In addition to adhering to laws as they apply to all vessels, operators towing a person(s) on water-skis or a similar device must follow these rules:
Any person being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. Exceptions are made for those performing or participating in an official regatta, marine parade, tournament or exhibition.
Inflatable life jackets are not approved for use while water-skiing.
A water-ski wetsuit may be worn by any person engaged in barefoot, jump, trick or slalom skiing on a marked course, as long as a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. is carried on the tow vessel for each skier electing to wear a wetsuit.
It is illegal for vessels to tow skiers, skiboards, or any device of this type between sunset and sunrise. Local laws may also restrict skiing at certain times and in certain areas.
Water-skis, aquaplanes and similar devices must not be operated in a manner which endangers the safety of persons or property. Passing the towline over another vessel or skier or navigating a skier or vessel between a vessel and its tow are specifically prohibited.
Every vessel towing a person(s) on water-skis or a similar device must have a person on board, in addition to the operator, who can observe the person being towed. This observer must be at least 12 years of age.
The operator of a vessel involved in towing a skier must display a ski flag whenever:
A downed skier is in the water.
A skier is in the water preparing to ski.
A ski rope is extended from the vessel.
A ski is in the water in the vicinity of the vessel.