RYA survey: 1 in 3 have experienced killcord failure

The RYA has revealed the results of its latest survey in which a third of respondents reported a killcord failure incident

Skippers have been reminded to test their killcord before setting off, after the results of the latest RYA survey revealed an alarming level of killcord failure.

Roughly a third of respondents reported that they have had their killcord fail on them, but fortunately 30% of these people were testing the mechanism at the time.

Rachel Andrews, chief instructor for motor cruising and power at the RYA, said: “It has long been in the RYA Powerboat Level 2 syllabus to test the kill cord before setting off, and it is great to see that not only is this practice embedded, but that it is picking up issues early before an emergency situation occurs.”

Nonetheless, there is room for improvement in boating habits, as 30% of respondents said they left their killcord attached to the killswitch when the disembarked, rather than storing it in a dry locker.

Removing the killcord when not in use can avoid common problems such as UV and salt degradation or potentially fatiguing the killswitch spring mechanism.

Corrosion on crimp of killcordThe RYA survey didn’t find any correlation between the engine’s size and the likelihood of killcord failure, but it did add that 73% of killcord failures occurred in engines that were 2-10 years old.

A grand total of 1,016 boaters from 23 countries responded to the survey, making the results internationally relevant.

However, it is important to acknowledge a slight bias, as those who have not experienced killcord failure are less likely to reply to a survey on the matter.

“The results of the survey show that there are areas for improvement in maintaining equipment, such as checking kill cords for signs of fatigue, discolouration, stiffening, loss of elasticity and any metal or plastic clips; and checking the actual kill switch,” Rachel added.


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