Water Skiing

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Water skiing, a popular sport for powerboat owners, requires extra precautions. Ski boat operators must travel at high speeds and make tight turns, frequent stops, and sudden starts. And skiers are always in the water. At the very least, a water ski team must consist of a boat operator, an observer, and a skier.

People enjoying other activities while being towed by a boat must follow the same rules and guidelines for water skiing. Some of these activities include wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing.

Equipment

^ Check to see that any person being towed behind the vessel is wearing a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. Exceptions: the law does not apply to performers engaged in professional exhibitions, official regattas, marine parades, or tournaments. Any person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course, or barefoot, jump, or trick water skiing, may instead wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket must still be carried on board for each skier choosing to wear a wetsuit. Inflatable personal flotation devices are not approved for use while water skiing.

^ Check to see if a ski flag is on board. The flag must be orange or red and at least 12 inches square or rectangular. You must use this flag to warn other boats about gear or skiers in the water.

^ Check to see that the ski rope is at least 75 feet long.

Safety Rules

^ Check to see that at least three people are present when water skiing— the boat operator, the observer, and the skier.

^ Check to see that you are water skiing at legal times. Remember, water skiing is not allowed from sunset to sunrise.

^ Check to see that water skiers know the correct hand signals.

^ Check to see that the boat operator is at least 16 years old, if unsupervised.

^ Check to see that the observer is at least 12 years old.

^ Check that the ski area is not crowded.

What Are Skier Hand Signals
Water Skiing Hand Signals

CAUTION

If the weather or water is cold, water skiers should wear wet suits under their life jackets. A wet suit also provides padding for protection from falls.

If a water skier falls:

• 1,000 feet in front of a ship sailing at 10 mph, the skier has one minute to get out of the way.

• 500 feet in front of a ship sailing at 10 mph, the skier has

30 seconds to get out of the way.

QUESTION

A water skier falls 1,000 ft. in front of a boat cruising at 20 mph. If the crus-ing boat doesn't see the fallen skier or the raised ski flag, the skier could get hit. How many seconds does the skier have to get out of the way?

spuoDes Q£ :JeMsuy

Team Guidelines

Each member of a water ski team—the boat operator, observer and skier— has an important role to play:

Boat Operator

^ Practices caution to make sure the skier, tow rope and other equipment is well away from the boat's propeller.

^ Looks well ahead for other boats, skiers, the shoreline and other obstructions.

^ Gets information from the observer.

Observer

^ Clearly signals the skier's activity to the boat operator.

^ Raises the signal flag when equipment, such as the ski rope or skis, is in the water.

^ Raises the signal flag when the skier is down in the water for any reason. Skier

^ Knows and uses hand signals to communicate with the observer.

^ Watches for floating debris, other boats, and other obstructions.

^ Raises his skis perpendicular in the water to indicate to other boats that a skier has fallen.

Things you should know:

♦ Do not spray swimmers or boats with boat wake or ski spray.

♦ Do not ski in shallow water or dry land at a dock or beach.

♦ Operate the ski boat in a counter-clockwise direction, unless forbidden by local law.

♦ Avoid making sharp turns in designated traffic areas.

a. When you are in open water b. Between sunset and sunrise c. When no other water skiers are around d. When you are 12 years or older

REVIEW QUESTIONS: Water Skiing

1. It is against the law to water ski: (choose one)

2. Unless otherwise posted, the standard direction to drive a ski boat is counter-clockwise T F

Turn to page 88 for correct answers.

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