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So most of the boating world knows that PWCs can be really fun, right?
Sergeant Mike Burgamy
But there is a safe way and a not-safe way to operate a PWC. Now, do you talk to a lot of people about ignition safety switches [engine cut-off switches]? What do you tell them when you confront them?
Well, basically, we tell them, number one, the law requires you to have it on the vessel and attached to the person if it’s a personal watercraft. Number two is, the vessel’s not going to work unless the ignition safety switch is attached. It’s a failsafe mechanism to help the vessel work and to cut it off if it’s released.
Can you think of an injury that could have been prevented if somebody had worn an ignition safety switch?
Sure, yeah, I can. I had a female one time who was riding a personal watercraft without wearing the safety switch. She was cutting up on it, having fun like they’re designed to have. But she hit a wave—it threw her off to the side. The watercraft circled back around and came across real close to her hair. She had long hair. It got up underneath and in the impeller. So she actually had to pull her hair out to escape from underneath the vessel.
Well, it’s a good thing she got out. So, the idea is basically, you have to have it, you know, plugged in, but then you also have to make sure it’s attached to your body so when you fall off, it cuts the engine off.
That’s correct, yeah.