Adventures in Boating Washington Handbook
The Official Boating Handbook of the Washington State Parks - Web Version
Table of Contents
Requirements for Towing Water Sports
Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, aquaplanes, kneeboards, inner tubes, or similar devices have additional laws they must follow.
Every vessel towing a person(s) on water skis or other devices must have on board, in addition to the operator, a person capable of observing the person(s) being towed and reporting their progress to the operator.
When Towing Water Sports
The observer must observe the person(s) under tow continuously and display a skier-down flag whenever the person is in the water after falling or while preparing to ski. The flag must be displayed so that it is visible from all directions.
Every person being towed behind a vessel on water skis or other devices must wear a USCG–approved wearable PFD (life jacket). Inflatable PFDs and most Type II wearable PFDs are not approved for persons being towed.
Everyone engaged in water-skiing—the operator, the observer, and the towed person(s)— must conduct themselves in a safe manner that does not endanger other persons or property.
It is illegal for vessels to tow a person(s) on water skis or any other device during the period from one hour after sunset until one hour before sunrise.
If towing a person on water skis or other devices, remember to include them in your vessel’s load capacity. Law enforcement can require you to return to shore or mooring if you exceed the vessel’s safe carrying capacity.
Hand Signals for Skiers
Knowing proper hand signals will help the skier(s) communicate with their boat operator or the observer.