How to Install a Kill Switch for an Outboard Motor

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Boating with an outboard motor can be enjoyable and fun. However, boating isn't sometimes without potential dangers. If you ever have to stop the outboard engine suddenly, to avoid an accident or water-skiing accident, a kill switch is a good device to have installed. A kill switch is essentially an easy-to-reach switch or button that stops the boat's motor quickly. A basic push-button kill switch can be installed on the throttle of the outboard. Installation will take under 30 minutes.

Items you will need

  • Kill switch

  • Screwdriver

  • Wrench

Place the mounting bracket on the kill switch around the shaft of the throttle controller.

Remove the cover to the top of your outboard motor.

Connect the switch's ground wire lead to a grounded surface on the engine.

Run the hot wire of the switch, which is usually red in color, and connect it to the spark plug wire.

Start the outboard motor and then try to switch to test it. Replace the outboard motor's engine cover.


  • "Outboard Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair, Second Edition"; Edwin Sherman; 2008

About the Author

Andrea Walk began writing in 2001, authoring user guides for technical software. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Loyola University, where she was a member of the Dean's Grade Review Committee for English. Walk is a member of the Automotive X-Prize team Global-E.