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You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed West Virginia Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your West Virginia Boater Education Certificate.

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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.

Vessel operators towing a person(s) on water skis, surfboards, or any similar devices must obey these laws also.

  • All persons being towed must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, or III PFD. The only exception is for persons engaged in barefoot water-skiing. These persons, at their own risk, may wear a non-U.S. Coast Guard-approved barefoot wetsuit designed for that purpose.
  • It is illegal for a vessel to tow a person(s) between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.
  • The person operating the towing vessel must not operate the vessel in a manner that would cause the object being towed to collide with any other object or person.
  • The persons riding on the object being towed:
    • Must not manipulate the object so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of another person.
    • Must not be legally intoxicated due to alcohol or any combination of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs.
  • Every boat (other than a PWC) towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must have on board:
    • An observer, other than the vessel operator, 12 years of age or older or ...
    • A wide-angle rearview mirror mounted such that the operator can observe the person(s) being towed.
  • Every PWC towing a person(s) on water skis or a similar device must:
    • Have a rear-facing observer on board who is 12 years of age or older and ...
    • Be rated for at least three people: the operator, the observer, and the retrieved skier.
  • It is illegal to tow a person on water skis, a surfboard, or similar devices in any controlled speed zone areas.