3 Reasons for a Boat Kill Switch

By Andy Whitcomb

May 03, 2021

One important safety device for boating is the boat kill switch. There are new laws that make it mandatory, learn more about boat safety here. 

Summer is almost here and for many that means quality, fun boating time. But whether it is fishing, skiing, sight-seeing, or fishing… boating safety is extremely important. In addition to life jackets, a boat engine cut off switch is a common safety feature which is usually a lanyard connecting the boat pilot to the ignition key. Should the boat operator become separated from the controls, the motor shuts off. Here are three reasons why a boat kill switch should be used.


The bigger the water, the bigger the potential for big waves. Despite frequent forecast monitoring, the weather can change surprisingly fast. A sudden thunderstorm can bring rolling, unpredictable waves that can try to throw everything and everyone out of the boat.


High, murky water may obscure visibility of potential hazards such as rocks, logs, or gravel bars. Sudden contact with these obstacles could separate boat and operator. A boat engine cut off switch keeps the boat engine from continuing to run and allows the boat to remain at least in the area.

Human Error

If a boat is operated at exceedingly fast speeds, perhaps while trying to outrun that unpredicted storm, hidden hazards or unexpected waves could eject boat occupants. Tournament bass anglers may race to key spots at 70 mph, but know the importance of a boat ignition kill switch and know when to proceed with more cautious speeds.

It’s not just a good idea; it also is part of new boating laws. A boat kill switch is needed for anyone operating a boat under 26 feet in length that is on plane or going over hull speed according to boating laws. With a little extra precaution, boating can remain one of the most fun outings for you and your passengers.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.