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Course Outline

Observer Watching Persons Being Towed

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, a surfboard, or other devices have specific equipment and observer requirements.

  • Vessels towing a person on water skis or other devices must have at least one USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD for each person on board or being towed. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for persons being towed.
  • When a vessel is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, or other devices, there must be a means to observe the person being towed. The vessel must have either:
    • A competent person on board, in addition to the operator, to act as an observer or...
    • A wide-angle (at least 160 degrees) rearview mirror positioned so that the operator can view the towed person.
  • If towing a skier with a PWC, the PWC should be rated for at least three people—the operator, the observer, and the person being towed.
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