Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-20-2015, 10:21 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Retriever's Avatar
 
City: Seattle, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Safe Harbour
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 191
Dinghy Kill Switch

After 15 years of boating and hundreds of hours in dinghies I finally did something stupid enough to eject myself from a speeding dinghy last weekend at Sucia Island.

I was by myself, about halfway between Ewing Cove and Shallow Bay, when I took my hand off the tiller for a moment to look at the Navionics app. Just then the dinghy hit a little wake, the tiller jerked towards me, and I flew backwards into the water.

The kill switch worked as designed and the dinghy stopped, I swam over, and climbed back in no worse for the wear (same can't be said for iPhone...). I was wearing a lifejacket with a VHF/GPS, PLB, and flares, so had the dinghy capsized or blown away from me, I could have signaled for help. And I'd previously practiced climbing into the dinghy from the water, so I knew I could do it unassisted.

As many of us head out for summer cruises, think about these questions. If you fell into the water, would the boat stop? Would you float and be able to effectively signal for help, if necessary? And how would you get yourself back aboard unassisted?
__________________
Advertisement

Retriever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 01:40 PM   #2
Guru
 
Moonfish's Avatar


 
City: Port Townsend, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Traveler
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 700
Thanks for sharing, Sam. And good to hear you're OK. I know a guy who winters in our marina. He owns the boat "Alaska Quest" and does crewed charters during the summer up north. Many will remember he and his boat as the folks who rescued some deer from the water a few years ago... Anyway, just last summer he was in his dinghy moving at speed when he fell into the water. He was not wearing the kill switch, and the dinghy came around in a circle and the prop cut deeply into his arm/shoulder. Says he was lucky he was not far from the boat and that people saw it happen, or would have most certainly died.

So good on ya' for wearing the kill switch. I will now endeavor to do the same, especially when I am alone or have my precious cargo (wife and daughter) aboard. Wait, that would mean every time...
__________________

__________________
Darren
Port Townsend, WA
m/v Traveler - '79 Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
http://www.pacificnwboater.com
Moonfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 02:02 PM   #3
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,729
Good ending to a situation that could have gone bad very quickly. I will say though, you are better than 99.9% of the other dinghy operators out there. You set a good example!

The kill switch is SOP for us. We carry water and a hand held VHF. We do a lot of exploring/fishing in remote areas and in addition to getting thrown out of the dinghy, breaking down and drifting away from land is what also scares me.

Last Saturday, 2 young men from Bullocks Harbour went out Sat am to do a little fishing. They were spotted about 1 pm by a boat on it's way into Great Harbor Marina, they were waving their arms and pointing to their outboard engine. Why that boat didn't stop and offer immediate assistance remains a mystery, but they felt they did their duty by reporting what they saw to the marina office when they checked in. But the ball got dropped at the marina and they never got around to telling anyone else about it. It took Mom saying "my boys aren't back yet!" for the pieces to fall together.

Sun am, a cruiser in the marina started putting out periodic 'pan pan' messages on the VHF, saying these guys were in a 15-18 ft skiff and had no food, no water, no VHF, no cell phone and no anchor! The messages included their last known location. US Coast Guard helicopters were overhead much of Sun as part of the search effort. Chris Parker mentioned the missing boat on his Mon am SSB weather update, asking all boaters to be on the look out as the skiff was likely heading toward the Gulf Stream! There is a good ending here as Chris Parker reported yesterday morning (Tuesday) that cruising boat Michla III spotted the skiff and picked the men up early Tues am. The guys were tired, hungry and thirsty, but otherwise ok. They're all in Lake Worth now, but what drama. We felt more than a little involved as we had gone by Little Stirrup at about 11 am Sat - and we know we would have towed them in if we had seen them.
Larry M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 03:30 PM   #4
Guru
 
