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Boating Know How
Water-Skiing and Wakeboarding

Towing Safety: Water-Skiing and Wakeboarding

This Boat-Ed safety course video introduces safe towing habits for the operator of a boat if towing a water skier or wakeboarder. Also includes safety tips for the skier being towed. ... read more



Video Transcript

Pulling someone behind the boat may not look tricky but to do it safely you’ll need to develop good habits. This is true whether the person you tow was on a board, skis or tube.

First, you need to have a group of at least three and makes good sense to have an observer on board and in many states it’s required. All towing sports take a lot of room so pick an area that’s not congested. Stay clear of beaches, docks and swimming areas.

It’s also a good idea to check out the area ahead of time for hazards such as shallow water or obstructions. A Personal Floatation Device is a must. Make sure it’s a US Coast Guard-approved PFD designed for active water sports. Before your boarder gets in the water shut off the engine. When the boarder is clear of the stern and ready to go, restart the engine. Power forward slowly until the tow rope is taut.

By the way, the rope should never be wrapped or tied around the boarder that could lead to disaster. If there’s no traffic ahead, apply enough power to raise the boarder out of the water. The person being towed determines cruising speed by using hand signals – thumbs up for more speed, thumbs down for less speed. Be especially alert when you’re towing anyone. Keep track of the boats around you and stay at least two rope lengths from hazards or the shoreline.

And of course, never buzz or spray another boat or swimmer, it’s illegal. When the boarder drops or falls, circle slowly to return the towline or pick the boarder up. Some stage require a boat operators to display an orange or red flag to signal to other boaters that someone is in the water. Boarders should hold their board out of the water when down, it makes them more visible. As you approach, be sure to keep the boarder on your side of the boat for best visibility.

Before you let the boarder approach the boat, shut off the engine. Once everyone’s on board, retrieve the towline. Remember that these are all daytime activities. It’s both dangerous and illegal to tow someone after dark. It’s also dangerous to consume alcohol and get behind a boat. You need quick reflexes and a clear head to stay out of trouble.

Courtesy of www.boat-ed.com
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