If you’re boat’s 26 feet or less and has 3 horsepower or greater, it’ll need an engine cutoff switch starting April 1st.

“We’re principally talking about open console boats, where the operator is at greater risk of falling overboard” says Captain Mick Scott with the U-S Coast Guard “I think this was a long time coming. Boat manufactures have designed these engine cutoff devices in many different shapes and styles over the last few years…and many boats are already utilizing them.”

He tells KRMS News the new will be enforced at the Federal level to start with, but the first year of the new law will be more about education than punitive enforcement “the first year is really about mariner education. If the Coast Guard comes alongside a vessel, during the routine course of our safe boating operation….and we see the engine cutoff switch isn’t being utilized, it’s really and education process.”

Captain Scott says Engine Cutoff Switches often come in the form of a lanyard attached to a captain’s wrist or life jacket.

If the captain is thrown from the vessel the switch is designed to pop out, stopping the engine until a captain qualified to run the vessel returns to the helm.