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US Coast Guard Regulation
#1
This is a new law I have been following since mid January. It was posted up on another forum but since its forbidden JUJU to use a link to that forum I am adding official links of US Coast Guard. The thread was started by a coast guard member about a recent law passed that covered boats up to 26' operators must wear the engine kill lanyard with boats capable of producing 115lbs static thrust. There is near 300 posts which one can only imagine complaints & gripes but at the same note very legitimate questions that coast guard member responded. I know this will be moved but decided to put it in the general board here as it is a safety issue.

Post by US Coast Guard member-There was recent law passed that will require the wearing of an engine cut-off switch (ECOS). Outreach on the importance of the ECOS and this new requirement is important. Here is the text of the law, and as always, I'll keep you posted as we go along.

SEC. 8316. ENGINE CUT-OFF SWITCHES; USE REQUIREMENT.

(a) In General.--Section 4312 of title 46, United States Code, is

amended--

(1) by redesignating subsections (b), ©, and (d) as

subsections ©, (d), and (e), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

``(b) Use Requirement.--

``(1) In general.--An individual operating a covered

recreational vessel shall use an engine cut-off switch link while

operating on plane or above displacement speed.

``(2) Exceptions.--The requirement under paragraph (1) shall

not apply if--

``(A) the main helm of the covered vessel is installed

within an enclosed cabin; or

``(B) the vessel does not have an engine cut-off switch and

is not required to have one under subsection (a).''.

(b) Civil Penalty.--Section 4311 of title 46, United States Code,

is amended by--

(1) redesignating subsections ©, (d), (e), (f), and (g) as

subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), and (h), respectively; and

(2) inserting after subsection (b) the following:

``© A person violating section 4312(b) of this title is liable to

the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than--

``(1) $100 for the first offense;

``(2) $250 for the second offense; and

``(3) $500 for any subsequent offense.''.

© Effective Date.--The amendments made in subsections (a) and (b)

shall take effect 90 days after the date of the enactment of this

section, unless the Commandant, prior to the date that is 90 days after

the date of the enactment of this section, determines that the use

requirement enacted in subsection (a) would not promote recreational

boating safety.


Coast Guard Announces New Law Requiring Use of Engine Cut-off Switches | Coast Guard News

Engine/Propulsion Cut-Off Devices (uscgboating.org)
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Harrisville UT
2000 7.3L F250 Superduty  '07 Columbia 2018 Fisherman XL Raymarine Element 9HV 4 Electric Walker Downriggers Uniden Solara VHF
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#2
`(A) the main helm of the covered vessel is installed

within an enclosed cabin;


What constitutes a enclosed cabin? is my semi hard top welded aluminum boat considered enclosed or a boat  with a bimini top and side curtains enclosed?
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#3
My new boat has one, and I intend to ALWAYS use it.
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#4
Without an official USCG member to answer question interpretation leaves most wondering. This regulation section covers most of us but is clear as mud.

'Section 8316 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 requires individuals operating covered recreational vessels (less than 26 feet in length, with an engine capable of 115 lbs. of static thrust; 3 HP or more) to use ECOS “links.” Using the ECOSL is required only when the primary helm is not within an enclosed cabin, and when the boat is operating on plane or above displacement speed. Common situations where ECOSL use would not be required include docking/trailering, trolling and operating in no-wake zones.'
[Image: P3100003.jpg]
Harrisville UT
2000 7.3L F250 Superduty  '07 Columbia 2018 Fisherman XL Raymarine Element 9HV 4 Electric Walker Downriggers Uniden Solara VHF
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#5
And the confusion starts with :

``(1) In general.--An individual operating a covered

recreational vessel shall use an engine cut-off switch link while

operating on plane or above displacement speed.


Does this mean "covered" as enclosed, or does this mean "covered" as in under the authority of this law???

I called my attorneys, the noted firm of Dewy, Cheatem, and Howe, to get answers, but they have not responded yet. Angel

When I lived in Washington State they passed a law that all boat operators get Coast Guard certified.  It was painful but free except for the final application for the certification, which was not that expensive.

https://www.boatus.org/ has a direct link to the free course.

