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Branson preps for new law requiring smaller boats to use engine cut-off switch link

Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - If you operate a recreational boat less than 26 feet long, you will now be required to use engine cut-off switch links.

This law was passed by the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure boaters are safe if thrown overboard.

Indian Point Dive Center owner David Holmes says most smaller boats, like a pontoon, have a kill switch attached to a lanyard that Velcros to boaters’ wrists.

”If you become incapacitated or thrown off the vessel and the lanyard gets pulled, it kills the engine,” Holmes said.

Holmes said this is important because most boats, like a car, will not stop even if the captain isn’t operating them.

“It’ll just kind of do circles around, but the engine doesn’t stop. So the kill switch stops the engine, it shuts everything down, keeps the boat from running without anyone captaining it,” Holmes said.

He said some boaters may be skeptical of the new law because they think they are already a safe driver.

“For people like that, I would just say, you might be the safest boater out on the water, but all it takes is somebody else hitting you knocking you unconscious or knocking you out of your vessel, and now you’ve got a runaway vessel,” Holmes said.

Boat owner, Jeff Hodges said he thinks the new law could save many lives.

”I think it’s a good idea for everybody to wear their kill switches, especially on faster boats,” Hodges said.

Hodges said he was used to work for the Western Taney County Fire Rescue doing water rescues.

”I’ve pulled a lot of bodies out of this lake because they were not wearing their safety devices,” Hodges said.

“Just come out have fun do it safely and you know it’s not that big of a deal it’s really just a bracelet that you wear, I don’t think people are going to have a really hard time with it,” Holmes said.

The law says, the only time the kill switch links are not required is during docking, trailering, trolling and operating in no-wake zones.

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