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It's the Law


Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device have additional laws they must follow.

Requirements for Towing Skiers


It is illegal for vessels to tow persons on water skis, a surfboard, or any other device between sunset and sunrise.

Vessels towing water-skiers or participating in a similar activity must operate in a careful and prudent manner. A reasonable distance from other boats, people, and property must be maintained so as not to endanger life or property. Buzzing or spraying another boat or a swimmer is illegal.

Those being towed must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.

Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device must have on board:

  • A person, in addition to the boat operator, observing the towed person(s) or…
  • A wide-angle rearview mirror mounted such that the operator can observe the towed person(s) at all times.

If an observer is used when towing a person behind a PWC, the PWC must be rated for three people—the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.

towing a wakeboard
Observe towed person(s) at all times.