2015 New York Safe Boating - 68
BOATING RELATED ACTIVITIES
Water Skiing & Other Towed Activities
way to other boats, or stand-on as the circumstances require.
As always when boating, stay clear of the shore, docks,
swimmers and other boats.
Water skiing on a hot day is the essence of summer fun.
Wake boarding, tubing and parasailing are other forms of
water skiing that are quickly growing in popularity on New
York's waterways. The New York State Navigation Law
considers all of these activities "Towing of Persons." You
must follow a few simple rules when participating in these
sporting activities to be legal, and more importantly, safe!
The person being towed is considered a passenger on the
boat and, accordingly, you must have a seat available on your
boat for that person or persons. This is not only the law, but
it is common sense: If a person being towed becomes tired,
sick or injured and can no longer be towed safely, he or she
must be able to come aboard. This is a crucial consideration
when determining your carrying capacity. And remember,
as noted earlier, if you plan to tow a tube or skier with
your personal watercraft, it must be rated for at least three
persons: the operator, an observer, and the skier.
When engaging in towing water sports, there must be a
minimum of three people aboard: the operator of the craft,
an observer to keep a lookout for the person being towed,
and the skier or other person being towed behind the boat.
These three must work together as a team.
The operator should always give the person being towed a
smooth easy ride. Let the person being towed signal what
they want to do rather than try to think for them. Avoid
sharp, sudden turns and keep the person being towed well
away from potential hazards.
Always use a tow length of at least 75 feet. Keep the person
being towed at least double the length of the tow line away
from the shore, moored boats, docks and the like. If a skier
or tuber falls, circle around slowly, trying to position the
towline or tube for another run. If the person being towed
is ready to get into the boat, make certain that the motor is
turned off so that the propeller isn't turning before helping
the person aboard.
The operator is responsible for handling the boat, avoiding
other boats, and providing a smooth, steady ride for the
person being towed.
The observer must be at least 10-years-old and is
responsible for watching the skier or tuber and relaying
the status of the person being towed to the operator. The
observer should know the hand signals the person being
towed might use.
The person being towed is responsible for their wellbeing
and should act responsibly. The person should have
established hand signals with the observer so that they can
communicate with each other. If the person being towed is
a skier, he or she must ski safely within their abilities. Keep in
mind that a skier can be charged with reckless operation!
No recreational towing activities are permitted between
sunset and sunrise.
Anyone being towed behind a boat must wear a securely
fastened US COAST GUARD approved PFD. Type III PFD's
that are strength tested for water skiing are the best for
A boat engaged in towing a person(s) receives no special
consideration under the Rules of the Road. They must give68