A HOLME Valley company is helping boating enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby more safely – and avoid the kind of accident that claimed the life of a father and daughter.
Father-of-four Nick Milligan and his eight-year-old daughter Emily died in a speedboat accident in the Camel Estuary near Padstow, Cornwall.
Investigators said the man was not wearing a “kill chord” – a device which cuts power to the engine should the driver go overboard.
The kill cord is designed to be attached to the boat’s throttle/engine cut-off and then to either the driver’s leg or wrist, so if the driver goes overboard the engine cuts out.
If the kill cord is merely attached to the boat and not to the driver, then if the driver goes overboard, the engine continues running and the boat does not stop.
This could then result in the boat turning in circles and perhaps into the path of the driver and any passengers that may be in the water.
Figures from the Marine and Coastguard Agency show that between 2008 and 2012 there were 19 fatalities linked to motorboats.
The practice of not attaching the kill cord – or not attaching and using it correctly – is a factor in a number of those incidents.
Fastnet Marine Ltd, of Holmfirth, is the sole UK and Eire importer and distributor of an American-made “wireless kill switch” – the Autotether – and is actively seeking dealers and stockists in the UK and Eire..
The unit uses cutting-edge RF technology and does not require hard wiring into the boat. Each Autotether unit can protect the boat driver and up to three passengers and allows unrestricted movement about the boat by just wearing a small, wireless sensor.
If the driver falls overboard, it shuts the engine off within one-and-a-half seconds.
If a passenger falls overboard while wearing a passenger sensor a loud audible alarm sounds to notify the driver.
Tony Watson, managing director of Fastnet Marine Ltd, said: “There are now serious moves to look at legislation, education and alternatives to the normal type kill cord – which I wholeheartedly support.
“We believe that wireless technology is the answer and the American made units that we supply have a proven track record in the USA, Canada and other countries throughout the world.”