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Boating Safety Law Goes into Effect

A boating safety law that would require that recreational boaters use a kill switch link went into effect on April 1.

The kill switch law is a new federal law that requires operators of recreational vessels to wear a link to the kill switch.  Any recreational vessel that is less than 26 feet in length must be equipped with an engine switch-off lock link. Basically, the lock allows the operator to switch off the engine during an emergency, such as if the operator of the boat falls overboard.

When a boat operator falls overboard, he is likely to suffer serious or even fatal injuries, as the driverless boat may continue to circle around which could result in the victim being struck by the boat propellers. Injuries sustained in an accident like this are usually catastrophic or even fatal.

The kill switch link is essentially a cord that can be wrapped round the boat operator’s body. One end of the cord is tied to the boat’s operator, his personal floatation device or clothing, and the other end is connected to the engine cut off switch.  This means that even if the boat operator is thrown off the boat or falls overboard, he still will be able to operate the kill switch in order to switch off power to the engine. That will bring the boat to a complete stop.

The cord version is just one version of the device. There are other versions on the market, including cordless versions. The new law will apply to any boat that is less than 26 feet in length, and has 3 or more horse power. Any person operating a boat like this must now wear the cut off switch link while the boat is in operation.

If you are an amateur boater, always be sure to be updated on new boating safety laws. Make sure that you have the engine cut off switch link on your person at all times.  For safety reasons, ensure that you have the switch link on you at all times even when you have passengers on the boat, to avoid a situation where passengers are not aware of how to switch off the engine, or are too panic-stricken to do so.

If you operate a recreational boat, you must have completed a boat training program.  Do not attempt to  operate a boat without having completed a boating safety program. A training program will not only help you operate the watercraft, but will also help you understand all the rules and regulations that will apply to you as the operator of a boat. Remember, failure to adhere to rules and regulations may expose you to liability if you are involved in a boating accident.

If you or a loved have been injured in a boating accident, talk to an Atlanta boating accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and determine your legal rights to a claim for compensation. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.

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