Engine Cut-Off Switch Use Soon Mandatory

The US Coast Guard will be enforcing the use of an engine safety device to prevent dangers caused by runaway vessels.

Remember to wear the engine-cutoff lanyard while using the outboard engine on your dinghy.David Gillespie

Starting April 1, the US Coast Guard will begin to enforce the use of engine cut-off switches for anyone operating a motor vessel less than 26 feet. The move comes after well-publicized accidents in which injuries occurred when operators of small powerboats fell overboard and their boats continued out of control and struck other boats or people in the water, including the driver.

Typically, cut-off stitches are located close to the helm or mounted on the arm of an outboard, and they have a tether that needs to be attached to the driver. Should the operator go overboard or fall, the engine is turned off immediately. Wireless electronic cut off-switches are also available. Information about the law and how it applies to a vessel you will be operating can be found at uscgboating.org.