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onwi

Potential Wisconsin Mirror Law

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onwi

Wisconsin currently requires a "competent person" as a third for all tow sport activities. I know I'm not the only one who has had this law keep my boat out of the water on one of the good weather days in our short season. Thankfully, both the State Senate and Assembly have bills to amend the current law to allow for a wide view mirror exception to the competent person requirement. I've linked both Senate Bill 180 and Assembly Bill 256 below.

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/sb180

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/ab256

It appears SB180 is through committee. AB256 seems to have hit a snag in the Committee for Tourism. I am currently part of a group of people who are contacting both the chair and co-chair of the Assembly's Tourism Committee to voice support for the changes.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/committees/assembly/1414

If you have a spare minute and are interested please send along an email to support the measure. From what I have read the mirror exemption has not been a safety issue in Minnesota, which has a boating culture and environmental restrictions quite similar to Wisconsin.

Email for committee chair: [email protected]

Email for committee vice-chair [email protected]

Thanks.

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oldjeep

Would be nice, we are in violation of that law almost every time we go to my folks place in WI. That being said, I'm glad that it is very rare to see someone towing a tube without a spotter. It is quite different to be running in a straight line while glancing at a mirror than to be running in circles where there is almost no chance you are going to see your people getting ejected.

Now if WI would modify their sunset law to match the MN law - skiing allowed 1 hour after sunset

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minnmarker

That's great if it gets passed! I'm a Minnesota resident with a lake home in Wisconsin. Several years ago, unaware of Wisconsin's law, I was out with a friend getting ready for some slalom runs. A DNR officer was sitting in his boat watching us. We did a run and stopped and he came up and gave us a ticket. Thanks jerk. He could have informed us before the fact.

Anyway, I'll be contacting both of those legislators.

Thanks!

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Sixball

:thumbup: I wish Michigan would look at its law. We do ski without a spotter quite often but we do pick times that are slow. But then you won't find me out even with a spotter if its busy. What for?

And ya we have been busted by the DNR.

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Nitrousbird

Ohio requires a spotter. You can spot me in the mirror.

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Sethro

I'd love to see this in Illinois as well. However, I don't see it ever happening.

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Jimmypooh

I'd love to see this in Illinois as well. However, I don't see it ever happening.

I doubt it too especially given the death of the senator's nephew a few years ago. On the Chain I wouldn't really want it unless it was only allowed from sunrise until 10am. The middle of the day is too crazy not to have a spotter.

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Bill_AirJunky

While I have ridden with just 2 people, I don't usually advise it. If your both experienced riders & you have a good mirror & there is no one else on the water, then I'm good with it.

But if the rider ever goes down hard & is injured, what is the likelihood that the other person will be able to get them back in the boat & handle everything without a problem or delay?

As a rider who only has one other person in the boat, do you hold back & only do your regular run? Or do you throw down as hard as ever?

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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braindamage

Would be nice, we are in violation of that law almost every time we go to my folks place in WI. That being said, I'm glad that it is very rare to see someone towing a tube without a spotter. It is quite different to be running in a straight line while glancing at a mirror than to be running in circles where there is almost no chance you are going to see your people getting ejected.Now if WI would modify their sunset law to match the MN law - skiing allowed 1 hour after sunset

+1 on the sunset law. I don't have issue with the spotter law cuz I think it's safe. I've only ski'd once with no spotter..."back in the day" and when I wiped out I hit my head on the ski and was knocked cold. The driver went for about 1/2 mile before realizing I was off and took a while to come back. Luckily I was face up in the water or I wouldn't be typing this.

Safety first. Not kidding

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oldjeep

+1 on the sunset law. I don't have issue with the spotter law cuz I think it's safe. I've only ski'd once with no spotter..."back in the day" and when I wiped out I hit my head on the ski and was knocked cold. The driver went for about 1/2 mile before realizing I was off and took a while to come back. Luckily I was face up in the water or I wouldn't be typing this.

