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PWC towing a wakeboarder
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 vessels, operators towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must obey these laws.

  • It is illegal for vessels 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 Type I, II, or III PFD.
  • Vessels 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 vessel 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.
  • Every vessel towing a person on water skis or a similar device must have a person, in addition to the operator, continuously observing the towed person.
  • If the towing vessel is a PWC, the PWC must be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.
  • 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.