MOB+ Wireless Kill Cord
With the amount of press coverage rightly given to tragic accidents involving not using a kill cord, the total disregard for safety that many boaters still display never ceases to amaze me. Every week I watch people piloting their boats up and down the River Itchen in Southampton, oblivious to the concept of a life jacket and with the kill cord dangling at their feet. It is often a case of blatant idleness, or familiarity breeding contempt for something we have done countless times.
However, I doubt whether any of us can say we have never forgotten to attach that kill cord we intended to secure to our leg after casting off our lines and bringing in the fenders. With MOB+ from Fell Marine in the US, this situation need never arise, as with their wireless kill cord you can start your engine, walk about doing any last-minute jobs, cast off your lines and then drive off safely.
The principle behind MOB+ is simple and I wonder why it has taken so long for it to find its way into the marketplace. Ten years ago I remember jumping into the Solent from a RIB to test an MOB alarm made by Raymarine. It used the same principle of a wireless signal break to trigger its system. With MOB+ you have a base unit known as the xHUB fitted permanently in the console, and a wrist band known as the xFOB that the helmsman wears. They are connected wirelessly by WiMEA – a wireless frequency that will not interfere with any other wireless devices on board. As soon as you climb aboard, you pair the two devices by pressing a button on the xFOB, which you can either wear on your wrist or life jacket, or carry in your pocket. Once paired, you can start the engine – so no pair, no start.
The system has a 15m range and can transmit through decks and bulkheads, presenting no problems when going below or walking about on deck. Once out of range, the xHUB receiving no signal will cut the engine. Likewise, falling in the water immediately breaks the signal from the xFOB. The advantages for fishermen are obvious – and the same is true for single-crew skippers putting out fenders and lines. When the engine is cut, an audible alarm flashes on the xHUB for six seconds, after which any crewmembers can restart the engine and recover the MOB.
The xFOB is a compact device covered in silicone for a comfy fit against the skin, has a battery life of 300 hours and comes in five colours.
The xHUB is an easy device to fit and can be installed in parallel with an existing conventional kill cord by simply connecting its two ‘ignition cut-off wires’ to the kill cord’s two wires that cut the ignition circuit. It also has live and negative connections, which are needed to power the wireless receiver of the xHUB, as well as a flexible antenna.
Fell Marine have also thought about system failure and the possibility of the xFOB battery expiring. In either event you can unplug the waterproof connector in the back of the xHUB, cover the connection with an attached waterproof cover and then revert to the old-school kill cord.
This system is now available in the UK through Aquafax at a cost of £199.79 (inc. VAT).