A Guide to Watersport Safety
Watersports have come a long way over the years. As boats get more powerful and technology continues to advance (just check out the Crownline Surf Series for proof), athletes can perform more and more impressive feats. Of course, these stunts can also become more dangerous if proper safety measures are not followed. Today, we’re going to go over some watersport safety tips. Remember, these are just general guidelines. Always check your state’s boating laws before heading out on the water.
Keep a Clear Head
It’s illegal and dangerous to participate in watersports while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Do not, under any circumstances, go skiing, boarding, surfing or tubing while intoxicated. It’s also illegal to drive a boat while intoxicated. Please be responsible.
Follow the Rules
When participating in watersports, follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone in the boat and on the water.
- Do not perform watersports in congested areas
- Stay away from navigation markers
- Stay away from other crafts, swimmers and watersport participants
- Return immediately to a fallen watersport participant
- Regularly inspect watersport equipment to ensure its safety
- Be considerate of fishermen and everyone who shares the water
- Never climb, sit on, ride or dive from wakeboard towers or hardtops
Remember, three people are needed for safe watersport towing: a driver, spotter and participant. You should always have a rear-facing spotter on board to inform the driver of what’s happening behind the craft. Additionally, never allow anyone near the propeller, even when the engine is off. Propeller blades are sharp and can continue to spin and be dangerous after the motor is cut. And of course, everyone on the boat and in the water needs to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
Watch Your Lines
Make sure your ski and tow lines are in good condition and keep an eye on them throughout the day. Lines can get tangled in the propeller resulting in serious engine problems. Lines can also get wrapped around body parts and cause injury or trap people against the boat. Make sure they’re visible and untangled at all times.
It’s the driver and spotter’s responsibility to keep a watchful eye on both the surroundings and the participant. It’s the skier, boarder or surfer’s responsibility to effectively communicate to the driver and spotter. Here are common hand signals that will clearly communicate what to do in every situation. Memorize and practice the signals regularly, especially with children.
After taking all the necessary precautions, let loose and practice your skills. As soon as you catch some air or whip up a good wake, all the safety equipment and regulations seem like a small price to pay for a thrilling day on the lake.