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Coast Guard now requires cutoff switches on some boats

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Congress earlier in December passed the Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, which includes a provision requiring boat and engine manufacturers, distributors and dealers to install engine cutoff switches on new boats “less than 26 feet overall in length and capable of developing 115 pounds or more of static thrust.”

The requirement pertains to inboards, outboards and sterndrives. The switches must meet American Boat and Yacht Council standards.

Additionally, for owners who document their boats with the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center, the length of time the certificate will be valid increased from one year to five.

“Cutoff switches save lives,” David Kennedy, BoatUS manager of government affairs, said in a statement. “And making recreational vessel documentation renewal easier by now requiring it only once every five years is a consumer-friendly move. We thank the leadership of Sen. John Thune, Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Bill Shuster and Rep. Peter DeFazio for their efforts in securing this vital reauthorization.”

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