I have mixed feelings about the law.  First, I have chased down a run-a-way boat when the operator fell out, but that was well below the 115 HP they call for.  Personally I have never heard of anyone being ejected from a moving boat at displacement or plane speed before, unless they were wave hopping and I can't catch them.  I don't believe in making laws to stop the one of a kind accidents, I believe in making laws that stop the majority of the problems.  2nd, considering Utah does not enforce most of the Coast Guard rules now, does this even matter to us?

The CG has specific rules for how close you can be to other boats, and when and how to pass or approach a boat, how to sound your passing, how to ........  Heck, I am certified and considering no one else used it in any State I have lived in I have forgotten most of it now anyway.

PERHAPS, and I do mean perhaps, if Utah required all operators to be CG certified, ad IF, and I DO MEAN IF, they enforced it, then the Power Squadrons might respect the other boat users in the State.

For now, it looks to me like another "feel good" law that protects the people that already don't need to be protected and make the proponents "feel good" about trying to protect the rest.

JMHO Wink
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#6
The "covered" in the excerpt certainly refers to vessels under the jurisdiction of this law. The definition of which vessels are covered is not quoted, however. And it does NOT say 115 horsepower. It says 115 POUNDS OF THRUST. That would include some fairly small outboards.

You are also allowed to remove the kill cord (my term) if you are below planing speed, such as trolling or while docking or undocking. That allows you to leave the helm to attach lines or bumpers, etc.
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#7
You are correct of course. My legal team has not responded though. LOL

The 115 pound thrust is one I misread, and you are correct, my electric bow has 80 pounds of thrust, so it would not take much.

Still, my other points remain, does this law actually help anyone and will it even be enforced?

The boat I chased down had an angler reaching out of his boat to get the downrigger wire when a small wave caused him to loose balance. As we age, and I meet that requirement, our balance changes and ..................... OK, you get the point.

My old motor does have the kill switch and I usually do use it. I have had times when I could not figure out why the motor would not start and realised it was because the kill switch cord was still attached to my life jacket and I had forgot to disconnect it. ROFLOL

So, how many of you know someone, or heard of someone, that has fallen out of a boat when they were operating it on plane speed? I think we can all think of times at lower speeds, trolling speeds, but at faster speeds?

Rocky, can you explain the "real" intent of this law? I admit I am still very Confused.
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#8
There are several YouTube videos of bass boat accidents where one or more people were violently thrown from the boat at speed. I fully admit that tournament bass boats are ludicrously overpowered and dangerously fast (nearing 80 mph) but the fact remains that boats are fairly unstable vehicles and waves are unpredictable. As are hidden objects under the surface.

It is fairly common to see boats make abrupt gyrations, and the higher the speed the more violent the gybe. Even if you were not thrown out of the boat, it would be far better to have the engine quit with you sprawled somewhere away from the controls. I believe that is the intent of the law.
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#9
Digging a little deeper (as I am prone to do  Big Grin), I found that there are some caveats to this new law.  The first caveat is this: It only applies to operators of recreational boats less than 26’ in length that have an Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) installed.  And the law specifies that the ECOS is only required to be installed on covered boats that are manufactured on or after January 2020.

Caveat #2: If your boat was built prior to January 2020, and doesn't have an ECOS or it isn't working, there is no requirement for you to install one or maintain it in a working condition.  But if there is an ECOS installed and it is in working order, then you are required to use it.

Caveat #3: The term "covered recreational vessel" means a recreational vessel that is (A) less than 26 feet overall in length; and (B) capable of developing 115 pounds or more of static thrust (which equates to about 3 horsepower).  The term has noting to do with having any kind of top on the boat.

Caveat #4: The law does not require the use of an ECOS for any vessel equal to or greater than 26-feet in length, regardless of when the vessel was manufactured.

Caveat #5: If the boats’ primary helm is inside an enclosed cabin it is not required to have an ECOS.  I'm fairly certain that a removable canvas/plastic covering that fully encloses the primary helm area doesn't meet the definition of an 'enclosed cabin.'  But, please, feel free to test that for yourself.   Big Grin

As mentioned above, enforcement will be problematic.  In a lot of boats, the gunnels are high enough that the ECOS cannot be observed from outside the boat, and when the boat is not on plane (as when pulled over by an LEO) it can be detached.  So there really isn't any way an LEO would know if the ECOS was attached to you or not with the boat on plane and you detached it after you cut the engine speed to wakeless at the command of the LEO.


