About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Oregon Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Boater Education Card.

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PWC towing a wakeboarder

Towing a Person with a Boat Legally

If towing a skier with a PWC, the PWC must be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.

In addition to adhering to laws as they apply to all boat operators towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must obey these laws.

  • It is illegal for boats to tow persons on water skis or any device of this type between sunset and sunrise.
  • Children 12 years old and younger being towed must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved, appropriately sized wearable Type I, II, or III life jacket and must be approved for such activities.
  • Boats towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must carry on board a red or orange skier-down flag and display it whenever the skier is in the water.
  • The operator of the towing boat and the skier must not operate in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property. Also, they must not operate while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • It is illegal to tow a person(s) holding onto any portion of the boat aft of the transom (including a step, ladder, platform, or deck) while underway.

Towed Watersports Education Program

Beginning January 1, 2020, there are special rules that affect towed watersports on the Willamette River (also known as Newberg Pool) between river miles 30 and 50. Boat operators towing a wakeboarder or wakesurfer are required to complete the Towed Watersport Education Course in addition to this course.

  • Every boat towing a wakeboarder or wakesurfer in this area must have a current Towed Watersports Decal and Towed Watersports Education Card in addition to the Boat Oregon Education Card.
  • Failure to carry a Towed Watersports Education Card and boat decal is a Class B violation, which carries a presumptive fine of $265.
  • Additionally, if you are cited a second time within a three-year period for wake-related violations, you can be issued a Class A violation, presumptive fine of $440, and may receive a one-year suspension from boating by a judge.
  • The Oregon State Marine Board has developed an interactive map that is available for your smartphone. This map can help you know which part of the river you are on as well as let you know what type of towing activity is allowed. Visit BoatOregon.com and click on “Newberg Pool App” on the home page.