Texas Fishing Forum

Legislative Alert - HB 337

Posted By: BrianTx01

Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 08:13 PM

HB 337 has passed both the House and Senate and his heading to the governor. If passed, it will require kill switch lanyards to be worn at all times the motor is running. I for one think this would be a pain when throwing the net or setting anchor. Please call Governor Abbott at (512) 463-2000 and ask him to veto this bill.
Posted By: ACAMS

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 08:28 PM

How did this happen .... they are mostly Republican and have common sense, and therefor should know we have common sense.
Posted By: GIG'EM AGGIES

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 08:38 PM

Originally Posted by BrianTx01
HB 337 has passed both the House and Senate and his heading to the governor. If passed, it will require kill switch lanyards to be worn at all times the motor is running. I for one think this would be a pain when throwing the net or setting anchor. Please call Governor Abbott at (512) 463-2000 and ask him to veto this bill.

Good luck on enforcing it. We're not even required to wear PFD's unless we're in a tournament. Next they will want us to wear helmets.
Posted By: BrianTx01

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 08:57 PM

I am one of the few that wears a life jacket all the time, but that is my choice. I can also see a valid reason for kill switches. I just prefer the state let me decide when to wear one and when not to.
Posted By: Texas Grown

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 10:34 PM

What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?
Posted By: BillS2006

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/21/19 11:35 PM

Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


Install one. I'm all for the law, maybe it will save a few lives on the party lakes.
Posted By: JCBfromTHF

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 12:37 AM

Law with good intention but not a fan of it. I wear mine all the time but my first boat that was made in 1986 did not have one. If they force people to install one that's BS!
Posted By: bronco71

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 01:25 AM

I don't mind as long as is with the big motor in gear, not idling and not the trolling motor. I like to keep my kill switch attached to my life jacket and take it on/off went I am ready to go or get where I am going, MLF style.
Posted By: jdr418

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 02:08 AM

Here is the bill as passed. Will not require a boat that was not fitted with a kill switch originally to be retrofitted. If you have seen the video shot by Skeet Reese of the accident this past weekend on Table Rock you may think twice about not using the kill switch. I think they should have worded it as above idle speed instead of while underway.


86R3566 AAF-D

By: Larson H.B. No. 337



A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT
relating to the use of emergency engine cutoff switches on
motorboats.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 31, Parks and Wildlife
Code, is amended by adding Section 31.1071 to read as follows:
Sec. 31.1071. OPERATION OF MOTORBOAT WITH EMERGENCY ENGINE
CUTOFF SWITCH. (a) In this section, "engine cutoff switch" means
an emergency switch installed on a motorboat that:
(1) is designed to shut off the engine if:
(A) the motorboat operator using a lanyard
attachment activates the switch by falling overboard or otherwise
moving beyond the length of the lanyard; or
(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a
wireless attachment activates the switch by falling overboard and
submerging a man-overboard transmitter; and
(2) attaches:
(A) physically to the motorboat operator through
the use of a lanyard worn by the operator; or
(B) wirelessly through the use of a
water-activated man-overboard transmitter worn by the motorboat
operator or any similarly equipped passenger on the motorboat.
(b) A motorboat operator may not operate a motorboat less
than 26 feet in length and equipped by the manufacturer with an
engine cutoff switch while the engine is running and the motorboat
is underway without first verifying that the switch is operational
and fully functional and:
(1) if using a lanyard attachment, properly attaching
the lanyard, as appropriate for the specific motorboat, to the
operator's body or to the clothing or personal flotation device
being worn by the operator; or
(2) if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
Posted By: Littlefeather

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 02:33 AM

Quote from Act: while motor is running and motorboat is underway.
Underway is defined in maritime law is when outdirive is engaged and vessel is moving. So, idling while throwing a net or anchoring or anything other than motor in gear should be fine.

