On Thursday 12th July, at around 2.25pm HM Coastguard was alerted to an incident whereby two men had been thrown from a speedboat which then continued and hit the seawall at Minnis Bay, Margate. RNLI Lifeguards, Margate Inshore Lifeboat, Coastguard Rescue Team and Kent Police were called to the scene.  Lifeguards rescued two men from the water who had been wearing lifejackets, but not a killcord.

Above: Kill cord switch in action – there are numerous ones on the market
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.’
What is a killcord?
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.
More helpful advice on how to stay safe whilst at the coast
HM Coastguard blog on the Margate speedboat incident
Acknowledgements to HM Coastguard and the RYA for the use of photo’s and technical advice.

Andy Mills

Margate RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.