In June 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) titled Installation and Use of Engine Cut-Off Switches on Recreational Vessels USCG-2009-0206. Among other things, the ANPR requested public comments concerning a potential future proposed rule requiring operators of certain boats to wear kill switches (like lanyard kill switches that stop the engine if the boat operator is ejected). A few states have already enacted similar requirements.USCG’s request for public comment asked for data on current kill switch (engine cut-off switch) wear rates including kill switch wear rates in states like Alabama that require them. We have since searched fairly widely and found no public data on boat kill switch wear rates or estimates of boat kill switch wear rates.
In response to the Coast Guard’s request, and several other projects, we decided to attempt to estimate kill switch wear rates from previously collected boat accident data in USCG’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD).
BARD began collecting kill switch wear data on boat operators involved in reportable boat accidents in a separate data field in 2009. Prior to then, the redacted narrative (description of the accident) sometimes mentioned if one was used or not.
We limited our study to vessels identified as open motorboats in the accident reports. Read More→