New US requirement to take effect next year

Small boats in the US will soon be required to have an engine cutoff switch under provisions contained in the US Coast Guard budget authorisation act approved this week by Congress.

The Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 contains, among other things, a new requirement that “manufacturers, distributors and dealers install engine cutoff switches on new boats less than 26ft overall in length and capable of developing 115 pounds or more of static thrust.”

The engine cutoff switch provision “includes, but is not limited to, inboard engines, outboard motors and sterndrive engines.”

Switches also need to meet American Boat and Yacht Council Standards.

BoatUS, a private membership group which advocates for recreational boaters at the national level, applauded the new Coast Guard requirement in a statement.

“Cutoff switches save lives,” said BoatUS manager of government affairs David Kennedy.

The new requirement takes effect next year.