It is always great for a family to spend a weekend boating. Everyone can relax in the sun and have fun at the same time. Some interesting activities include tubing, water skiing or kneeboarding, yet it is necessary to understand how to do them safely. Below are some safety tips for you to remember.
Always have a spotter. The spotter must watch the skier at all times and notify the driver as soon as the person lets go of the towline or falls. It is illegal to tow someone without an appropriate spotter. You can be stopped and ticketed if you don’t have a spotter or if your spotter is too young. Spotters need to be over the age of 12 or 14, depending on local laws.
Outfit the water-skier in a life jacket. Every person pulled behind a boat must wear a life jacket, regardless of age or abilities. Life jackets must fit snugly and be in good condition.
Inspect the towing equipment. Make sure your water-ski towline is in good condition by looking for fraying or damage to the handle. Check that water-skis aren’t broken in any way and that bindings fit securely around every skier’s feet. If you’re using a tube or kneeboard, inspect it for any damage it may have incurred in storage. For a safe boating experience, use the equipment properly. For example, don’t put more people on a tube than is safely recommended.
Secure the towline. Make sure the line is tied securely so waves and movements by the skier don’t cause it to loosen. Secure the towline to a ski ring on the stern (back end) or center boom (a long, supportive handle), not on any other structure.
Keep the towline clear of the propeller. Before you turn the boat on, make sure the towline and the skier are clear of the propeller. Once cleared, slowly motor away from the skier to pull the line taut.
Point straight ahead. Before you get under way, make sure the towline and steering wheel are both pointed straight. If you take off with either of those turned, the skier will be unable to stand up. Once you’re pointing straight ahead, engage the throttle and put the boat in gear for a second to eliminate any slack in the line.
Push the throttle all the way down. Once you receive the go signal from the skier, push the throttle all the way down. You need the rapid acceleration to help the skier pop out of the water, but you can quickly settle into a cruising speed.
Steer clear of obstructions. Always avoid other vessels and objects in the water when you tow a skier behind a boat. Remember, you have a person tethered approximately 70 feet behind you, so you can’t quickly maneuver around obstructions. Keep ample space around you and the person you’re towing at all times.
Maneuver slowly when picking the skier up. Motor up slowly to a downed skier. Try to take notice of the wind and waves. You want to approach the person downwind so that if you start to drift, you move closer to the person rather than farther away. It’s also important that you don’t drive in reverse toward the skier, as your view could be blocked.
Once you are near the skier in the water, turn off the engine completely. This fundamental element of safe boating ensures the skier doesn’t come in contact with the propeller.
Towing water-skiers behind your boat is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Once you’ve reviewed and practiced some of these maneuvers, go have fun! If you’re interested, you can find more boating safety tips to ensure an enjoyable and safe time on the water.
Additionally, make sure you have the proper year-round boat coverage, which helps protect you from costs associated with damage to your boat. If you’re interested in getting a quote on boat insurance, contact Nationwide Insurance.
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