Chapter 4: The Legal Requirements of Boating
Requirements Specific to Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
In addition to adhering to all boating laws, personal watercraft
(PWC) operators have requirements specific to their vessel.
Towing a Person With a Vessel
In addition to adhering to laws as they apply to all vessels,
operators towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, or any
other device must obey these laws.
- It is illegal for vessels to tow persons on water skis,
a surfboard, or any other device between sunset and sunrise.
- Vessels towing water-skiers or participating in a similar
activity must operate in a careful and prudent manner. A reasonable
distance from other boats, people, and property must be maintained
so as not to endanger life or property. Buzzing or spraying another
boat or a swimmer is illegal.
- Those being towed must wear a U.S. Coast
Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
- Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard,
or a similar device must have on board:
- A person, in addition to the boat operator, observing
the towed person(s) or ...
- A wide-angle rearview mirror mounted such that the operator
can observe the towed person(s) at all times.
- If an observer is used when towing a person behind a PWC,
the PWC must be rated for three people—the operator, the
observer, and the retrieved skier.