Towing a Person With a Vessel Legally
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.