143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation

WATER SKIING Water skiing, a popular sport for powerboat owners, requires extra precautions. Ski boat operators must travel at high speeds and make tight turns, frequent stops and sudden starts. And skiers are always in the water. At the very least, a water ski team must consist of a boat operator, an observer and a skier. People enjoying other activities while being towed by a boat must follow the same rules and guidelines for water skiing. Some of these activities include wakeboarding, knee boarding and tubing. Equipment ƒ Check to see that any person being towed behind the vessel is wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for the intended use stated on the label. Exceptions: the law does not apply to performers engaged in pro fessional exhibitions, official regattas, marine parades, or tournaments. Any person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course, or barefoot, jump, or trick water skiing, may instead wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for the intended use stated on the label must still be carried on board for each skier choosing to wear a wetsuit. Note: Inflatable life jackets are not approved for use while water skiing. ƒ Check to see if a ski flag is on board. The flag must be orange or red and at least 12 inches square or rectangular. You must use this flag to warn other boats about gear or skiers in the water. Safety Rules ƒ Check to see that at least three people are present when water skiing— the boat operator, the observer and the skier. ƒ Check to see that you are water skiing at legal times. Remember, water skiing is not allowed from sunset to sunrise. ƒ Check to see that water skiers know the correct hand signals (the preferred form of communication between skier and observer.) ƒ Check to see that the boat operator is at least 16 years old, if unsupervised. ƒ Check to see that the observer is at least 12 years old. ƒ Check that the ski area is not crowded. Towline Safety Water skis and aquaplanes must not be operated in a manner to endanger the safety of people or property. Passing the towline over another vessel or skier and towing a skier or navigating between a vessel and its tow are prohibited. Towing a skier does not give the vessel operator any special privileges. You must observe the rules of the road.


Speed Up

Skier OK

Speed OK

Slow Down

Back to Dock

Right Turn

Left Turn


Skier in Water


California Course for Safe Boating

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