Water Ski Safety Tips
MetLife Boat Safety Tips
Safety Tips for Water-skiing
Water-skiing is an exciting and challenging sport. However, like all "fast-action" sports that are fun, it does possess an element of risk.
Many skiers and boaters are not aware of the potential hazards of water-skiing and as a result, are hurt or even killed pursuing this recreational sport. Attention to hazards in the area where you are skiing is especially critical due to the ever growing number of boats out on the water.
The Ski Area
The size of the water area in which you intend to ski determines the number of boats and skiers that can operate within it at the same time. Each boat should be able to maintain a 200 foot wide "ski corridor" (100 feet on either side of the boat). The entire "skiing course" should be at least 2,000 - 3,000 feet long to avoid constant turning and risky maneuvering.
A minimum depth of five to six feet of obstacle-free water is suggested for safe skiing to:
Serious injuries can result from hitting fixed objects such as docks, pilings or stumps. While many areas with obstacles are marked by warning buoys or signs, it is up to the boat operator, observer and skier to be alert to any potential hazards in the skiing area.
Avoid solid objects when landing. Many serious injuries occur when skiers attempt to stop near docks or pilings. Ski only in areas you are familiar with. Consult charts of the area, ask other skiers who possess "local knowledge," and personally drive through the course before you actually ski it.
As a rule, avoid skiing when the water is rough due to high winds. Choppy water demands a greater skill level and causes the skier to fatigue more quickly, often because the tow boat cannot maintain a constant sped. Skiing in the rain is not recommended because of the loss of visibility experienced by the boat operator.
When skiing in cooler weather, be aware of the effects of hypothermia. Loss of body heat leads to a reduction in coordination and judgment. The use of wet suits is an effective way to ward off the chilling effects of wind and cold water.
Safety Tips For Water-Skiers
Don't take unnecessary risks while water-skiing. The following tips will help you safely enjoy this thrilling sport:
Keep away from: Crowded Beaches * Docks * Swimming Areas * Rocks and Bridge Pilings
Retrieving a Skier
Falling down in the water while water-skiing is a common occurrence, especially for beginners. If a skier has fallen or made a water landing, pick them up as soon as possible, since floating skiers are difficult for other boats to see. While waiting to be picked up, the skier should hold up a ski to increase their chances of being recognized in the water.
The boat operator reduces speed immediately while the observer maintains visual contact with the skier and directs the operator. Return to pick up the fallen skier with the boat at reduced speed and headed into the wind or current, whichever is stronger. Always turn off engine when approaching the skier.
The observer is to watch for the skier's signal to indicate the skier is alright. If the signal is not seen, the operator must assume the skier is injured and needs immediate asistance. If the skier is injured but is able to grasp and hold a line, maneuver the boat upwind and close to the injured person. Turn off the engine, throw the injured skier a line and gently haul them in.
If they cannot grasp and hold a line, follow the same procedure, but let the boat drift towards them without power. Always keep the operator's side toward the victim and NEVER retrieve anyone from the water with the engine running. Put a swimmer in the water to retrieve a skier only as a last resort.