Marine insurer offers discount for safety device

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To help encourage safe boating, Travelers, a leading provider of boat and yacht insurance, announced a new discount on boat and yacht insurance premiums for boaters that use the Autotether wireless emergency-stop lanyard. These devices are designed to reduce the chances of a runaway boat by turning off the motor should the boat's operator go overboard.

According to the Coast Guard, falls overboard are consistently a leading cause of boating fatalities, thousands of dollars of property damage and injuries to innocent victims each year. Incidents where the operator falls overboard and the boat is left without anyone to steer can be easily avoided when the proper safety devices are used by the vessel's operator.

Wearing an emergency stop lanyard is required by law in only six states - Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada and New Jersey. According to Autotether, a leading producer of a wireless emergency-stop device, most operators surveyed do not wear the emergency-stop lanyard and admitted to leaving the helm at one time or another when the vessel is under way. The main reason boaters cite for not wearing it is that the lanyard is restrictive and inconvenient around the helm as it is typically connected to the operator from the boat's ignition.

"We've found that boaters do not want to be restricted to the helm and most emergency-stop lanyards are inconvenient," said Anthony Viggiano, president of Autotether. "The wireless device frees the boat operator while giving them and their crew the peace of mind in knowing the boat will stop if the operator goes overboard or an alarm will sound if a passenger accidentally slips out."

Travelers is currently reviewing safety devices made by other manufacturers in the hopes of offering this discount in the future to boaters who own them.