ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A new federal law will require operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet (eight meters) in length to use an engine cut-off switch and associated link, which attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is knocked from the helm.
The U.S. Coast Guard said that every year, the organization receives reports about recreational vessel operators who fall off of or are suddenly thrown off their boat, Alaska’s News Source reported Wednesday.
“During these incidents the boat continues to operate with no one in control of the vessel, leaving the operator stranded in the water as the boat continues on course, or the boat begins to circle the person in the water eventually striking them, often with the propeller,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
In Alaska, 11 people were killed in eight deadly crashes, according to data from a 2019 Coast Guard report. Another seven people were hurt in three separate crashes.