City: Fort Myers
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 954
Retriever thanks for sharing, I must admit I'm a bit remiss at attaching the kill cord to me, with renewed stories I'll make a concerted effort.
Marlinmike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 04:16 PM   #5
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,135
Seat belts in cars, kill switches in dinghies, PFD's, all such simple precautions and yet many of us resist them. When I was younger I used a seat belt only because it was the law. Today, I realize the lives they save. As to the Rib's we have, never operated without kill switch. I don't use a treadmill without the kill switch.
BandB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 06:22 PM   #6
Guru
 
bligh's Avatar
 
City: Santa Cruz, CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Frisky
Vessel Model: 99 Nordic Tug
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,096
Wow! I'm sure it happened real fast. Good job! We use our tether too.
bligh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 08:24 PM   #7
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by bligh View Post
Wow! I'm sure it happened real fast. Good job! We use our tether too.
Bass fishermen on bass boats are others I've seen tossed out and about a few times.
BandB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 08:37 PM   #8
Guru
 
N4712's Avatar
 
City: South FL
Country: U.S.A
Vessel Name: Oliver
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 47 Hull# 12
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,613
I use ours every time on the little RHIB. As I like to go fast and that's the only speed I know while in it. In my bigger CC I tend to not use it as much as I should. I usually always put it on if I'm going in the ocean with just me in the boat.
__________________
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
N4712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 08:46 PM   #9
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,563
I`ve seen an uncommanded runaway dinghy after an incident. Really dangerous. Several years back people were run down by a ski boat when the operator was ejected. Memo to self, remember to attach the kill cord.
__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 10:42 PM   #10
Guru
 
HopCar's Avatar


 
City: Miami Florida
Vessel Name: Possum
Vessel Model: Ellis 28
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,500
Ok, I'll start using it. Thanks Retriever.
__________________
Parks Masterson
www.hopkins-carter.com
HopCar is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 03:36 AM   #11
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
I started wearing the seat belt in my car back when I started flying a plane. Not because I thought the seat belt would do squat to protect me in an accident but because I felt I had much better control of the car when I was held firmly in the seat, same as in the plane. It's the only reason I wear them today (in addition to the legal requirement).

I don't know anyone personally who uses the safety clip on an outboard, and that includes everyone I know in our boating club. And I can't say that I have ever observed anyone passing our moored or anchored boat in a dinghy, fast or slow, using one. Nor can I ever recall seeing anyone on a dock somwheres getting into an outboard powered dinghy and diligently fastening on the clip. So my guess is that very, very few boaters use them. I don't use it because it's too restrictive of my movements, particularly while fishing.

I don't have anything against them: it's a great idea if one is concerned about falling out of a boat while underway. However it's not ever been anything I've spent any time worrying about during the 40+ years I've been associated with boats in some way, and I know that if I started using one now it wouldn't be long before I didn't bother with it again.

I am more inclined to ensure that I don't do something to cause myself to go overboard than to worry about what might happen if I do. That said, I do wear a PFD at all times when underway in any of our boats. But speaking strictly for myself, the downside of using the outboard safety clip outweighs its upside for the nature of our dinghy and the way we use it.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 09:47 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
City: Edmonds
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 176
Our dinghy is twelve feet, with a center console. I will start using the kill switch. I always wear a seat belt, don't know why I have always ignored the kill switch... Great reminder, thank you!
Robster_in_edmonds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:10 AM   #13
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,877
Safety is a mindset and risk management is a tool....combined they present a powerful opponent against danger.


Most people are just plan lucky....a few of the highly experienced beat the odds their whole life.


People that boat 100-200 hours a year their whole life lean a bunch along the way...maybe.


I tow dozens of lifelong boaters every year and rescued by helicopter hundreds over a career flying that have said "I can't believe this....I have been doing this my whole life".


The eye opener for me...even as a highly trained USCG just about everything related to the water...when I went commercial and lived aboard....so much became more apparent to me than even just a few years before.....


So evaluate your habits closely....the average recreational boater, no matter how smart, really needs to do more reality checks.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:12 AM   #14
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,135
Certainly type of dinghy, propulsion, type of steering, and use play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk. Tiller steering is actually more dangerous than a steering wheel in this regard. Now we have an 11' rib capable of 40+ knots and while we don't consider it dangerous, we do put it in the high performance PWC type arena. It is jet driven so at least no prop.

