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WI Waterskiing Rules


Asmodeus2112

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"When a vessel is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, or other device, the operator must have another competent person on board to act as an observer."

What is a "Competent person?" Do you think my 8 year old would qualify?

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This is what Cal. law has to say "When using a boat to tow a person on water skis or an aquaplane, there must

be in the boat, in addition to the operator, one other person who can observe

the person being towed. The observer must be at least 12 years of age."

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This is what Cal. law has to say "When using a boat to tow a person on water skis or an aquaplane, there must

be in the boat, in addition to the operator, one other person who can observe

the person being towed. The observer must be at least 12 years of age."

I've been searching and can't find an age listed anywhere for WI. Wish it was like TX and all you need is a mirror.

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Our local law says something similar to that of WI. After speaking with the DNR, they said the person has to be of reasonable age to know when a person has fallen. That judgement is left to you and your C/O.

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"When a vessel is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, or other device, the operator must have another competent person on board to act as an observer."

What is a "Competent person?" Do you think my 8 year old would qualify?

That's all I see as well:

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/es/enforcement/docs/boatingregs.pdf

I would say with the layout of your boat and the fact that your 8 year old is within two feet of you it should be fine. I would stay in near constant communication with them to be sure they are alert to exactly what is going on behind the boat. Not coloring books or picking at their toes or something. My wife and kids learned a lot about paying attention while having riders this weekend.

Print the pdf and have it in the boat with you. Just in case there is a question at least you have the regs in writing.

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I would say its a go. If the law does not give an age I am with the rest would the child be able to recognize if the skier border is down.

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"When a vessel is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, or other device, the operator must have another competent person on board to act as an observer."

What is a "Competent person?" Do you think my 8 year old would qualify?

Your 8 Year old should be OK as long as he/she has a long enough attention span to watch the skier. Also an 8 year old may be competent to watch 1 skier or intermediate level wake-boarder or surfer ect. but when you start talking advanced level boarding, skiing, or barefooting it may become more dificult for them. Also keep in mind if someone is injured they may need to help, many 8 year old's are very competent others are not, depends on the kid.

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interesting... does competent also mean not intoxicated?

:lol: I have had more close calls and problems with observers then without. The observers were skiers :( just not paying any attention.

When we ski illegal we are paying more attention to the skier and pulling than when there are more people on the boat. I will also say we pull when the lake is very slow. We may be a bit picky but love good water. :biggrin:

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Cool, good advice about printing out the regs in case we need to discuss with the Gestapo. We'll only go out on weekday mornings/evening with low to no traffic, and my 8 year old is pretty good at paying attention. Basically I wouldn't do it unless I felt it was a safe situation (I'll be one of the ones behind the boat!), but safe and legal are not always the same thing.

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I used my kids at ages 5 & 7 never got stopped, also rarely went when the river was busy without an adult or teen along. However both my kids could ski by age 6, it helped that they actually could ski and understood what it was to fall.

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Ok, I am glad you are talking about this today. Next weekend it will be me, my wife and my 3 year old son. I want to get a couple of sets in starting at about 8:30am or 9am. I think we'd be done wakeboarding by 10:30pm. I know for a fact that my 3 year old knows when someone goes down because when I am the driver towing a friend, my son will say, "down dada" when someone falls. This is his fourth season on the boat so he knows when someone falls. I am in Wisconsin where the rules say, "the operator must have another competent person on board to act as an observer." By the way, we ski with a large CIPA mirror (CIPA Mirrors M2022 Extreme-3 Lens Quick Mount: http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=CIPA_Extreme_Mirror&i=33592&r=view&aID=601F4&cID=SHOPPING_33592) so that the driver can always see what is going on behind the boat too.

What do you think?

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Its all going to depend on the DNR agent who stops you. Several years ago I got stopped by the DNR for starting out my daughter in shallow water right by the pier. My spotter was my 3 year old son. The DNR said nothing about the him being a spotter and warned me to start father out. He was very understanding of the fact my wife was standing in the water holding my daughters skis straight and said he understood why I would be starting the young ones out the way I was. He gave me a verbal warning and that was it. Up in my area, the DNR spend most of their time hasseling the PWC's and fishermen. If you get stopped, be respectful, recite the rule and hopefully no problems. BTW, most of the time I ski is in the morning without a spotter and have never had an issue.

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I know people that have dogs that are better observers then people. He still got a ticket, but the dog was accurate. Age should have little to do with it. Many adults are clueless on spotting.

Dwight

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MalibuNation

I know people that have dogs that are better observers then people. He still got a ticket, but the dog was accurate. Age should have little to do with it. Many adults are clueless on spotting.

Dwight

I had to spotters in the boat this past w/e and they weren't watching me ... they were watching their Game Boys, or something similar. I was ticked as I wanted to go slower to do tricks.

I've searched the laws in MI and almost everything is age based, except for the spotter. It has more to do with being able to help someone get back in the boat if need be.

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I know people that have dogs that are better observers then people. He still got a ticket, but the dog was accurate. Age should have little to do with it. Many adults are clueless on spotting.

Dwight

:rofl: I use to take my past Golden Retriever as a spotter and he would let you know as soon as a skier drooped or fell. I always said if I got a ticket I would go to court and fight it.

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I want a competent observer in the boat that can fish someone out of the water should something terrible happen, while the driver does their thing.

I don't think I'd use anyone under 16. Just my $.02

Steve B.

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Its all going to depend on the DNR agent who stops you. Several years ago I got stopped by the DNR for starting out my daughter in shallow water right by the pier. My spotter was my 3 year old son. The DNR said nothing about the him being a spotter and warned me to start father out. He was very understanding of the fact my wife was standing in the water holding my daughters skis straight and said he understood why I would be starting the young ones out the way I was. He gave me a verbal warning and that was it. Up in my area, the DNR spend most of their time hasseling the PWC's and fishermen. If you get stopped, be respectful, recite the rule and hopefully no problems. BTW, most of the time I ski is in the morning without a spotter and have never had an issue.

In Wa that is specifically a legal thing to do. It is called out that you are allowed to tow skiers in /out of the 300 foot from show slow speed zone.

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I ski mostly in WI as well, I have a copy of the regs in my boat.

Have had my kids observe, and no problems, the youngest at the time was about 11. I skied a couple of weeks ago with my sister and her kids they were 5-13 and had more trouble because they were'nt paying close attention.

They're learning and so far the Warden hasn't given us too much grief.

We're at the north end of our chain of lakes and he stays mainly down near the Marina where the crazies are.

If they're trained and can handle the responsibility, I wouldn;t think there would be a problem.

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We ski without a spotter quite often and I have given it thought. If we ever have a problem that would require getting a person out of the water the chance is even with enough people you don't want to just lift someone out so I would flood the boat enough to get the swim platform just under water and slide the person on to the platform. If its so bad you don't want to move the person I would isolate the body and leave them in the water and move them to shore for more help.

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