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PWC towing a wakeboarder
If towing a skier with a PWC, the PWC must be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, or any other device also must obey these laws.

  • 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.
  • It is illegal for vessels to tow a person(s) on water skis, an aquaplane, or other device between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise. This restriction does not apply to night water-skiing or aquaplaning on controlled areas that are designated for those purposes and have adequate lighting provided.
  • It is illegal to operate or manipulate any towing vessel, tow rope, or other device in such a way as to cause the towed device or towed person(s) to collide with or strike any object or person(s).
  • 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.