The National Marine Manufacturers Association recently joined with BoatUS and the American Boat and Yacht Council to conduct testing on the ease of using emergency stop lanyards, how much time it takes to put on an ESL and how long it takes to switch vessel operators while using an ESL.
The testing was in response to the Coast Guard’s request for public input on whether it should require ESLs as a standard safety feature on propulsion machinery and starting controls installed on recreational boats less than 26 feet.
The testing captured data from eight boat operators with varying levels of experience who performed start/stop tests on four different vessels. The NMMA also conducted a survey of its members to determine the prevalence of ESLs within the existing recreational powerboat fleet.
This survey found that more than four in five builders of powerboats less than 27 feet already equip the majority (more than 90 percent) of their boats with ESLs and that more than three in five builders support a Coast Guard mandate on ESLs for boats less than 27 feet.
The NMMA compiled final comments for the Coast Guard that recommend it incorporate the existing ABYC standard for ESLs in future rulemaking because it allows for a variety of devices, does not mandate one solution and allows for future innovation.
The comments also recommend that any new ESL requirement become effective on new boats built on or after Jan. 1 of the second year after the effective date of any final rule.