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Course Outline

Observer Watching Persons Being Towed

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

  • Each person being towed must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
  • It is illegal for a vessel to tow a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, a parasail, or a similar device unless one of the following conditions is met.
    • A person at least 8 years old, in addition to the vessel operator, is on board observing the towed person(s) or…
    • The vessel is equipped with an approved rearview mirror or mirrors so that the operator of the vessel can observe the progress of the person(s) being towed while facing forward.
      • If the vessel is not a PWC, one wide-angle convex rearview mirror must be installed.
      • If the vessel is a PWC, two wide-angle convex rearview mirrors must be installed.
  • Persons being towed are considered passengers of the towing vessel.
    • Vessels towing water-skiers or participating in a similar activity must be able to retrieve all persons being towed safely without exceeding the recommended capacity.
    • If towing a skier with a PWC, the PWC should be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.
  • It is illegal to operate a PWC or similar device capable of being remote-controlled by the skier unless such device is factory-equipped with an engine cut-off switch capable of shutting off the engine in the event the skier becomes detached from the PWC.
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