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Federal law passed that requires kill switch usage on all vessels 26ft and less with helms not in a cabin, must be used while on plane and operating boat other than low speed operations, trailering, docking etc. I understand the intent of the law but come on, I suppose it will be much like the seat belt law. Can’t pull you over for it but can cite you once they have you stopped. What about vessels that do not currently have a cutoff switch at the helm???
 

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You can buy cut off switches at marine stores or on line . Some have instructions as to what color wires to connect to a specific outboard or inboard brand and some don't. If you are going to install it yourself, I suggest buying one with instructions . They cost between $13- $32 . You can also have a marine mechanic install one.
 

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Federal law passed that requires kill switch usage on all vessels 26ft and less with helms not in a cabin, must be used while on plane and operating boat other than low speed operations, trailering, docking etc. I understand the intent of the law but come on, I suppose it will be much like the seat belt law. Can’t pull you over for it but can cite you once they have you stopped. What about vessels that do not currently have a cutoff switch at the helm???
By law, if your boat was built before 2020 (I believe that date is correct) and the boat does not have a switch, you are not required to install one.
 

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If you look up Coast Guard kill switch requirement, you will find different answers from different authors.Some say all vessels under 26 ft. except those that have enclosed helms. Some say according to the law,some exceptions apply too open boats. such as , if a vessel does not have one or if the vessel was built before jan.1 2020 . I hope they get this cleared up soon . The fines are 1st. $100 .2nd. $300 . 3rd.$500 .
 

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Lots of debate about kill switches and usage. I'll give a little experience I had and why I use one. Everyone needs to make their own decision. But the impact could go beyond you, if your vessel gets way from you. I was crabbing about 10 years ago with my daughter. My outboard cut out, I was having issue getting started. I increased throttle slightly to get it started. When it started it kicked into gear some how. Boat lerched forward and tosses me overboard. My instincts kicks in and I grab side of boat as I am going over. Motor still running above idle speed. I hold onto the boat as I am close to Motor and spinning prop. My weight is pulling boat under and taking on water. I don't want to release think I would be pulled into prop. My daughter is looking at me in shock and disbelief. I yelling for her to stop engine. She is frozen. I was able to reach kill switch lanyard and pull to cut engine. It happens quickly. Have them use them, don't have one look to install. You are not the only one in danger in a mishap. Boat could hit another boat, people in the water and so on. By the way that outboard is a 1989 model that is factory equipped with kill switch. Amazing the amount of debate over a item that cost so little but has such value in saving injury and lives.
 

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I’m not doubting the safety kill switch, believe your story and I’m glad you are ok. Sounds like you had a problem with your neutral safety switch. Boat should of never started in gear. Might want to get that checked out.
 

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As Capt. Nick helpfully posted in another thread, this applies only to boats 26ft and under manufactured after a certain point in 2020. So this particular regulation does not apply to the vast majority of current boat owners.

Regarding the police searching for this particular violation, I doubt it's likely to be a focus of their limited law enforcement resources. Where it may come into play, however, is when someone causes an accident in a 2020 or later boat model and the accident is determined to have been caused/exacerbated by the operator's failure to wear a cut-off switch (e.g. - operator has a heart attack, operator slips and falls, operator hits a wake and is knocked from the helm, etc.). For that matter, in a civil lawsuit, an operator's failure to wear a cut-off switch -- if the boat was equipped with one -- could still be used as evidence of negligence regardless of the model year of the boat. People who might bring such a lawsuit include other boat owners, their passengers, swimmers, or your own passengers -- any of whom could allege that the personal injuries and/or property damage they suffered could have been avoided had you worn your cut-off switch.
 

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I was out on the Potomac yesterday and I went past 3 coast guard boats and none of them stopped me to check for a kill switch while I was on plane. I have one but the way they mounted my throttle assembly vertical i stead of horizantal, it won't work. The way I read it, it is for boats built after Jan 2020 any way.......... Gary
 

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I’m not doubting the safety kill switch, believe your story and I’m glad you are ok. Sounds like you had a problem with your neutral safety switch. Boat should of never started in gear. Might want to get that checked out.
Both issue have been resolved. The point is, never know when something will happen. Small item can save lives or from injury. Unlike a car, boats do not just stop excelerating without manual manipulation.
 

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As Capt. Nick helpfully posted in another thread, this applies only to boats 26ft and under manufactured after a certain point in 2020. So this particular regulation does not apply to the vast majority of current boat owners.
This regulation applies to ALL BOATS THAT HAVE a kill switch no matter whether it is required to have one or not. Seems pretty simple to me.
If the boat has a switch it must be used during the specified times. If it is manufactured after 1/1/2020, it must have one, and it must be used.

If the main helm is inside an "enclosed cabin" you are exempt.

Here is how the law reads concerning use -

(b) Use Requirement.--
``(1) In general.--An individual operating a covered recreational vessel shall use an engine cut-off switch link while operating on plane or above displacement speed.
``(2) Exceptions.--The requirement under paragraph (1) shall not apply if--
``(A) the main helm of the covered vessel is installed within an enclosed cabin; or
``(B) the vessel does not have an engine cut-off switch and is not required to have one under

subsection (a).''.

Here are the possibilities for requirements:

Boat manufacturer 1/1/2020 or after -
With a kill switch - you must use it
Kill switch missing - you must re-install one and use it

Boats manufactured prior to 1/1/2020
With a kill switch - you must use it
Without a kill switch - no action needed.
 

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I was out yesterday checking out my new trolling motor. My boat is a Striper 23' Walk Around cabin with a hard top. On the way back into the marina, I was up on plane and the Coast Guard stopped me for a safety inspection. I passed my inspection, I forgot all about the new rule and was never asked if I was using my kill switch. I had heard about the rule and really wished I would have remembered to ask the question from the gentleman who are going to be enforcing it.
 
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