Improving The Safety Of Escort Boats
Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.
The U.S. Coast Guard enacted a new law that requires use of engine cut-off switches.
Operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet (7.9 meters) in length will be required to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL) as of April 1st 2021, as the U.S. Coast Guard implements a law passed by Congress.
The ECOS and ECOSL prevent runaway vessels and the threats they pose. The ECOSL attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is displaced from the helm. The ECOSL is usually a lanyard-style cord that attaches to an ECOS either in close proximity to the helm or on the outboard motor itself if the vessel is operated by a tiller. When enough tension is applied, the ECOSL disengages from the ECOS and the motor is automatically shut down. Wireless ECOS have recently been developed and are also approved for use. These devices use an electronic “fob” that is carried by the operator and senses when it is submerged in water, activating the ECOS and turning the engine off. Wireless devices are available on the aftermarket and are beginning to become available as manufacturer-installed options.
For more information, read the U.S. Coast Guard press release here.