OLAS Guardian: The wireless kill switch that is never forgotten
We all know that fatal accidents can occur due to simply forgetting to attach a kill cord. Every powerboat and RIB owner has left themselves unattached at some stage, even for a fleeting moment. Having to detach and reattach so often throughout any usual excursion makes it so easily done and this is all it takes to end up with an unmanned boat on the loose. Even for the most seasoned boaters keeping to their protocols religiously, just one lapse of concentration and an untimely slip could lead to disaster, which is why the wireless option is the must-have piece of safety equipment this season.
With the technology we have available today, killswitch cords were always going to become updated and wireless for the boating application. As with any new boating equipment, the options never start cheap but now a British company has provided an affordable, plain sailing solution, known as the OLAS Guardian.
Product Manager for Exposure Lights, Tom Harrop explains, “OLAS Guardian is a practical tool for everyone on board. As well as being free to move around onboard, if you and any of your passengers who are tagged go overboard the engine will stop in an instant.”
The OLAS Guardian consists of a waterproof receiver that is wired into the boats existing kill switch system, a panel-mounted control switch for the helm and a wrist tag transmitter that the skipper wears. These wearable transmitters can be used for up to 15 crew members with a range of around 50ft, allowing the use for larger vessels. Once these wearable tags are submerged or separated by distance, this will cut the engine and trigger the inbuilt alarm. After 5 seconds the engine can be restarted to perform a rescue.
It works by using the latest wireless technology to log and track the personal OLAS transmitters. Each time the ignition is switched on, the system scans the area and automatically connects all nearby tags. An app is also available that allows tag editing with additional safety features but isn’t essential to the core kill cord function.
Jonny Boys, MD of Ballistic RIBs - “We see the OLAS Guardian as a significant step forwards in improving powerboating safety, in particular for commercial users. Used in the right circumstances it can remove the element of human error which can be so easily made.”
If anyone needs to head back ashore or go for a swim, the system can be paused by pressing the panel-mounted button or on the OLAS app home screen. Once all the crew are back in range and ready to go, the skipper can see that everyone has been re-logged automatically via the light and sound indicator on the helm or on the app. There are also two pre-set options allowing the skipper to decide which tags act as a kill cord or just trigger the MOB alarm giving more flexibility to how the system can be used at sea.
In the circumstance, a solo RIB driver goes overboard, the OLAS app can send an automatic SMS message with the location and time of the incident to the driver’s emergency number. This function can work with onboard wifi or a minimum of a 2G network.
What makes the OLAS Guardian substantially more affordable than the rest of the market is that it is designed to hop-on and run alongside the existing kill switch system even though it can fully operate on its own. Unlike other wireless kill switch systems that require replacing the entire onboard system, you still have your kill cord in place in the event you forget to bring your tag transmitter with you.
The Guardian costs just £230 and extra tags for the family or four-legged crew members can be bought for just £59 or a four-pack for £195.