Safety first. Not kidding

I'd say that 90% of the time I ski it is only with my driver (wife or father in-law) with skiing behind a dd or vd if you can't tell just by the feel of the boat that your skier isn't there then you don't have any business driving a ski boat.

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jaciche

Would be nice, we are in violation of that law almost every time we go to my folks place in WI. That being said, I'm glad that it is very rare to see someone towing a tube without a spotter. It is quite different to be running in a straight line while glancing at a mirror than to be running in circles where there is almost no chance you are going to see your people getting ejected.

Now if WI would modify their sunset law to match the MN law - skiing allowed 1 hour after sunset

What?! That would be awesome! I may have to look into moving to MN. I would proudly broadcast my loyalty to the Green Bay Packers then :)

I agree with rednucleus, there's many wally's that would not pay attention to their skier in tow and I believe this law would lead to more boating accidents. Sorry to be a debbie downer, but I don't support that. If I see an experienced driver like that group of people that are usually out skiing with us in the morning and they don't have a spotter, that's just fine. I have no problem with that because of the reduced traffic and I can almost guarantee they have an abundance of experience driving. But, once 10:00 on a weekend comes around, it's a whole different story around here.

Edited by jaciche

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Sixball

I trust the people I ski with, well without a spotter. I will also say when we ski you know if you have a skier up. We do ski hard and if you are resting you are directly behind the boat not out on the side. We also all have DD comp boats so do get a lot of feed back in the boat.

We have had three close calls in the last fifteen plus years and all occurred with adult spotters! Its easy to depend on a spotter if you have them. If not you know you are responsible so you stay alert to the skier. We follow a lot of safety, Boat is always shut down with a skier getting in or out of the water. The boat only starts after a skier calls clear. I find its easy for spotters to get into conversation and not pay as much attention. Not as bad with only one spotter.

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Gavin17

Traffic is the big variable here. Early AM runs when we're the only ones on the lake no spotter is fine. Except last year the early riser DNR officer didn't agree.

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Kalamazoo

Unfortunately, there are an abundance of boat owners out there that probably have no business being on the water - especially w/o a spotter. So while the law is fine for the Bu Crew, please consider all the other stupid humans on our waterways (sorry, hate to be a kill joy)

can you imagine the weekend tubing warriors without spotters? Better yet...jet skiers pulling tubes...There'd be random kids strewn across lakes everywhere and many collision close calls.

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justgary

can you imagine the weekend tubing warriors without spotters? Better yet...jet skiers pulling tubes...There'd be random kids strewn across lakes everywhere and many collision close calls.

Yes, I can. I live in Florida, where a mirror has been fine ever since I can remember. We have a lot of people who rent or buy boats who have no business using one. Jetskis pulling tubes, the whole deal. We just don't have the problems that you all predict.

It's the same with gun laws. All the gloom and doom hypothications fly loose and fast, but nobody actually looks at data from states with laws similar to the desired one. People are generally more safe than you would expect.

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onwi

Yes, I can. I live in Florida, where a mirror has been fine ever since I can remember. We have a lot of people who rent or buy boats who have no business using one. Jetskis pulling tubes, the whole deal. We just don't have the problems that you all predict.

It's the same with gun laws. All the gloom and doom hypothications fly loose and fast, but nobody actually looks at data from states with laws similar to the desired one. People are generally more safe than you would expect.

This is exactly how I feel. If Wisconsin were the first state to introduce the mirror law I would agree with more discussion/study/restrictions. But mirrors are being used in Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri.... Seems like enough evidence for me.

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RedOwl

Wisconsin currently requires a "competent person" as a third for all tow sport activities. I know I'm not the only one who has had this law keep my boat out of the water on one of the good weather days in our short season. Thankfully, both the State Senate and Assembly have bills to amend the current law to allow for a wide view mirror exception to the competent person requirement. I've linked both Senate Bill 180 and Assembly Bill 256 below.

