Boat engine cutoff switch law in effect

There are new engine cutoff device wear requirements for recreational boat operators as part of the January 1, 2021, passage of National Defense Authorization Act that included a U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization.

These devices, commonly referred to as engine cutoff switches (ECOS), are designed to prevent a boat-strike injury if an operator is accidentally ejected overboard while underway.

Engine cutoff devices can be located at the helm of the boat or on the tiller or body of an outboard engine and typically connect a boat’s operator to the cutoff switch with a lanyard. Some ECOS devices eliminate the lanyard and rely on wireless proximity devices to shut down an engine if the operator goes overboard.

Effective April 1, the new law requires a vessel operator to use either a helm or outboard lanyard or wireless ECOS on certain vessels less than 26 feet when ….

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