Kill Switch / Engine Cut-Off Switch Proposed Rulemaking Comments Sought by USCG

Kill Switch Lanyard

Lanyard photo courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Regulations) in the Federal Register on June 8, 2011. The proposal is titled, Installation and Use of Engine Cut-Off Switches on Recreational Vessels.

As part of the proposal, the Coast Guard also published a Preventable Fatalities and Injuries Report listing boating accidents from 2002 through 2006 in which the use of an Engine Cut-Off Switch / Kill Switch would have likely prevented the fatalities or injuries resulting from an operator falling overboard or otherwise being ejected.

The USCG proposal includes a Background Section with a history of the Coast Guard’s efforts to reduce vessel and propeller strikes since about 1990.

While the Coast Guard engine cut-off proposal seeks input on almost countless points, the two primary kill-switch issues being debated are:

  • Should all new recreational powerboats less than 26 feet powered by 3 or more horsepower be required to have an Emergency Engine Cut Off Switch / Kill Switch?
  • Should all operators of boats less than 26 feet powered by 3 or more horsepower be required to use an Emergency Engine Cut Off Switch / Kill Switch if the vessel has one?

USCG’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking does recognize some of the wireless lanyards on the market, like MariTech’s Virtual Lifeline, and provides a path for their use.

We submitted our public comments on August 29, 2011 and posted them online the next day.

We encourage everybody to read the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, then send in their public comments on the proposed Engine Cut-Off Switch rule to USCG. Just visit the first link in this post to write and send in your comments. The Kill Switch / Engine Cut-Off Switch proposed rule Public Comment Period ends September 6, 2011.

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