In addition to the tiller caution, I'm going to toss one other out there. Hand crank. Hand crank outboard, lawn mowers, left mulchers, snow blowers. Anything that cranks with a pull starter. Talk to a cardiologist. Those in the know recommend against for anyone over 40. When you're pulling the crank it's a motion across your heart and is a somewhat frequent cause of heart attacks as the motor doesn't want to start so one pulls and pulls. My experience in that was my father's death was from a heart attack after he pulled and pulled to start his leaf mulcher. Now, he was high risk due to smoking and drinking. But the cardiologist pointed out how common it was. The boat dealer we dealt with wouldn't sell hand start outboards after the owner had a heart attack starting one (he lived and was fine).

Ultimately we all have to decide what risks in life to take. I eat lots of red meat. Even exercise has risks. Certainly early morning jogging in streets sure does (I don't do that). Playing full court basketball with kids less than half my age. But laying in bed all day in fear is a bigger risk than all of them.

All I say is have a clear understanding of the risks and minimize them where it can be done without significant damage to the quality of your life.

Marin participates in what might generally be considered some higher risk avocations. But I'm sure at the same time, he's more aware of making sure he operates professionally and uses diligence is safety precautions. Same as I'm sure he is on his dinghy.

One last part of my opinion here. Each person has the right to determine what risks they assume, but when you're putting others at risk you now have a different responsibility. Kids aboard (and pets aboard), non swimmers, inexperienced boaters, and other boats are all different than risks we assume for ourselves.
BandB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:19 AM   #15
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,877
The real problem...is many don't know the risks....


Their focus is on a million other things rather than boats and the water.


And in todays world...people enter boating with trawlers and dinks as an after thought...maybe not everyone here....but some and more than a few have little big boat experience.


Only a few climbed the boating ladder one rung at a time.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:39 AM   #16
Guru
 
Northern Spy's Avatar
 
City: Powell River, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Northern Spy
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,666
Always use it and have taught my kids to always use one. Almost every boater knows a runaway dinghy story or two, often times involving injury. Maybe the kill switch is there for a reason?
Northern Spy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:43 AM   #17
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Spy View Post
Always use it and have taught my kids to always use one. Almost every boater knows a runaway dinghy story or two, often times involving injury. Maybe the kill switch is there for a reason?
As you know...many of those regs are written in blood...sometimes misapplied...but this one had enough fatalities I'm sure it wasn't based on a flawed investigation or two.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 10:57 AM   #18
Guru
 
bligh's Avatar
 
City: Santa Cruz, CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Frisky
Vessel Model: 99 Nordic Tug
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,096
Years back I borrowed my dads flat bottomed zodiac that had a 10 hp motor on it. I was cruising around (on a plane) and let go of the tiller for a sec while the boat was in motion. On its own, the motor swung 90 degrees to the boat and violently threw me and my son into the boat. It could have easily thrown both of us out of the boat. It was difficult to regain control of the spinnning boat, but I did. Lesson learned.
bligh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #19
Guru
 
City: Satsuma FL
Country: United States
Vessel Name: No Mo Trawla
Vessel Model: Hurricane SS188
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,674
Not on the boat yet (still too cold up in northwest MI) so I haven't checked the manuals but I was unaware of a kill switch being offered for our 2.3 or 2.5hp Honda. Are they available for a little engine like that?
Donsan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2015, 11:45 AM   #20
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
Not on the boat yet (still too cold up in northwest MI) so I haven't checked the manuals but I was unaware of a kill switch being offered for our 2.3 or 2.5hp Honda. Are they available for a little engine like that?
I was under the perhaps mistaken impression that it is a mandatory device on all outboard motors sold in the US. The smallest outboard we have is a 4 hp from the year 2000. It has one. Our largest outboard is a 1987 90 hp, and it has one although it's on the throttle/shifter control, not the motor itself. They've been around for a long, long time.
__________________

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012