- The law going into effect on April 1 requires boats equipped with engine cut-off switches(ECOS) to use the ECOS on federally navigable waterways.
- Iowa has 4 Federal Impoundments to include Coralville Reservoir, Rathbun Lake, Lake Red Rock, and Saylorville Lake
- US Army Corps of Engineer manage the 4 Federal Impoundments found in Iowa
- Iowa also has the Mississippi and Missouri River on its borders
U.S. Coast Guard patrol the Mississippi and Missouri River and have the authority to enforce the federal law
- Iowa Conservation Officers can educate the public verbally, educate with a written warning referring to the federal code, or refer the violation to a federal law enforcement officer
Over the last three years (2018-2020), Congress has passed two laws requiring, first, that manufacturers install engine cut-off switches on recreational vessels and, second, that recreational vessel operators use those engine cut-off switches.
First Law: More specifically, Section 503 of the LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 created 46 USC 4312 to require a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer that installs propulsion machinery and associated starting controls on a covered recreational vessel (less than 26 feet long and capable of 115 pounds of static thrust) to equip the vessel with an ECOS per compliant with ABYC Standard A-33. This law went into effect on December 4, 2019 one year after the 2018 CGAA was enacted and is referred to as the “installation requirement.”
Second Law: Section 8316 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 amended 46 USC 4312 to require individuals operating those recreational vessels covered by the installation requirement to use ECOS links, except if the main helm is within an enclosed cabin or the vessel does not have and is not required to have an ECOS. This law goes into effect on April 1, 2021. This requirement is referred to as the “use requirement.”
Additional Key Points:
- The laws that have placed these requirements on recreational vessel manufacturers and recreational vessel operators are found in United States Code (USC), as opposed to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) where these types of requirements are typically found.
- These new laws will improve safety for all recreational boaters by reducing the potential for propeller injuries to recreational vessel operators, other users of the nation’s waterways, and marine law enforcement officers responsible for responding to runaway boats.
- It provides a penalty of $100, $250, and $500 for the first, second, and third offenses, respectively.
Currently there are 7 States that have ECOS laws:
- New Jersey