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Course Outline

Observer Watching Persons Being Towed

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

  • Except during tow-in surfing, all persons being towed behind a vessel on water skis, aquaplanes, or any similar device must wear a USCG–approved life jacket.
  • Any vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, aquaplanes, or similar devices must be equipped with a ladder, step, or similar device that the towed person(s) can use to get back into the vessel.
  • It is illegal for a vessel to tow a person(s) on water skis, aquaplane, or any similar device unless:
    • A competent observer is on board, in addition to the vessel operator, to observe the person(s) being towed and report their progress to the operator or…
    • The vessel has a rearview mirror that lets the vessel operator see the person(s) being towed on a 75-foot line and identify hand signals given by the towed person(s).
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