Water Skiing, Towed Devices and Water Sports

Water Skiing, Towed Devices and Water Sports

Water-skiing is a popular water sport that must be enjoyed under specific provisions in order to protect the safety of the skier, the boat passengers and any neighboring vessels. According the U.S. Coast Guard records, “skier mishaps” have been consistently reported in the top five types of boating accidents. No person should ever tow a skier unless:

  • There is a rearview mirror, in states where this is mandatory
  • There is someone on board other than the boater who is watching the person being towed.
  • There is enough seating space on the boat to accommodate the skier.
  • The skier is wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket compliant with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

Provisions have also been made regarding the time of day at which it is not acceptable for persons to be towed. Because darkness limits the ability of the operator and additional passengers to monitor the progress of the skier, no skiing should take place after sunset or before sunrise.

Because the forces generated by water skiers are very high and their falls may pose a high trajectory risk, each boat must maintain as much distance as possible from the skier. Regulations state that a 200-foot wide “ski-corridor” (100 feet on each side of the boat and behind the skier).

Towing a skier

All towed water sports (any activity that uses the wake of the vessel) should follow the regulations above. This includes tubes, wake boards and inflatables.

Here are common signals used when waterskiing:

Common water skiing signals