Disclaimer: I’m a huge proponent of personal choice! Same with motorcycle helmets. I like to choose when to wear it.
I did wear my life jacket today. Just a personal decision.
Posted By: Fishin' Nut

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 12:57 PM

Alabama made me install one on my boat. Took me all of 30 minutes. 10 minutes was me crying because I had to drill a new hole in my console.
Posted By: BrianTx01

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 01:24 PM

I think underway could be interpretated to mean not at anchor, aground, or tied off to a fixed object. I think they should have used the term "underway under power".
Posted By: Boomerbrewer

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 02:36 PM

There are a lot of fishing activities that need the operator to be a few feet from the helm at very slow speeds (2-3 mph) like downrigging or trolling. If you have to kill the motor and come to a stop to land a fish with 4 lines out, think of the tangled mess.....

The way this reads also contradicts itself. I could handle this if I got a wireless kill switch but I don`t want on on every person in the boat.

"(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment"

"if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching to each individual on the motorboat"

So which is it? this is a poorly worded bill that is not thought through very well. Add "on plane" or at speed greater than 5 mph and I would be fine with it.
Posted By: BillS2006

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 02:56 PM

if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.
Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
There are a lot of fishing activities that need the operator to be a few feet from the helm at very slow speeds (2-3 mph) like downrigging or trolling. If you have to kill the motor and come to a stop to land a fish with 4 lines out, think of the tangled mess.....

The way this reads also contradicts itself. I could handle this if I got a wireless kill switch but I don`t want on on every person in the boat.

"(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment"

"if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching to each individual on the motorboat"

So which is it? this is a poorly worded bill that is not thought through very well. Add "on plane" or at speed greater than 5 mph and I would be fine with it.

The way you wrote it, changes it original meaning. You should post it as it is written.

if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.
Posted By: Boomerbrewer

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 05:13 PM

Originally Posted by BillS2006
if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.
Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
There are a lot of fishing activities that need the operator to be a few feet from the helm at very slow speeds (2-3 mph) like downrigging or trolling. If you have to kill the motor and come to a stop to land a fish with 4 lines out, think of the tangled mess.....

The way this reads also contradicts itself. I could handle this if I got a wireless kill switch but I don`t want on on every person in the boat.

"(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment"

"if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching to each individual on the motorboat"

So which is it? this is a poorly worded bill that is not thought through very well. Add "on plane" or at speed greater than 5 mph and I would be fine with it.

The way you wrote it, changes it original meaning. You should post it as it is written.

if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.


It is a direct quote, I did not rewrite anything. I was just pointing out the part that confused me. Perhaps it would have been better to repost the whole thing and highlight those sections.

It seems to me that if interpreted as all people in the boat have to wear a MOB device, that is much more restrictive than just the operator wearing a lanyard. It does not make sense that there would be additional restriction just because the connection to the kill switch is wireless instead of a lanyard.
Posted By: Littlefeather

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 05:40 PM

Maritime Law- terminology

These laws always take a few years to iron out. They are always rewritten after the fact to accommodate possible misinterpretation. It’s a lot like the early motorcycle helmet laws said “ must wear at all times”! I strapped mine to my knee “at all times”. laugh once rewritten I absolutely complied.



Posted By: Sgrem

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 06:02 PM

There is no justification ever to step away from the helm when that boat is in gear. None.
Posted By: BillS2006

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 07:06 PM

Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Originally Posted by BillS2006
if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.
Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
There are a lot of fishing activities that need the operator to be a few feet from the helm at very slow speeds (2-3 mph) like downrigging or trolling. If you have to kill the motor and come to a stop to land a fish with 4 lines out, think of the tangled mess.....

The way this reads also contradicts itself. I could handle this if I got a wireless kill switch but I don`t want on on every person in the boat.

"(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment"

"if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching to each individual on the motorboat"

So which is it? this is a poorly worded bill that is not thought through very well. Add "on plane" or at speed greater than 5 mph and I would be fine with it.

The way you wrote it, changes it original meaning. You should post it as it is written.

if using a wireless attachment, properly attaching
to each individual on the motorboat an operational man-overboard
transmitter.


It is a direct quote, I did not rewrite anything. I was just pointing out the part that confused me. Perhaps it would have been better to repost the whole thing and highlight those sections.

