Cutoff Switch by 1st Mate

1st Mate is a wireless engine cutoff switch (ECOS) that allows the captain to move around the boat, yet still provide protection and stop the motor should the captain fall overboard. In fact, numerous crewmembers can wear First Mate fobs and the engines will shut off if they should fall overboard. First Mate also provides security, preventing the engines from being started by a non-authorized operator. Learn this and more in this article.

Cutoff Switch by 1st Mate

The 1st Mate allows the captain and crew to move freely around the boat while also providing protection should they fall overboard. (Courtesy Mercury Marine/)

With most operators of boats under 26 feet in length overall now required to use an engine cutoff switch (ECOS), alternatives to the ubiquitous safety lanyard bear consideration. Take the 1st Mate. An electronic ECOS, it’s a small fob that one wears like a watch or clips on like a key ring.

The 1st Mate allows the captain to move around the boat, obviating complaints regarding the inconvenience of lanyards. It also allows restarting the engine immediately following a man overboard (MOB), unlike a lanyard ECOS, which, unless crew aboard possess a spare lanyard, may not allow restarting the engine if the skipper goes overboard.

The 1st Mate system is an app-integrated marine safety and security product developed through a partnership between Mercury Marine and Fell Marine. It integrates the benefits of Mercury’s industry- leading SmartCraft and Fell Marine’s WiMEA protocol, using WiMEA to communicate between a hub and fobs, which proves faster and more robust than Bluetooth in marine safety- critical situations. The 1st Mate system also uses Bluetooth for communication between app-loaded devices. Furthermore, the 1st Mate can be upgraded wirelessly to unlock new features in the future.

During a captain- overboard event, the 1st Mate cuts the engines; sounds an alarm on mobile devices with the app, its hub, and other fobs on the boat; and displays the GPS location and directions to the MOB. This enables crew to safely maneuver directly back to the victim.

Besides working for the skipper, up to seven crew can be protected by 1st Mate fobs ($128 each for passenger fobs), including pets. Should fob-wearing crew go over, the alarm and MOB location and direction are immediately sent to the app and system, though the engines are not cut.

Additionally, the 1st Mate can notify emergency contacts that an MOB occurred, and provide location, time and heading information to the event. This adds additional safety, particularly for a boater out on the water alone.

The 1st Mate system also provides security. Just like your car’s fob, the engine(s) will not start without the -captain fob aboard. You can -designate different fobs as the captain to allow others to use your boat. You can also disable the system for a service tech. Forgot your fob? The app affords backup startability. Dropped your phone? Touch the provided -key-ring-ready NFC -medallion to the hub.

Installation is DIY- simple, according to the 1st Mate team, requiring just four screws to mount the --sandwich-size hub and the running of one cable. That’s for boats with Mercury SmartCraft or NMEA 2000. Boats without a network require more effort to tap into the ignition circuit. Basic ECOS functionality is said to be -plug-and-play, while setting up individual fobs and a list of emergency contacts will take a few minutes. In-app and web-based written and video -instructions are provided.

Read Next: New Boating Law Requires Use of Engine Cut-Off Switches (ECOS)

The system is available for SmartCraft engines from singles to sixes. Non-SmartCraft engines are supported up to triple installations.

Pricing has been reduced since print publication.

Pricing at time of this publication ranges from $415 for a single engine SmartCraft DTS application hub and Captain’s Fob to $697 for a 4/5/6 engine SmartCraft/DTS application. Prices for Quicksilver branded kits, which work with non-Smartcraft (non-Mercury) engines are comparable; some are priced the same; some cost a bit less. Additional Captain’s Fobs cost $105 and additional Passenger Fobs cost $77 regardless of whether they are SmartCraft/ DTS or Quicksilver version. These prices have been rounded to the dollar.

The 1st Mate system appears to offer great value, ease of use, and a trifecta of functionality: safety, distress messaging and security. We plan to install a system aboard one of our project boats and will report back after several months.

Source : Boating Magazine More   

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How to wear a lifejacket: Top tips for buying, fitting and maintaining your PFD

Wearing a lifejacket is one of the most important things you can do to increase safety afloat, writes Jon Mendez.But unless you wear and maintain your lifejacket correctly, it won’t work as well as it’s meant to if and when you fall into the water. Any Personal Flotation Device (PFD) provides buoyancy that helps keep you afloat. This is measured in Newtons and for most PFDs starts at 50N. However, from 150N upwards it […] This article How to wear a lifejacket: Top tips for buying, fitting and maintaining your PFD appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

How to wear a lifejacket: Top tips for buying, fitting and maintaining your PFD

Wearing a lifejacket is one of the most important things you can do to increase safety afloat, writes Jon Mendez.

But unless you wear and maintain your lifejacket correctly, it won’t work as well as it’s meant to if and when you fall into the water.

