Texas boating fatalities generally involve an inattentive skipper driving too fast, but nearly half of the 12 boating related fatalities documented through June involved paddle craft, mostly kayaks.
“These boating tragedies represent an alarming trend we’re seeing, not just in Texas, but nationwide,” said Game Warden Assistant Commander Cody Jones, who heads boating law enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “In 2015, over 40 percent of Texas boating-related fatalities involved paddle craft.”
According to TPWD, this year’s paddle-craft fatalities resulted for poor judgment, inexperience and bad weather.
There was one fatality that resulted from trying to kayak in hazardous water conditions caused by flooding. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 85 percent of people who drown in boating accidents were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).
Motorized boat operators can drown, or suffer serious bodily injury from a spinning prop, if they accidentally go overboard. Kill switches have been around for a long time for the purpose to shut down the engine. If they are wearing a PFD, they can float while waiting for help.
However, many boaters don’t hook up with the kill switch because they either forget, or are too busy.
A new product, the FELL Marine MOB that was introduced at the ICAST show this past summer, will work without the angler/boater being tethered to the kill switch.
As you step aboard your boat, press the xFOB to connect to the xHUB. A green light and an audio signal will confirm the connection and the engine can be started. Should a fall over board occur the engine will shut down, caused by the xFOB being under water, or more than 50 feet from the xHUB. Six seconds after shut down passengers can restart the engine to save the person in the water. When leaving the boat press the xFOB once to disconnect.
Up to 20 xFOBs can be stored per xHUB. Only one xFOB is connected at a time, but various users of the same boat can have their personal xFOB for when they are using the boat.
Kayakers and motorized boat operators should both use PFDs, but the MOB is something that might save the life of an anger/boater of a motorized craft. More information can be found: www.fellmarine.com/