It seems to me that if interpreted as all people in the boat have to wear a MOB device, that is much more restrictive than just the operator wearing a lanyard. It does not make sense that there would be additional restriction just because the connection to the kill switch is wireless instead of a lanyard.

if you choose the man overboard devise, every person on board must wear a working man over board devise. It's not confusing at all.
Posted By: Texas Grown

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 11:13 PM

Originally Posted by BillS2006
Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


Install one. I'm all for the law, maybe it will save a few lives on the party lakes.


I don't mind wearing one my self. And do all the time now that I have a tiller steer motor that has one. But for the smaller tiller steer motors of 5-20HP 1960s-1980s, there may be a problem acquiring a switch that would work, much less having a place to mount it. I've had more than my fair share of those motors over the years. Of the ones with kill buttons, the buttons are usually mounted on the cowling. Some just have a push/pull kill rod/arm under the cowling. Helm motors are of a different animal. Most can be made comply-able. Guess the bill would make those older tiller motors pretty much useless. But if it saves a life, so be it.
Posted By: Bob Landry

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 11:54 PM

Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


It's the work of politicians. They don' t think that far ahead.
Posted By: Bob Landry

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/22/19 11:55 PM

Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


It's the work of politicians. They don' t think that far ahead.
I guess it's supposed to be a "feel good" law.
Posted By: BillS2006

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/23/19 12:27 AM

Originally Posted by Texas Grown
Originally Posted by BillS2006
Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


Install one. I'm all for the law, maybe it will save a few lives on the party lakes.


I don't mind wearing one my self. And do all the time now that I have a tiller steer motor that has one. But for the smaller tiller steer motors of 5-20HP 1960s-1980s, there may be a problem acquiring a switch that would work, much less having a place to mount it. I've had more than my fair share of those motors over the years. Of the ones with kill buttons, the buttons are usually mounted on the cowling. Some just have a push/pull kill rod/arm under the cowling. Helm motors are of a different animal. Most can be made comply-able. Guess the bill would make those older tiller motors pretty much useless. But if it saves a life, so be it.

If the boat and/or motor was NOT equipped with a kill switch FROM THE MANUFACTURER, a kill switch is NOT required. The bill passed by the Senate contains that language.
Posted By: BillS2006

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/23/19 12:31 AM

Originally Posted by Bob Landry
Originally Posted by Texas Grown
What about some of the older motors, especially small ones, that don't have kill switches? How will that be handled?


It's the work of politicians. They don' t think that far ahead.
I guess it's supposed to be a "feel good" law.


I bet those idiots that got thrown out of their boat and run over by the prop don't "feel good".
Posted By: Boomerbrewer

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 05/23/19 12:19 PM

I would support a law requiring kill switch usage at any speed producing a wake. Not because it protects the operator, people should be free to manage their own risks. I don`t agree with the leftist philosophy that the government protect idiots from themselves. But an operator-less boat at speed is a danger to everyone else on the water, a reasonable law that could prevent that is justifiable. The current bill goes beyond that situation, dictating the activities of the operator when there is no significant risk to others.

A trolling speed 2-3mph, I don`t see a public risk. I also don`t see the safety difference using the main engine or an electric trolling motor at that speed. And under those conditions I don`t think it is a public danger to be 5 feet from the helm of a center console. It is not difficult to reach over the leaning post and adjust something. I don`t see how that’s different from being 5 feet from your trolling motor control. The operator needs to make that call based on conditions and other boats in the area.

It is also logically inconsistent, allowing only the operator to use a lanyard, but if wireless every passenger must use a water activated device. How’s that going to work, in the rain or when everyone’s wet from tubing? I understand the intent of the bill, but it could be restructured to be less restrictive on the operator and still improve public safety.
Posted By: BrianTx01

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/12/19 04:11 AM

The governor signed into law. Will go in effect on September 1st.
Posted By: Naut Now

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/12/19 10:38 PM

Looks like I’ll be investing in a wireless system.
Posted By: Big Hopper

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/13/19 01:46 PM

So ..... I fish by myself. Often I back the boat into the water and start the motor, to warm it up. Then try to back the boat off of the trailer. (Yes, I am aware of not blocking the ramp)

On some ramps I have to get out and push the boat off of the trailer. Come-on, we've all been there a some point.

