A new Federal law that began on April 1 will now require boats under 26 feet to have an engine cut-off switch with an engine cut-off lanyard on all Federally regulated waters including the Great Lakes. The cut-off or kill switch is intended to stop run away boats if the operator is suddenly not able to control and steer the boat.

The new law does apply to boats made before 2020 that do not already come equipped with a cut off switch. Most modern boats do have this switch installed in the boat and all boats manufactured since 2020 come with this switch. Plus, their is now a wireless kill switch that is available and is approved for use.

According to the Coast Guard the Duluth News Tribune reported:

Each year, the Coast Guard receives reports of recreational vessel operators who fall or are suddenly and unexpectedly thrown out of their boat. These events have led to injuries and deaths. During these incidents, the boat continues to operate with no one in control of the vessel, leaving the operator stranded in the water as the boat continues on course, or the boat begins to circle the person in the water eventually striking them, often with the propeller.

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The Coast Guard believes that many boats have this particular switch already on their boats but now with this new law boat operators will be held accountable to use it and the coast guard will be the ones monitoring these water ways to make sure it is being used.

I know that every jet ski I have ever ridden has the lanyard kill switch and to me it absolutely makes sense that something the size of a boat have the same safety net. For more information on the engine cut off switch click here.

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