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Unlike hard-wired lanyard kill switches, the Autotether is a portable wireless device that uses a transmitter to send a radio signal to a receiver connected to the boat's ignition.

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If the skipper falls overboard and the sensor is submerged, the signal is interrupted, which activates the kill switch, according to the manufacturer. Powered by two AAA batteries, one transmitter handles up to four sensors. Autotether also can be used with a horn for an audible alarm, and can double as an anti-theft device for an inflatable's kicker outboard. Installation requires no wiring, and ignition switch clips are available for any engine with a kill switch, including Evinrude, Johnson, Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Suzuki and SeaDoo. Autotether with two sensors retails for $295, and additional sensors are $45 each. Autotether, Rocky Hill, Conn. Phone: (888) 593-4181.


Up-N-Out Marina Safety Ladder, $199

Back to the Holiday Gear Guide 2009