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Boating Basics

Engine Cut-Off Switches


Most PWC and powerboats come equipped by the manufacturer with an important device called an emergency engine cut-off switch. This is a safety device that is designed to shut off the engine if the operator is thrown from the proper operating position.

A lanyard is attached to the safety switch and the operator’s wrist or PFD. The safety switch shuts off the engine if the operator falls off the PWC or out of the powerboat. If your vessel does not come equipped with an engine cut-off switch, you should have one installed.

It is illegal to ride your PWC without attaching the lanyard properly between the switch and yourself.

If your PWC does not have an engine cut-off switch…

PWC without engine cut-off switches should be designed to encircle the operator if he or she falls off. The engine will run at idle speed while the PWC slowly circles so that the operator can board as it circles. Be sure that the idle speed is always set correctly.

Ignition Safety Switch
Always wear your lanyard when operating a PWC.