Following the publication of the MAIB’s report today (30 January) on its investigation of the tragic RIB accident which took place in the Camel Estuary, Cornwall last year, the RYA is urging owners and drivers of small open-powered boats and RIBs to stay safe by following these simple safety steps:

  1. Always wear a kill cord.
  2. Keep a good look out.
  3. Keep passengers and crew seated safely with secure handholds. 
  4. Maintain good communication throughout the journey.  

Salutary reminder

Richard Falk RYA Training Manager “Last year’s accident was a salutary reminder to us all of how important it is to always wear a kill cord when underway.

"However, with most incidents there is rarely one single causal factor, but rather a number of contributory factors. In a majority of cases the avoidance of any one of these factors would have either prevented the accident or at the very least minimised its severity.  

“That is why it is vitally important that boaters should never lose sight of any of these basic safety steps that should be followed every time they go out on the water, in particular to always wear a kill cord when underway.”  

 "If one good thing can possibly come from this tragedy it's that the issue of kill cords has received a great deal of media scrutiny.

"We would like to hope that has made more people aware of the hazards of operating craft without a kill cord attached."  

Assisted the MAIB

The RYA assisted the MAIB (Marine Accident and Investigation Branch) in its investigations into this sad incident and continues to work with the Branch, the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the RNLI in promoting safety on the water.  

It will be implementing the recommendations made with regard to its Powerboat Scheme as well as taking additional steps to further highlight hazards associated with high speed craft through our range of publications.  

The RYA Powerboat 2 course is an excellent entry level course for anyone considering driving a small open-powered craft or RIB. More advanced tuition for more powerful or high performance craft available through our intermediate and advanced courses.

Safety Steps

1. Always wear a kill cord

Always, always use a kill cord and ensure that it is correctly attached to the driver of the boat. Wearing of kill cords is essential, as highlighted in the RYA’s annual Safety Advisory Notice 01/14.

The kill cord when correctly worn will stop the engine if the driver becomes dislodged from the helm position. You should always switch off your engine before coming alongside someone in the water.  

2. Keep a good look out

Ensure the driver of the boat keeps a proper lookout at all times. When towing anyone on water skis, wake-boards or inflatables always have a spotter in the boat to monitor the people being towed.  

3. Safe seating and good handholds

The driver, passengers and crew must have a firm handhold at all times and be seated on seats and not on the sides or the boat or at the front - particularly at high speed. Speed should be matched to the conditions – in rougher conditions slow down.  

4. Good communication

The driver should warn passengers and crew prior to making any manoeuvres at speed or approaching rough water or wash from other vessels.

‘Think: Wear Your Kill Cord’ stickers are available from the RYA, contact training@rya.org.uk.

Read more information on safety.

Don’t ruin a good day out on the water: be safe, enjoy more!