On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard implemented a new law requiring boaters who operate recreational vessels 26-feet long and under with an installed Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) to use the ECOS link. Additionally, all boats built after January 2020 are required to install an engine cut-off switch.
The law applies to all navigable waterways, specifically those monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The ECOS link attaches the driver to the switch that shuts the engine off. This will turn off the motor if the operator falls overboard or is a certain distance from the wheel. Wireless engine cut-off switches have also been approved for use.
Prior to any USA Water Ski & Wake Sports (USA-WSWS) sanctioned event, tournament organizers should consult USA-WSWS safety program resources, including the USA-WSWS Safety Manual, regarding adhering to all State/Federal Boating Regulations:
Rule 3: At the option of the sponsoring club, the Safety Director shall see that all competing clubs or participants conform to all state and/or federal boating regulations prior to the start of their event, including the following:
• Ensure that the requirement of meeting all applicable boating laws was made in the tournament announcement; and
• Ensure that all competing clubs from a state other than the state the competition is to be held in shall have been sent a copy of such laws.
The tournament host is responsible for adherence to state law and may delegate the oversight of the engine cutoff switch requirement (if applicable) to the Chief Driver or event Safety Director. Drivers are also responsible for following all state and federal laws, as they are the ones operating the boat during the event.
Boaters are encouraged to check the U.S. Coast Guard website for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations.
View FAQ regarding the new Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) law.