Am I then in violation?
Posted By: immastar

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 04:24 AM

Sounds like a dumb rule. I've never seen anyone clip themselves to the boat. I know what it is for and God forbid anything bad ever happens but If you would just make alcohol illegal alot more boating accidents would go away. Plus there is no real way to inforce this there is a million excuses why you disconnect the kill switch from your body.
Posted By: Bob Landry

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 11:40 AM

I'm amazed that Republican legislators got sucked into this feel good bill.
Posted By: tmd11111

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 11:47 AM

Quote
AN ACT
relating to the use of emergency engine cutoff switches on motorboats; creating a criminal offense.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 31, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended by adding Section 31.1071 to read as follows:
Sec. 31.1071. OPERATION OF MOTORBOAT WITH EMERGENCY ENGINE CUTOFF SWITCH. (a) In this section, "engine cutoff switch" means an emergency switch installed on a motorboat that:
(1) is designed to shut off the engine if:
(A) the motorboat operator using a lanyard attachment activates the switch by falling overboard or otherwise moving beyond the length of the lanyard; or
(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment activates the switch by falling overboard and submerging a man-overboard transmitter; and
(2) attaches:
(A) physically to the motorboat operator through the use of a lanyard worn by the operator; or
(B) wirelessly through the use of a water-activated man-overboard transmitter worn by the motorboat operator or any similarly equipped passenger on the motorboat.
(b) A motorboat operator may not operate a motorboat less than 26 feet in length and equipped by the manufacturer with an engine cutoff switch while the motorboat is under way and moving at greater than headway speed without first verifying that the switch is operational and fully functional and properly attaching the lanyard or wireless attachment, as appropriate for the specific motorboat, to the operator's body or to the clothing or personal flotation device being worn by the operator.
SECTION 2. Section 31.127, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended by adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
(g) A person who operates a motorboat in violation of Section 31.1071 commits an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $200.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.


For all of you freaking out about having to attach the kill switch when launching or trolling calm down.
Posted By: Jimbo

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 12:07 PM

So you think a GW that drives up to you on the water while you are fishing with the motor off isn't going to ask for all your safety equipment and license, and check to see if you have a kill switch that is operational, even though you are sitting dead in the water fishing?
Not freaking out, just don't count on not being checked whether you are right or not about the interpretation of the new law.....It's up to the Warden.
Posted By: tmd11111

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 12:09 PM

Originally Posted by Jimbo
So you think a GW that drives up to you on the water while you are fishing with the motor off isn't going to ask for all your safety equipment and license, and check to see if you have a kill switch that is operational, even though you are sitting dead in the water fishing?
Not freaking out, just don't count on not being checked whether you are right or not about the interpretation of the new law.....It's up to the Warden.


GW can check the kill switch if he wants to but cant ticket you if your not under way with the big motor. Nothing says you cant troll back to the ramp. Read the entire law.
Posted By: Jimbo

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 12:12 PM

Originally Posted by tmd11111
Originally Posted by Jimbo
So you think a GW that drives up to you on the water while you are fishing with the motor off isn't going to ask for all your safety equipment and license, and check to see if you have a kill switch that is operational, even though you are sitting dead in the water fishing?
Not freaking out, just don't count on not being checked whether you are right or not about the interpretation of the new law.....It's up to the Warden.


GW can check the kill switch if he wants to but cant ticket you if your not under way with the big motor. Nothing says you cant troll back to the ramp. Read the entire law.


