Towing safety is a priority for every boat owner. It can be quite tricky, especially if you are alone and have no idea about the safety standards set by your local marine authority. Ignorance about these rules and best practices puts you at risk of penalties as well as accidents.
Safety regulations for towing vary depending on the model of the vessel you own as well as the state you live in. For ski boats, it is important to remember the following towing safety tips for ski boats, particularly during peak seasons:
1. Always have another person onboard while towing.
Safety can only be ensured by having responsible people in charge. For ski boats, a skipper is responsible for the vessel, the people being towed, and everyone else on-board.
2. Maintain distance from other vessels.
Different marine authorities have rules indicating the ideal distance of a towing ski boat with other vessels. In New South Wales, maritime regulations state that a ski boat must maintain at least 30 meters distance from other watercraft.
3. Stay away from swimmers.
Swimmers have a limited vision of their surroundings, especially when they’re underwater. Because of this, it is important to steer clear of them— at least 60 meters, for ski boats in NSW.
4. Your ski boat tow observer must be old enough for the job.
Every ski boat requires a tow observer. Age varies depending on the locale, but the rule of thumb in NSW is that he or she should be at least 16 years old.
5. Ski boat towing should be limited according to maritime regulations.
In NSW, the limit for ski boat towing is set at three people at a time.
6. People responsible for ski boat towing must follow the standard alcohol limit.
The captain of a boat isn’t the only one required to maintain the 0.05 alcohol limit. For ski boats, it is imperative that the skipper, the observer, and those being towed must keep their alcohol intake within the regulated amount.
7. Always wear a lifejacket.
In NSW, the people being towed, the observer, and the boat’s skipper are required by law to always wear a lifejacket while on water.
8. The skipper must maintain a proper lookout.
A skipper is responsible for the safety of people on-board a ski boat. Because of this, he or she is required to maintain a proper lookout.