their own boats however, on all our craft we have a double kill cord system regardless and whoever is driving they are made to wear them regardless of who they are.

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