Don’t Forget The Kill Switch

Boat engine safety lanyards save lives.

Don’t Forget The Kill Switch

In addition to your engine’s manufacturer or boat dealer, you can purchase universal safety lanyards, like this Kwik-Tek model from marine retailers.West Marine

National Safe Boating Week begins Saturday, May 18. Convincing boaters to wear lifejackets is one of the boating safety campaign's biggest initiatives. We applaud the campaign and encourage voluntary wearing of PFDs.

But a lifejacket isn't the only thing we boaters should be wearing. Don't forget the safety lanyard—a.k.a, the "kill switch."

Some years back while conducting high-speed trials of a boat, I pushed the envelope and the boat swapped ends: it broke loose at the stern and went flying end-for-end through the air.

I went hurtling from the helm and was thrown into the side of the boat and then to the cockpit sole.

My back was broken.

But since the engines cut off, the boat didn’t roll or continue on crashing into shore, another boat or God knows what.

Wear your safety lanyard.

Takeaway: A boat cruising at 25 knots travels at 42.2 feet per second.