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New law requiring use of engine cut-off switches goes into effect in April

(KNOE)
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 10:03 AM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 10:06 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Starting April 1, the U.S. Coast Guard will begin implementing a law passed by Congress requiring operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length to use an engine cut-off switch and associated ECOS link.

The Coast Guard says each year they get reports of recreational vessel operators who fall off or are suddenly and unexpectedly thrown out of their boat and are hurt or killed.

“During these incidents the boat continues to operate with no one in control of the vessel, leaving the operator stranded in the water as the boat continues on course, or the boat begins to circle the person in the water eventually striking them, often with the propeller,” wrote the Coast Guard in a press release.

According to data from a 2019 Coast Guard report, 11 people were killed in eight deadly crashes, while seven people were hurt in three crashes in Alaska. The report also states three crashes involved property damage that racked up $60,5000.

The Coast Guard encourages the public to visit their website for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations.

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