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Course Outline

Observer With Orange Flag Watching Persons Being Towed

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, or any other device have specific equipment and observer requirements.

  • Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, or other device must have on board, in addition to the operator, an observer at least 12 years old and in a position to observe the progress of the person(s) being towed.
    • Boats equipped with a wide-angle, convex, marine rear-view mirror in a position to observe the skiers being towed are exempt from this requirement.
    • PWC operators may not substitute a mirror for an observer (that is, a PWC must have an observer at least 12 years old).
  • All persons being towed behind a motorboat or motorized device on water skis, an aquaplane, or other device must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
  • If towing a person on skis or other device with a PWC, the PWC must be rated to carry at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier. You may not exceed the specified number of passengers identified by the PWC manufacturer as the maximum safe load for the vessel.

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