He may not, but don't think he won't be watching you, to make sure you troll all the way back across the lake. roflmao
Posted By: BrockstaRama

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 06/29/19 01:57 PM

Originally Posted by tmd11111
Quote
AN ACT
relating to the use of emergency engine cutoff switches on motorboats; creating a criminal offense.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 31, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended by adding Section 31.1071 to read as follows:
Sec. 31.1071. OPERATION OF MOTORBOAT WITH EMERGENCY ENGINE CUTOFF SWITCH. (a) In this section, "engine cutoff switch" means an emergency switch installed on a motorboat that:
(1) is designed to shut off the engine if:
(A) the motorboat operator using a lanyard attachment activates the switch by falling overboard or otherwise moving beyond the length of the lanyard; or
(B) the motorboat operator or a passenger using a wireless attachment activates the switch by falling overboard and submerging a man-overboard transmitter; and
(2) attaches:
(A) physically to the motorboat operator through the use of a lanyard worn by the operator; or
(B) wirelessly through the use of a water-activated man-overboard transmitter worn by the motorboat operator or any similarly equipped passenger on the motorboat.
(b) A motorboat operator may not operate a motorboat less than 26 feet in length and equipped by the manufacturer with an engine cutoff switch while the motorboat is under way and moving at greater than headway speed without first verifying that the switch is operational and fully functional and properly attaching the lanyard or wireless attachment, as appropriate for the specific motorboat, to the operator's body or to the clothing or personal flotation device being worn by the operator.
SECTION 2. Section 31.127, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended by adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
(g) A person who operates a motorboat in violation of Section 31.1071 commits an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $200.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.


For all of you freaking out about having to attach the kill switch when launching or trolling calm down.

I figured they would have a that provision. I'm betting a few of the legislators are fishermen
Posted By: ddspinks

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 07/12/19 05:44 PM

Originally Posted by ACAMS
How did this happen .... they are mostly Republican and have common sense, and therefor should know we have common sense.


It arose out of a death of young girl I believe...I happened to be in the gallery on one of the days they were debating this bill and the girl's family was there and pushing the bill. It is one of those bills with a child's name, e.g. Jessica's law...that type of bill is hard to stop.
Posted By: ThreeThree

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 07/26/19 06:15 PM

I'm surprised how many of you complain about something that is a common sense safety device. Would you like to watch videos of bass boats that pitch the occupants and then circle them until someone else intervenes?

https://youtu.be/YobMW95xV8Q

https://youtu.be/_o-aJCSxdE4

https://youtu.be/bR269MorNss

https://youtu.be/1UEETjztLqI

https://youtu.be/AzfS6Xlk7x8

Or maybe you should look at this list of over 100 ejections from fishing boats, many of which were fatal.

http://www.propellersafety.com/9697/propeller-statistics/bass-boat-operators-ejected-overboard-list/

It's pointless and rather stupid to complain about something so trivial that can prevent boating deaths. Let's think about it. Young girl, no lanyard, propeller death.

If you object to the statute, "common sense" isn't one of your strong points.
Posted By: ThreeThree

Re: Legislative Alert - HB 337 - 07/26/19 07:39 PM

More...


Vernon Fowlkes, a bass fishing industry entrepreneur from Tulsa and co-founder of the nation’s first local bass organization (Tulsa Bass Club), was killed in a bass boat propeller accident during the 1973 Bassmaster Classic III at Clark Hill Reservoir in South Carolina.

BassMaster magazine re-told the story of Vernon Fowlkes’ 1973 accident in 2008:

They (Fowlkes, Powell, and Brown) were running wide open into the main area when the steering cable on the engine broke and threw the engine into a full torque. The powerful prop flipped the boat over on its side, throwing all three men into the water. The boat made a complete circle and the prop struck Fowlkes’ body, killing him.

The article goes on to note that Ray Scott, renown bass tournament promoter, responded to Fowlkes’ death by creating a rule requiring all boats in his bass tournaments be equipped with a “kill switch.”

A similar accident on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake in 1994 involved Phyllis Kopytko, her husband, Bob, and their fishing guide. In the accident, the operator/guide and the Kopytko couple, celebrating their wedding anniversary, were thrown from the boat, and the boat entered what is known as the “circle of death.” The boat and propeller first struck the operator, who died in the water. Bob Kopytko was struck just as he waved to his wife that the boat was circling back behind her. Missing her, the boat struck and killed him. Phyllis was struck on the third circle and today survives as an amputee following 41 surgeries. Today every small thing is a challenge to Phyllis.

https://sca.nasbla.org/2015/08/13/raise-your-lanyard-for-the-kill-switch-regulation/
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