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PWC towing a wakeboarder

Boats towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must either have an observer on board or be equipped with a wide-angle rearview mirror.

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards, inner tubes, or any similar devices must obey these laws also.

  • It is illegal for vessels to tow person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.
  • Each person being towed behind a vessel on water skis or similar devices must wear a properly secured U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD. Ski belts are not U.S. Coast Guard–approved. It is the legal responsibility of the owner of the towing vessel to enforce this requirement.
  • Every vessel (except personal watercraft) towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must:
    • Have on board a capable observer, other than the operator, who is at least 12 years old or...
    • Be equipped with a wide-angle rearview mirror. The size of the mirror must be at least 500 square centimeters (78 square inches) and have a field of vision of at least 170 degrees.
  • Every PWC towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must have mirrors mounted on both the right and left sides of the PWC (but not attached to the steering control) and the mirrors must be at least 2.5 inches high x 4 inches wide.
  • The vessel operator must maintain reasonable distance from other vessels, people, and property to avoid endangering life or property. It is illegal to tow a person on water skis or a similar device behind your vessel, or to manipulate the water skis or a similar device, in a manner that causes the towed person to collide with another person or object.