Under a new federal law effective April 1, 2021, those piloting boats less than 26 feet in length are required to use their engine cut-off switches (ECOS) if equipped when the vessel is underway. That means wearing a lanyard—aka ECOS link—while at the wheel. (Formerly referred to as, “kill switches,” the term engine cut-off switch, or ECOS, is the preferred nomenclature, whether referring to engine-cut-off switches operated by a physical lanyard or any of several electronic solutions.)
Specifically, Section 8316 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 passed by Congress requires individuals operating recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length with an engine capable of 115 pounds of static thrust (3 hp) or more to use ECOS links. Situations in which an ECOS link would not be required include docking, launching and loading on a trailer, trolling and operating in no-wake zones.
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