I was out testing with Steve Salmon, of 'Salmon Power Sports', who was going to be doing a race with me.
We were both wearing Simpson race helmets, these are quite pricey glass/Kevlar construction helmets with a good reputation, and get used in many forms of motorsport. These particular ones are normally used for drag racing, and have a relatively small appeture and very thick (.125") Polycarbonate visor, which are good qualities for avoiding the rather common problem of the visor caving in during a stuff, and doing a nice number on your face.
We had a bit of a 'moment' running through the Hurst race, we were running at about 65mph, when things went a bit wrong, and we basically did a 180 degree hook. For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of a full on 'hook', they are a very, very violent, unintended change in direction, and you really are just a passenger untill things come to a rest.
The boat hooked to the right, I was on the port side, so had nowhere to go but harder against the port side combing, but Steve had about 6 feet of cockpit to travel across once he was ripped from his seat (bending the steering wheel, and tearing a lump of glassfibre out of the bulkhead with his foot) and by the time he hit my side of the cockpit, he was moving pretty fast.
When it all came to a rest, Steve had a shattered collar bone, and was unconcious. He's hit my h-held GPS which had been gaffa taped to the dash with his body, and squashed it, and the batteries within 'flat'!
The Simpson helmet had hit the side of the cockpit (with the considerable weight of his fat head inside), and had a split from the top, right down one side, and into the rubber edging around the base.
The damage was surprising, and showed just how much energy is involved in a high speed accident.
When he came round, he didn't remember a thing, and suffered short term memory loss for a few days.
Clearly, had the helmet been any lesser strength, he could have had far worse head injuries.
The joke for ages was, I had a spill in the boat, and ended up with a 200lb Salmon on my lap!
I think helmets like the Gecko, and other polycarbonate types, are ok for lower speed boating, and are certainly light and comfortable, but not really intended for very high speed stuff, or racing.
If I were intending to go fast, and be pushing my luck as far as driving near, or above my limit, as one does when racing, the crash helmet would be the last thing I would attempt to save money on.
Your head is quite an important part of your body, and well worth protecting. (unless your name is Mantoss, my advice to him would be, when racing, wear one of those shower caps you get free in hotel rooms)