Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lanyard Law Coming Soon

Boaters May Soon Be Required to Wear Engine Emergency Kill Switch Lanyard

boat lanyard law
Do you use your kill switch?
Have you ever used that red cord that dangles from somewhere on your boat’s dash? As you probably already know, its purpose is to kill the engine if the operator of a boat is tossed overboard. Many people simply leave it dangling or coiled up, but have you ever seen anyone clip it on while operating a boat?

A new boat owner often sees the lanyard and wonders:
Is it illegal not to use it?

Does it work?

What is the big deal?

What’s coming next?
The Lanyard Law
Let’s face it, these things are inconvenient, and most people probably don’t use them on boats. And unless you live in one of five states that has a lanyard law then you won’t be fined for not using the lanyard. If your boat is equipped with a lanyard or built after a certain date, then you will be fined if you are operating your boat without using your lanyard in the following states: Nevada, Alabama, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois. And the Coast Guard is trying to make use of cut-off switches a federal law soon, which may make this issue much more important to you if you boat in the other 45 states.

Money and Death
Why is this law spreading across the states? The answer is in the numbers. A typical center console boat carries enough gas to run at least 100 miles, and has power or hydraulic steering. On older boats if you let go of the steering, the boat would go in a circle, but newer boats will hold a course and can take off if you go overboard. In the unfortunate event that you hit a log and are tossed from your boat unexpectedly in choppy seas, would you prefer your boat circling you with its prop humming and possibly hitting and killing you, or would you rather the boat take off and leave you stranded? Both situations are bad for the operator, but property insurers have a preference. They don’t want that boat rocketing off. Not because they care about leaving you stranded, but because that out-of-control vehicle speeding away from you has the capability of causing substantial damage to multiple other persons and property.

The Future: A Wireless Alternative

Most of us agree that killing your engine makes sense if you ever get knocked overboard, but nobody likes wearing a red lanyard. Would you wear a device that does what the red lanyard does if it didn’t tie you to the boat?

A Connecticut-based company is betting you will. They have created a wireless version of the red lanyard kill switch, the first major innovation to the technology since the 1960’s. The Autotether shuts off your motor within 1 1/2 seconds and is the only wireless lanyard on the market that connects directly to the engine ignition kill switch, requires no hard wiring, is fail safe and works in both salt and freshwater.

If clipping a small device to your shorts that is smaller than a cell phone, without any wires tying you to the boat, can save your life, why wouldn’t you use it? Learn more about Autotether at



  1. I could understand the use of a wireless ignition kill switch. But I'm not sure I would be able to operate comfortably while attached to the boat by a coiled lanyard.

  2. If its battery prone to failure......

  3. Pulling in to a marina, captain needs to to move quickly to fend off or grab a line...and presto: you just killed the motor and crashed into another vessel.

  4. i've had my autotether for 2 years and have not had failure problems.