Any Personal Flotation Device (PFD) provides buoyancy that helps keep you afloat. This is measured in Newtons and for most PFDs starts at 50N.

However, from 150N upwards it should be buoyant enough to turn you face up even when unconscious, greatly improving your chances of survival.

Article continues below…


Best lifejackets: 10 of the best lifesavers tested to the max

We tested 10 of the best lifejackets on the market in a full-open water test to see how quickly they

Boating gear: What kit do I need to get out on the water?


Here are three things you can do to improve the chances of your lifejacket doing what it’s meant to do when you need it most.

Choose a suitable lifejacket

Buoyancy aids are not the same as lifejackets as they only provide 50N of lift. However, they are great for any form of watersports where there is a good chance of falling in but still being able to swim, such as paddleboarding or kayaking.

Anything that involves you being more than an easy swim from shore needs a proper lifejacket with at least 150N of uplift, and in my view it really should have automatic inflation – the last thing you want to be worrying about is finding the inflation toggle.

If you are of a larger build or likely to be wearing thick clothing then 150N might not be enough so consider a lifejacket offering a higher level of buoyancy – full offshore ones go up to 275N.

Read YBW’s guide to the best lifejackets on the market today

Also think about the features you might need such as a strong clip-on point, crutch straps, a water-activated light if you ever go boating at night, a sprayhood if you risk being caught out in bad weather or a holder for a personal locator beacon if venturing offshore. All are available if your budget allows.

How to wear a lifejacket correctly

The most important thing is that you wear it in the first place, so be sure to find one that’s easy to put on, quick to adjust and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

While this sounds simple, some always seem to end up in a tangled mess, others push your head forward and cause neck pain, so I strongly recommend going to a well-stocked chandler and trying on the various shapes and sizes until you find the perfect fit.

For it to support you properly in the water, it needs adjusting to fit your build and the amount of clothing you are wearing – you can’t just adjust it once and forget about it – so make sure it’s easy to adjust.

The main strap needs to be tight enough for you to just be able to fit a clenched fist inside, while the crutch strap (an essential extra in my view) must not allow the jacket to ride up over your head.

Check and service your lifejacket

So many people just buy a lifejacket, wear it occasionally and chuck it in a locker without bothering to look after it.

A few simple steps can greatly increase a jacket’s lifespan and its ability to function correctly when you need it. If it gets damp, sponge off any salt with fresh water, hang it up and only stow it away when properly dry.

Take the time to read the instructions, open it up, discover what’s inside and how it’s activated, check the gas bottle is tightly screwed in place and the service dates have not expired.

For leisure boating it will normally require servicing every two years, but in the intervening years, I’d recommend opening it, inflating it manually (preferably with a pump to avoid moisture from your breath) and check that it stays inflated for 24 hours before repacking it. I spend a lot of time afloat so I unpack mine and check it all through at six-monthly intervals.

Watch Yachting Monthly’s in-depth guide to servicing a lifejacket

Do these three simple things and your lifejacket will give you years of reliable service and will be there to save you when you need it most.

How to use a lifejacket properly

lifejacket-or-bouyancy-aid

1. Buoyancy aid or lifejacket? – A standard 50N buoyancy aid such as this one is great for close-to-shore watersports where there’s a good chance of getting wet. They are easy to swim in and they don’t need re-arming after use. However, they are not the same as a lifejacket as they won’t keep you face up when unconscious.

wear-lifejacket-choosing-a-pfd

2. Choosing a lifejacket – When buying a lifejacket, make sure it’s easy to put on, comfortable to wear for long periods of time and that the buckle is simple for you to open and close as well as quick to adjust. Also check that the manual activation toggle is easy to find if the automatic trigger should fail.

wear-lifejacket-adjust-fit

3. Adjust to fit – If the jacket is too loose it won’t support you and may slip off. You should just be able to get a clenched fist inside the main strap. It will need to be readjusted if you add or remove a layer of clothing.

wear-lifejacket-crotch-straps

4. Use the crotch straps – In my view crotch straps are essential and they need to be pulled reasonably tight so that the jacket doesn’t ride up when you are in the water. In the worst case scenario the inflated bladder can even push your head under the water.

wear-lifejacket-no-crotch-straps

5. Without crotch straps – If you don’t use crotch straps then the jacket rides up and your body hangs below. If the main strap is also loose it can end up above your head and your airway becomes compromised.

wear-lifejacket-yearly-checks

6. Yearly checks – Ensure you check the date on the auto inflation mechanism and that the bottle is tight in the holder, then inflate it with a pump and repack, making sure the manual inflation toggle is available.

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This article How to wear a lifejacket: Top tips for buying, fitting and maintaining your PFD appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

Source : Mby More   

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