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Course Outline

Observer with orange flag watching persons being towed

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

  • All persons being towed behind a vessel on water skis, a surfboard, or other device must wear a USCG–approved PFD. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for use by persons being towed.
  • Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, or other device must have on board, in addition to the operator, a responsible person in a position to observe the progress of the person(s) being towed.
  • A person may not operate a vessel if its capacity would be exceeded by the persons in the vessel plus the persons being towed. If towing a person with a PWC, the PWC must be rated to carry at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the person being towed.
  • It is recommended that boaters use a skier-down flag that is at least 12" x 12" in size and blaze orange in color. This flag should be raised into the air when the towed person(s) is in the water preparing to be towed or awaiting pick up by the towing vessel.
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