Boatbuilders have been required to install engine kill switches since 2018, but a new law requires boaters to use them.
The switch is designed to stop the engine of an inboard, I/O or outboard powered boat instantly in the event an operator is accidentally removed from the controls. Some are built into the throttle controls, and some are mounted separately. Most include a lanyard fork which holds a plunger of the switch in position to allow engine operation. A lanyard extends from the fork and is connected to the operator. Should the operator fall overboard or move away from the controls, the fork is pulled free, releasing the plunger and stopping the engine.
“On April 1, 2021 a new federal law goes into effect that requires the operator of a boat with an installed Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) to use the ECOS link. The link is usually a coiled bungee cord lanyard clipped onto the operator’s person, Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or clothing and the other end attached to the cut-off switch, but there are plenty of variations on the market, including electronic wireless devices. The law applies on all “Navigable Waters of the US”.”