If you want to verify all of the above, you can find all this information at this link: ENGINE/PROPULSION CUT-OFF DEVICES FAQ
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
"Free men do not ask permission to bear arms."
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#10
Not that I think the cut off switches are a bad idea (pain in the rear to wear while fishing and moving about in the boat, or remembering to reattach before taking off again), I just don't think we need regulations on every little thing. Big Brother is so helpful in making rules on top of rules on top of other rules, that who can remember all of them... It's getting ridiculous... maybe it's just my advancing age, but dang there are a lot of rules that we're supposed to follow... Think they need to just do advisories and let folks choose whether they take advantage of the safety device or not... I guess their thought is the hazard to others when a boat is left without a pilot at on plane speeds, which with the greater number of boats out lately that could be an issue so I'll try to wear mine while underway.... Would have been exempt except for the new controller I just had to put on my boat now I'll have to get used to using it... Later Jeff
When things get stressful think I'll go fish'en and worry about it tomorrow!
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#11
Clearly written, Bob. Kudos.
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#12
(03-19-2021, 03:06 PM)SkunkedAgain Wrote: Not that I think the cut off switches are a bad idea (pain in the rear to wear while fishing and moving about in the boat, or remembering to reattach before taking off again), I just don't think we need regulations on every little thing.  Big Brother is so helpful in making rules on top of rules on top of other rules, that who can remember all of them... It's getting ridiculous... maybe it's just my advancing age, but dang there are a lot of rules that we're supposed to follow...  Think they need to just do advisories and let folks choose whether they take advantage of the safety device or not...  I guess their thought is the hazard to others when a boat is left without a pilot at on plane speeds, which with the greater number of boats out lately that could be an issue so I'll try to wear mine while underway.... Would have been exempt except for the new controller I just had to put on my boat now I'll have to get used to using it... Later Jeff
Here's a couple of things to consider Jeff.  The law specifies boats made/built in January 2020 or later.  It says nothing about controllers.  IF there is an ECOS installed on an older boat and it works, it must be used, but it is not required to be maintained (i.e., be in working condition).  Need I say more?   Big Grin
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
"Free men do not ask permission to bear arms."
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#13
Thanks Bob, your information was clear, the law, not so much.  LOL

So..... my 18' Lund style built in 2000 has an ECOS installed and it works.  My boat planes at about 18 mph.  The definition of "displacement speed" is not given.  Of course my boat wakes at any speed (all do, the definition of wake speed is usually 10 mph), so I "assume" that displacement speed means when the speed of the boat displaces sufficient water that it planes.

Notice all of the "assumptions" I have made.   But, if I understand the law, I need to use mine (you cannot see it when I am using it due to the gunnel height and the location), but only above 18 mph???????

Opening this can of worms is .................... smelly. Cool

Sorry officer, I just unhooked mine so I could stand and talk to you when you pulled up.  See, here is end of the cord right here. Big Grin
Sorry officer, mine does not work, want to come on board and test it for yourself. Tongue
Sorry officer, I did not mean to let our boats separate when you were coming on board and make you fall into the water.   Angel Dodgy
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#14
(03-22-2021, 04:13 PM)Anglinarcher Wrote: Thanks Bob, your information was clear, the law, not so much.  LOL

So..... my 18' Lund style built in 2000 has an ECOS installed and it works.  My boat planes at about 18 mph.  The definition of "displacement speed" is not given.  Of course my boat wakes at any speed (all do, the definition of wake speed is usually 10 mph), so I "assume" that displacement speed means when the speed of the boat displaces sufficient water that it planes.

Notice all of the "assumptions" I have made.   But, if I understand the law, I need to use mine (you cannot see it when I am using it due to the gunnel height and the location), but only above 18 mph???????

