Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

A conversation among Whalers
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Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

Postby Divin'Ivan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:15 am

[One person dead, one person missing, from a runaway boat in Half Moon Bay--story at a CBS website, linked below] ... -moon-bay/

So sad, my condolences to the families of the victims.


I just bought an automatic wireless kill switch for my 190 Outrage. I will be installing it in the next couple of weeks and will post when I complete the install.
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Re: Speculation on cause of runaway boat

Postby andrey320 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:47 pm

[The runaway boat] doesn't look that far from shore, but, when you're not in the best shape, fully dressed, in cold water, and possibly injured from being ejected, [to make it to shore is] probably a tough swim. Another case of loose steering rod nut?

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Phil T
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Re:Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

Postby Phil T » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:12 am

Tragically one person was found dead in the water and another person is missing.

The basic cable steering does not include a clutch in the helm so if you let go at speed the torque of the motor will turn the wheel to hard starboard.

If one were to fall overboard and have the kill switch, the boat would not go too far away. Without the kill switch, the result in what is seen in the video.
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1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

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Re: Coast Guard Comments

Postby Royboy » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:52 am

According to the Coast Guard, neither occupant was wearing a PFD, although how they determined that for the missing boater is curious. Please wear your PFD when offshore.

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Re: Wear PFD and Use Safety Lanyard

Postby frontier » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:05 pm

Years ago, a friend was testing a boat and motor. No kill switch lanyard and no life jacket. Steering failed at speed, he was ejected as boat started circling as in this video. Into the center of the "circle of death" as he called it. No way to swim out and survive. And getting tired treading water. The motor ran out of gas and that saved his life. Ever since that day we have ALWAYS worn a PFD and made sure kill switch lanyard was attached.

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Cause was Operator Error

Postby Dutchman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:36 pm

Especially sad for the families involved, but Boston Whaler didn't do anything wrong. This is clearly operator error, sorry to say. Use that lanyard--or is that only in the more modern Whalers?
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Re: Older Boston Whaler Boats Not Sold with Engines

Postby jimh » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:51 pm

Most older boats, incuding Boston Whaler boats, were not sold with an engine installed. The buyer of the boat could install his own engine, with or without any safety gear.

Exactly where in this discussion is there any reliable source of information about the age of the boat and whether or not it had a safety lanyard rigged? The linked article does cite the boat as a Boston Whaler. When viewing the recording on a large screen, the boat does look like a classic MONTAUK 17, and its engine looks like a Honda. Since Boston Whaler never sold a MONTAUK 17 with a Honda engine installed, there seems to be no chance that the engine was rigged on this boat by the factory.

For all we know, the helmsman could have been wearing the safety lanyard and the cord broke, or the switch did not work, or any number of things could have occurred. It is clear that the boat's engine continued to run after the helmsman and crew went overboard, but it is not clear what safety gear was rigged, and if was in use, and if it was in good working order.

Let me ask readers: when was the last time you checked the operating of the safety lanyard on your boat? Did you intentionally pull the lanyard off the switch? Did the engine stop?

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Re: Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

Postby Todd » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:59 pm

Seems like most all modern PWC's and smaller boats come equipped with a safety lanyard switch device. My 2003 Dauntless 160 has one--that I must admit I don't use as often as I should due to the fact we use it mostly at idle speed, I'm going to change that practice.

My 38-foot Sea Ray didn't have [a safety lanyard], and there were times on Lake Michigan it probably should have. I know some states, e.g., Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, and New Jersey, have laws requiring their use; there should be more.

Seems like we see lots of laws that don't make much sense--spitting on the sidewalk comes to mind--but something that could save your life isn't in the regulations?

Sadly, like all safety devices, if you don't use them, they can't save you.

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Re: Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

Postby jimh » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:36 am

As PHIL notes, propeller torque from a right-hand rotation propeller on an outboard engine will tend to put the boat into a right turn if the steering system does not resist such movement. In the recording, the engine speed appears to be set rather high, so one could presume that at the moment the crew left the boat, the boat was on plane and making good speed.

As the boat repeatedly crosses its own wake with the wake waves hitting the boat on the port bow, the wake seems to force the boat into a tighter turn radius, along with the turning of the engine itself.

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Re: Runaway Boat in Half Moon Bay

Postby Don SSDD » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:18 am

My 2001 130HP Honda has a kill switch, the key and controls on my motor are minimal and from my owner's manual the kill switch appears to be a standard item on Honda's in 2001. I would say a good chance this boat had a kill switch.
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