Saturday, June 13, 2009

Engine Shut-Off Switches

Most powerboats and PWCs come equipped by the manufacturer with an emergency ignition safety switch. This safety switch can shut off the engine if the operator falls off the PWC, or is thrown from the PWC operating position.

A lanyard connects the safety switch to the operator's wrist or PFD. When the lanyard is pulled from the switch, the engine shuts off. If a PWC has an ignition safety switch, most states require the operator to attach the lanyard. Most states do not require powerboat operators to attach the lanyard. Even if attaching the lanyard is not required by law, many lives could be saved by doing so. If your powerboat or PWC does not have an ignition safety switch, you should have one installed.

Your PWC may have a self-circling feature. If the operator is thrown from the PWC, the engine idles while the PWC slowly circles so that the operator can reboard. Be sure the idle speed is set correctly.

Ignition Safety Switches
Every year, boating accidents involve an operator and passengers who fall overboard for a variety of reasons. Wearing an ignition safety switch lanyard not only ensures that your boat or PWC stays close if you fall overboard, but it also prevents you from being run over by your own boat. When the operator isn't wearing a lanyard, the unmanned boat tends to run in hard, fast circles, resulting in a severe injury even death from the propeller. Wearing the lanyard reduces the risk of a propeller injury and makes it easier to reboard the boat.