Opening this can of worms is .................... smelly. Cool

Sorry officer, I just unhooked mine so I could stand and talk to you when you pulled up.  See, here is end of the cord right here. Big Grin
Sorry officer, mine does not work, want to come on board and test it for yourself. Tongue
Sorry officer, I did not mean to let our boats separate when you were coming on board and make you fall into the water.   Angel Dodgy
I asked an LEO at Willard Bay a couple years ago about what constitutes a 'wakeless' speed.  He very clearly, and without hesitation, told me it is 5 mph.  I have used that as my wakeless area speed since he told me that.  And my boat produces a fairly healthy wake at that speed.  Almost every boat built with a planning hull will have a 'displacement speed' unique to its design, so a hard and fast value is not definable that would pertain to all vessels of that type.  If you get cited for a violation of exceeding this arbitrary value while not connected to the ECOS, then a judge/court will determine your guilt or innocence.  Good luck with that.   Big Grin
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
"Free men do not ask permission to bear arms."
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#15
Ya, I agree about the wake. The heavier the boat, the larger the wake at a given velocity. In fact, I believe that in some rare cases a light boat on plane can throw a smaller wake than at 5 mph.

I would love to challenge the LEO on where he got the 5 mph. Also, I bet he does not have a radar or laser gun either. LOL

Still, you correctly said one thing that cannot be disputed "a judge/court will determine your guilt or innocence. Good luck with that."
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#16
(03-23-2021, 05:32 AM)Anglinarcher Wrote: I would love to challenge the LEO on where he got the 5 mph.

Ahhh - you would lose the challenge.   Wink  He got it from the Utah Code which defines wakeless speed thusly:

Utah Code 73-18-2. Definitions Wrote:"Wakeless speed" means an operating speed at which the vessel does not create or make a wake or white water trailing the vessel. This speed is not in excess of five miles per hour.

I think a person would be hard pressed to prove to a judge that an LEO was mistaken as to observing a 'wake or white water trailing the vessel' absent a radar speed measurement.  It will be your word against the LEO's word in the courtroom.  Hmmmm - who wins that one?   Wink
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
"Free men do not ask permission to bear arms."
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#17
LOL, you already know that. Some years ago I was traveling in Washington State on a road that had a spot where the speed limit reduced by 10 mph. I got pulled over by the cop for speeding, not slowing down at the sign. I was positive that I had not passed the sign, but I got the ticket anyway. Sure enough, just over the hill and around a turn, here was the sign.....I was correct. Did not matter, not at all.
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#18
My little boat was built in 2007 so it doesn't fall under the new ECO ?  But then it has a new motor built in 2019 and purchased in 2020, that does have a working ECO.
I do use it when the weather turns bad and the wind comes up while I'm running for cover of the marina. Otherwise I'm either anchored, drifting, or slow trolling at much less than 5 mph. 

As far as wake goes, depending on where I trim my motor, I can go from barely a ripple with the motor all the way down at 3 mph, to just about throwing a rooster tail with the motor trimmed up with prop just barely in the water, throttle at about 80% and still only traveling about 5 mph.   Big Grin  Cool 
"OCD = Obsessive Catfish Disorder "
    Or so it says on my license plate holder
                                 
Cool
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#19
Here is some further information for your consideration.  I had a very pleasant conversation with an LE Professional from the Utah Parks & Recreations Law Enforcement Division about this ‘New’ Federal requirement that became law on Dec 4, 2018 but didn’t become effective until Dec 4, 2019.  Utah LEOs have no requirement or authorization to enforce Federal regulations unless and/or until the Federal Law requirements are passed into law at the Utah State level.  In the case of the Emergency Cut-off Switch (ECOS) requirement, this has not happened yet in Utah.  And the Utah Legislature for 2021 has shut-down for normal business, so the ECOS will not be addressed until at least 2022 – if at all.

According to my source, the issues supposedly addressed by making the ECOS mandatory are exceedingly rare in Utah and very low on a priority list of safety issues needing attention or a new regulation making it mandatory.  Much more common issues are failure to wear flotation devices when necessary (resulting in death by drowning) and DUIs.

Where you MIGHT encounter some enforcement because of a possible Federal LEO presence is on the three interstate bodies of water Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge, and Bear Lake with Lake Powell having a higher probability of enforcement presence due to a much higher level of boater recreation than the other two.

Bottom line (in my opinion) is there is little or no chance that this Federal law will impact your daily activities when participating in any boating recreation.  Use the ECOS function, don’t use it; let your conscious/common sense be your guide.  Utah LEO personnel could care less at this time as there is no state requirement making it mandatory to use it.
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 79 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
"Free men do not ask permission to bear arms."
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