Requirements for Towing a Person With a Vessel
Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards, inner tubes, or any similar devices have specific equipment and observer requirements.
- Every person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, aquaplanes, or any similar devices must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket (PFD).
- When a vessel is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device, the operator must have a competent person on board to act as an observer.
- A PWC operator may not tow a person on water skis or other devices unless the PWC is designed and recommended by the manufacturer to accommodate at least three people.
- Tow ropes must not be less than 35 feet, unless certain conditions are met, and not greater than 85 feet in length.
- Vessels towing persons on water skis or other devices must display a ski flag while towing or retrieving a skier or when a skier or tow rope is in the water. The ski flag must be orange, triangular in shape, at least 12 inches in any dimension, and displayed at least four feet above the highest structure on the vessel.