Bill Aimed at Preventing Boating Deaths Becomes Law After Child’s Death
“Ethan’s Law,” named for 6th grader Ethan Isaacs who was killed in a sailing accident in 2020, will now go into effect. The law is aimed at preventing similar deaths. The tragic circumstances of the case encouraged state lawmakers to take action. Ethan’s Law will require operators of vessels 26’ and under to wear a cutoff switch which automatically kills the engine if detached.
At Mase Mebane Seitz, we are proud to see Florida lawmakers take this important step towards boating safety. Our legal team is nationally-recognized for our representation of boat accident victims and their families. We know how critical this and other safety requirements are, which can help prevent countless accidents. Contact our office at (305) 602-4824 if you were injured in a Miami boating accident.
What Is “Ethan’s Law”?
Ethan’s Law is part of a bill designed to improve boating safety. The law is named after 10-year-old Ethan Isaacs, a Sarasota boy who died in a sailing accident on November 21, 2020.
As we previously wrote about, Ethan was participating in a youth sailing program at the time of his death. He was aboard a motorized vessel with two other young sailors when his instructor fell overboard after losing his footing. The unmanned motorboat then struck and killed Ethan.
As a result of Ethan’s death, lawmakers passed a new law requiring operators of vessels 26’ and under to wear a cutoff switch. According to WTSP Tampa Bay, the emergency kill switch can be connected “with a lanyard, by a harness or through a wireless device.”
Why Ethan’s Law Matters
It is believed that this simple safety precaution would have saved Ethan’s life. The cutoff switch is designed to kill the engine as soon as it is detached. The motorboat would have died as soon as the instructor fell into the water since he would have most likely been wearing the shut-off device.
Something as simple as a required kill switch can prevent numerous boating accidents and deaths each year. Prior to the passage of Ethan’s Law, kill switches were required on most boats but optional to use. The law would make use of the vital safety device mandatory.
The law met widespread approval, including support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, local legislation, boat owners associations, and boating manufacturers. Individuals falling overboard is a common problem in the state, accounting for dozens of injuries and deaths each year.
Injured in a Boating Accident? Get the Help You Need Now
If you were injured in a South Florida boating accident, contact our office at (305) 602-4824 to schedule your free consultation.
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