If you love to spend time on your boat, then Milwaukee is one of the best places you can live. Wisconsin has hundreds of lakes with boat launches, and actually holds the title of “Show Ski Capital of the World” due to the huge amounts of water skiing shows and contests our state hosts.
But whether you are a seasoned water skier, or are ready to learn this new skill, there are a few things you need to know.
Top 5 Water Ski Safety Tips
Wear a life vest and make sure your equipment is in good condition. A life vest is essential for any skier, and there are many different types to choose from. The United States Coast Guard recommends a Type III personal flotation device because they are designed so that the life vest does not interfere with skiing. In addition to wearing a life vest, you should make sure the towrope you are using is not frayed and that the skis are not broken or damaged in any way.
Know the hand signals. Did you know there are specific hand signals for water skiing? For example, a thumbs up signal means the skier wants to go faster and a thumbs down signal means to slow down. If the skier wants to return to the dock or the boat, the skier should pat one hand on his or her head. After a fall, a skier should always signal to the observer that he or she is okay by holding both arms together above the head. Using these signals will help to ensure the safety of the skier and of others.
Ski in groups of three. When one person is driving the boat and pulling a skier, there should always be a third person on the boat keeping an eye on the skier. The driver of the boat needs to be able to pay attention to the surrounding area and stay focused on driving the boat. The lookout or observer on the boat is in charge of making sure the skier is safe and should watch for hand signals from the skier.
Be aware of your surroundings. If the lake where you are skiing has other boat traffic, swimmers, or piers, the driver of the boat should remember to keep the skier a safe distance from any obstacles.
Falling is inevitable, so be prepared. If the skier knows he or she is going to fall, it is best to fall backward to avoid falling onto the skis. Once you are in the water, you should hold one ski up about halfway out of the water. This will allow the observer on your boat to see you and will make you more visible to other boats on the water. If the skier is going to re-enter the boat, make sure the engine is turned off so the skier can board without going near the propeller.
Additional Boating and Ski Safety Tips:
- When the boat changes direction, the skier will not turn in the same path as the boat and will generally make a wider turn.
- The boat operator should make sure that any maneuvers will not put the skier in danger.
- Skiing and boating should be avoided in shallow water.
- Remember some lakes have rules on the direction boats should travel as well as no wake rules after a certain time. Before going skiing, make sure to check the rules of the lake.
Make no exceptions when it comes to skiing safety. Serious boating injuries rarely occur when you have made safety your habit and routine practice. Take the time to review these rules and procedures with your boating partners, and enjoy a fun-filled season on the many Milwaukee area lakes.
Do you have any skiing tips or boating safety information to share? Let us know in the comments!
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