|When we're talking about ultrafast performance boats, safety often
becomes the last thing one thinks about. It's true that nothing is
100% safe, but when operating a boat at over 100 mph, it sure makes
things easier and more fun if you can make them as safe as
possible. There's a few "must have" when it comes to
operating your ultra performance boat.
Can you imagine driving your car with one hand on the wheel and one hand
on the throttle? You shouldn't do that with your boat either.
It's even more evident when you compare driving a car over a relatively
flat surface like a road versus driving your boat over the constantly
changing surface of the water. We would laugh if we had to drive a
car at 50 mph over a washboardy dirt road with one hand, yet I've seen
people drive boats at over 90 mph with one hand - it's flat out
stupid! There's no excuse to not have both hands on the wheel at
ALL TIMES when you are travelling at those speeds in a boat. One
of the first foot throttles was designed by Ray Nydahl in 1968.
Since then, other brands have come in and basically copied the original
design. This is a definite must in today's hi-perf boat.
Foot throttles start around $60 and go up from there.
Trim in the Wheel:
In order to keep both hands on the steering wheel, you need to move your
trim buttons from the hand throttle to your steering wheel. Some
people prefer the buttons on the floor with the ability to use them with
your foot, but I've seen more than one person accidently rest their foot
on the buttons with disastrous results. There are several
reasonably priced trim systems on the market and they can be used
whether or not you have hydraulic steering or standard cable
steering. Teleflex introduced the ProTrim in 1996. This unit
resembles a turn signal. The ProTrim system can be used on all
types of steering systems including hydraulic and has a very clean
appearance and works great.
Life Vests and Helmets:
A proper fitting and manufactured life vest and helmet is critical when
stretching you boat out to its triple digit limits. Any racing
organization requires a Lifeline style racing vest and a Snell approved
helmet. There are several different models available.
Security Racing Product as well as Lifeline are the two largest racing
vest manufacturers, but there are also several mainstream life vest
manufacturers offering 100 mph impact life vests as well for much lower
prices. A Race vest will set you back about 300-400 dollars, while
a 100 mph impact vest will run you in the 60-80 dollar range.
Helmets are offered in obviously thousands of models and styles.
Full face helmets have the advantage of protecting the lower face and
jaw from impact, but also carry with them the added"bucketing"
effect when you hit the water. These helmets can result in added
neck injury because of their added weight and surface areas when they
hit the water. There is a definite trade-off. I personally
use a full face and it has come in handy on more than one occasion as
I've broken two of them on steering wheels when I've wrecked the boat.
The design you like is a personal preference, but no matter what style
you choose, be sure it is Snell approved and not just DOT approved.
Baker Marine Support, Antioch, IL. www.scaryfast.com