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Skiing And Wakeboarding Safety Tips For California Boaters


The weather around the Bay Area enables water skiing enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite sport year-round, from the Lower Jones Tract in the California Delta to Discovery Bay, Holland Riverside, and Orwood. However, the upcoming spring and summer months are among the most popular times to get out on the boat. That means the opportunity is ripe to offer reminders on water skiing safety, and statistics from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways should convince you to spare a few moments getting back up to speed. Every year, there are around 45 accidents involving towing sports and recreational activities.

This figure may not seem like a lot, but victims of water skiing, tubing, parasailing, and wakeboarding incidents are at a huge risk of secondary injuries and drownings. You may have legal options due to operator negligence, and an Oakland boating accident lawyer can assist with your remedies. Some safety tips are also crucial for avoiding harm.

Wear the Right PFD

You know to wear a life jacket for safety reasons and compliance with the law. However, your personal flotation device (PFD) should also be the proper size and fit for towing activities. For instance, the familiar orange models that fit over the neck can limit the use of your arms, and they might affect your ability to turn your head. Consider the vest-style life jacket that enables a full range of motion. 

Check Your Gear

It is wise to review your equipment every time you head out for a waterskiing session, so make sure to inspect all ropes, the handles, and fittings on tubes and kneeboards. Of course, your inspection should also include a check of the vessel to ensure it is safe and seaworthy. 

Refresh Your Signals

Individuals on skis, tubes, or other towable equipment must have a way to communicate with the spotter onboard the vessel – who should never be the person operating the boat. Before getting in the water, make sure you are on the same page as far as:

  • Thumb signals to speed up or slow down;
  • Indicating that you want to head back to the dock;
  • The motion for cutting the motor; and,
  • Hand motions for turning. 

Indicate Your Presence After a Fall

Even the most talented water skiers take a split on occasion, so communication is also important after a fall. If you are OK, hold your arms up above your head for the spotter to see. Then, make sure you make your presence known to other boaters by sticking one ski as high above the waterline as possible.

Discuss Legal Options with an Oakland Boating Accident Attorney 

If you were hurt while skiing, wakeboarding, or enjoying other towing sports, please contact Venardi Zurada, LLP to learn more about your remedies. We can set up a free consultation to review your circumstances and explain the laws. Our team serves boating accident victims throughout the Bay Area from our offices in Oakland, and Walnut Creek, CA, so you can trust our team for skilled legal help.



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