Requirements to Tow 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.
- All persons being towed behind a vessel on water skis or any other device must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
- A USCG–approved PFD must be carried in the vessel for each skier electing to wear a special water-skiing wetsuit.
- Inflatable PFDs are not acceptable for anyone being towed behind a vessel.
- In addition to the operator, a competent observer must be on board the vessel and seated in a position to observe the progress of the person being towed. A competent observer is a person who can assess when a skier is in trouble, knows and understands the water-skiing hand signals, and is capable of helping a skier.
- If towing a person behind a PWC, these rules apply.
- The PWC must be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.
- You may not tow more than one skier.
- Ski tow ropes may not exceed the following lengths:
- Conventional water-skiing—80 feet
- Parasailing—300 feet
- Nonreleasable kite-skiing—150 feet
- Releasable kite-skiing—500 feet