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/sb180

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/ab256

It appears SB180 is through committee. AB256 seems to have hit a snag in the Committee for Tourism. I am currently part of a group of people who are contacting both the chair and co-chair of the Assembly's Tourism Committee to voice support for the changes.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/committees/assembly/1414

If you have a spare minute and are interested please send along an email to support the measure. From what I have read the mirror exemption has not been a safety issue in Minnesota, which has a boating culture and environmental restrictions quite similar to Wisconsin.

Email for committee chair: [email protected]

Email for committee vice-chair [email protected]

Thanks.

As you move forward with contacting committee members, keep in mind that Representative Mursau is an incredibly active member of a water ski team and has been in and around the world of recreational boating for decades. I believe there have been over 5 generations of Mursaus involved with that particular team, and there are at least three still active to this day.

As a member of the committee I would encourage you to encourage him to be an outspoken advocate on the committee, despite not being a cosigner of the bill.

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Woodski

Looks like this thread topic is hitting many of the watersports passionate forums. I am fortunate enough to be able to ski on a course only lake where no spotter is required and really appreciate that opportunity, I have also been in the situation of plucking an injured skier out of the water and was glad there were 2 fully capable (one being a ski patroller) and strong people to tend to the situation (strained neck so keeping person relatively immobile was important). One reason to like the Carbon Pro equipped with a backboard, we used a wakeboard.

I have watched the scenario's noted above, kids on a jet ski pulling tubes, spotters not paying any attention and actually being distracting, boat captains looking behind rather than where they should be and wonder how the human race is as lucky as we are.

Regulations are not really created for responsible people, they are created to minimize the non-responsible from hurting themselves or others. IMO legislation to eliminate the spotter should also include at a minimum the operator must have completed a (proper) boating safety class & perhaps first aid training. Current Michigan law allows no spotter if you meet the criteria (proper driver certification & actively practicing for a tournament + large mirror).

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Indyxc

:thumbup: I wish Michigan would look at its law. We do ski without a spotter quite often but we do pick times that are slow. But then you won't find me out even with a spotter if its busy. What for?

And ya we have been busted by the DNR.

What's the Michigan penatly for no spotter? I heard just a 50 dollar fine, without court appearance?

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minnmarker

Regulations are not really created for responsible people, they are created to minimize the non-responsible from hurting themselves or others. IMO legislation to eliminate the spotter should also include at a minimum the operator must have completed a (proper) boating safety class & perhaps first aid training.

I agree! A boating safety course is much more important than a spotter. All my (adult) kids, their spouses, me, and my wife have all completed the Wisc. boater safety course. It is a good and non-trivial course - and even gets me an insurance discount. The reason we did it in the first place was so the "kids" could ride the Wave Runners. Under Wisc. law they have to take the course to operate a PWC if they were born after 1988. It made all of us more careful and informed drivers. I think anyone towing anybody on anything should have to take the course.

I sure would like to get out more often on smooth water in the morning and not needing a spotter would help that a lot.

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oldjeep

As I recall, the wi requirement is an online open book test. My kids also have WI permits so that they can drive the jet ski at the lake place.

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Gavin17

What's the Michigan penatly for no spotter? I heard just a 50 dollar fine, without court appearance?

Indiana's Fine is 130....

.... I heard :innocent:

Some glass mornings I'd risk it for 50 but I'm guessing the DNR guy wouldn't be pleased if you accepted the ticket and kept on skiing.

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Sixball

I pulled my paper work $160.00 after all fees. Worth every penny. ;)

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SeanQ

It's a $175 ticket in WI right now. Also worth every penny.

The WI SB180 also requires a life jacket to be worn by the skier when there is no spotter in the boat. I think that alone makes it safer than having a spotter and no life jacket, so it's a win-win in my book, safer and easier to get out there.

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