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Doyle Sails 2020 - Built for Adventure 728x90 TOP

8 Top Tips and a new technology for safe boating afloat

by Liz Rushall 28 Aug 2020 07:03 PDT
OLAS Guardian tag © Exposure

Here's how a simple wrist band can stop your boat

The recent boom in boating across the UK, since lockdown was eased, is fantastic to see. It feels like boating is back to levels from 20 years ago.

Brokers have sold out of boats, anchorages and beaches are crowded, and berthing masters reporting being at full capacity until September. There's no doubt the 'staycation' effect has led to people rediscovering the joys of boats and watersports as a fantastic, healthy, outdoor activity.

Yet with more people getting in and on the water, your responsibility for ensuring the safety of your boat, crew and other boaters, is ever more essential. The RNLI and safety organisations have clearly had a challenging time. It remains everyone's responsibility to be able to self-recover where possible, to reduce stress on the rescue services and the NHS.

Now, there's a simple piece of wearable new technology, the OLAS Guardian, that helps make boating safety easier, that sits alongside the traditional safety tips and processes.

Whether you are driving a safety boat, squeezing the kids and watersports toys into a powerboat, or out cruising in your yacht this new safety device offers many helpful additions to your boating safety.

Here's our top tips to keeping safe afloat and how a simple wrist band can stop your boat if anyone falls overboard!

Find out how 'virtually' tagging your crew to your boat (Tip #8), will immediately trigger your engine's kill switch should any of them go in the water.

8 Top Tips for happy days & keeping safe afloat

#1 Lifejackets

  • These only work when they are worn!
  • Remember the situation can change rapidly when afloat, even when it's calm
#2 Safe seating
  • Ensure everyone has a safe seat and can move around safely
  • Remember - 'one hand for the boat'
  • In a powerboat, don't let people dangle their feet over the bow, in case the boat has to stop sharply
#3 Communication
  • Keep your crew and guests informed
  • Warn them about manoeuvres or rough water
  • If you have guests unfamiliar with boats, prepare them for what's happening
#4 Speed
  • Match your boat speed to the conditions - under sail or power
  • Slow down for wash and steer around waves for a smooth passage
  • Be mindful of your wash on other boaters
#5 Keep a good look out
  • Anticipate other boaters may be distracted, especially in busy waters
  • Know the rules of the road and be ready to keep clear
#6 Know your limits
  • Plan ahead, check the weather and tides and have a Plan B
  • Reduce sail or power ahead of time - wind against tide can be rough
  • Stay within the limits of your experience and ability
#7 Always wear your kill cord
  • If you are using an outboard - this one is essential
  • It will stop the engine if the driver moves away from the helm
  • Remember to re-attach it each time you remove it
#8 Tag your crew to the boat with a wireless kill switch

Now, you can ensure everyone on board your boat is effectively wearing a virtual kill switch. It works wherever they are on the ocean - inshore or offshore - using bluetooth technologies combined with GPS.

The OLAS Guardian from Exposure Lights is a wireless kill switch device, which you wear as wrist band. The tags wirelessly connect everyone on board to the Guardian hub, a small unit and switch which is easily fitted on your boat.

With your entire crew wearing an OLAS tag, the engine stops within two seconds if any one of them goes overboard. The 'virtual' connection is broken, the boat stops and a piercing alarm goes off.

Man-overboard (MOB) incidents when sailing, motor-sailing or power boating can happen easily - from a bad wave, an accidental slip or manoeuvre. A MOB may not be instantly noticed if you are down below, looking away or it is dark.

There are many boats with narrow side gangways to reach the foredeck that are not always in full view. Skippers driving from inside a cabin or fly bridge often cannot see passengers on the aft deck.

The OLAS Guardian is easy and discreet to fit. It is designed to connect to the existing onboard kill switch system and in the case of an outboard engine, it can be used alongside a physical kill cord.

It enhances safety on board by tagging and monitoring all crew, including the dog, and not just the helmsman.

It will even prompt you to connect up, emitting a loud audible reminder if you arrive at the boat and have forgotten to tag in or switch your tag on. That's something a physical kill cord or safety tether simply can't do!

There are always times when as a helm you need to move to do the basics, such as pull in fenders, drop marks, anchors or pull in a fishing line. Especially, if driving a powerboat or safety boat, wearing an OLAS Guardian reduces the risk of accidently forgetting to re-connect a physical wire kill-cord. It means you are still virtually tethered, along with any passengers on board.

In a MOB incident where the OLAS Guardian has stopped the boat, you can restart the engine and recover your MOB after a 5 second pause. Using the optional OLAS App on your phone, and you will automatically receive position information on the exact location where the MOB went in and course to steer back there.

The OLAS Guardian works with inboard engines as well as outboards. You can connect the helmsman/driver and up to 14 crew including the dog and use it on boats up to 50' long.

A handy feature is the Tags for the crew can be set to just trigger the alarm and without stopping the engine, enabling skippers to perform a faster recovery.

OLAS Guardian - Once fitted, never forgotten


  • OLAS Guardian £229 inc. VAT (€229; US$261 ex VAT)
  • Additional pack of 4 four OLAS tags £195.00 inc VAT (€195; US$222 ex VAT)

Find out more at

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