It only takes a second for something to go wrong when operating a powerboat. Whether taking too sharp of a turn, hitting a wave or wake, running into a submerged object, or steering failure, there are significant reasons to keep you and other boaters safe by always wearing an engine cut-off switch.
An engine cut-off switch (ECOS) works by cutting power to the engine when the captain, or even passengers, go overboard. There are many different options when deciding what ECOS works best for your style of boating. You can use a wireless system or the classic lanyard. The wireless device offers different options such as a key fob or wristbands for all passengers. A wireless ECOS can sound alarms, track the boat location, track the overboard passenger, and even call search and rescue assets in emergency situations. The lanyard attaches the boat operator to the powerboat’s installed ECOS. When the lanyard is disconnected to the power, it will cut the engine off.
It is important to ALWAYS use an ECOS because if the boat operator or a passenger falls overboard, they can be struck by a boat propeller. Without an operator, the boat could hit other boaters, damage the boat, or continue circling and strike the passenger(s) who went overboard.
But, there’s a chance you already have an ECOS on your powerboat. As of April 1, 2021, all individuals operating vessels required to have an ECOS must be using them. The one exception is if the main helm is within an enclosed cabin, or the vessel does not have or is not required to have an ECOS. Always check the boating laws for your state before hitting the water.
- Always wear a life jacket when on or near the water
- Take a boating safety class
- File a float plan
- Double check your equipment
- Check the weather forecast and stay alert when on the water
- Never boat under the influence
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Use your ECOS
- Have fun!
To learn more about ECOS, check out our friends at GetConnectedBoating.com. There are free resources including videos, print ads, social media images, FAQ, and more!