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PWC towing a wakeboarder

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards, inner tubes, or any similar devices have specific equipment and observer requirements.

  • Each person being towed behind a vessel must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal flotation device.
  • Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must have a competent person, in addition to the vessel operator, continuously observing the towed person(s).
  • If the towing vessel is a PWC, the PWC must be rated by the manufacturer for at least three people—the driver, the observer, and the retrieved skier.
  • Vessels towing a person(s) on water skis or similar device must carry on board a red or orange skier-down flag. The observer must display the flag whenever the skier is in the water.