Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Famous Russian "Ghost Boat"

Or better known as "this is what happens when you don't use an ignition shut-off and a lanyard on your boat." For those of you who may not know, a lanyard is a device that will automatically shut the engine(s) down if you happen to leave the drivers seat for any reason. Usually attached to your life vest, the lanyard essentially works the same as those on a jet ski.

The device is simple, easy to install if you don't have one, and can help you avoid all kinds of tragic consequences due to a runaway boat. Even in larger boats, it's always possible to hit someone else's wake, encounter an unexpected wave, or be required to make a sudden and unexpected maneuver. Watching this video, it looks like an inexperienced pilot tried to take way too sharp of a turn at speed--with the result that the boat went one way, and he went the other.

As you can see, this is a pretty decent-sized boat; clearly more than the skipper was prepared to handle safely and responsibly. We assume he made it back to shore, though he is extremely lucky the boat did not hit anyone or anything else except the rocks on the shoreline. Without a lanyard, your boat essentially becomes an unguided missile should physics cause you to leave it for any reason.

Even though my own 26' Formula is not that fast, and has a hull that's known for stability, I'm still having an ignition cut-off system and lanyard installed this spring before I take it out on any big water, like Lake Erie.

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