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Most powerboats and PWCs come equipped by the manufacturer with an emergency ignition safety switch. This safety device can shut off the engine if the operator falls off the PWC or out of the powerboat, or is otherwise thrown from the proper operating position.

PWC lanyard attached to engine shut-off switch
  • A lanyard connects the safety switch to the operator's wrist or PFD. When the lanyard is pulled from the switch, the engine shuts off.
  • If a PWC has an ignition safety switch, most states require the operator to attach the lanyard. However, even if attaching the lanyard is not required by law, many lives could be saved by doing so. If your powerboat or PWC does not have an ignition safety switch, you should have one installed.
  • Your PWC may have a self-circling feature. If the operator is thrown from the PWC, the engine idles while the PWC slowly circles so that the operator can reboard. Be sure the idle speed is set correctly.