There's Great Water Skiing in Florida
Water skiing in Florida is enjoyed on freshwater lakes and inland
waterways as well as the Intracoastal Waterway. Along with being towed
on a tube or kneeboard, water skiing is very popular with boaters. These
activities are both fun and challenging.
Central Florida is a popular water skiing
Cypress Gardens, Florida's first
theme park was set beside a huge cypress tree-lined lake and calls itself
the water ski capitol of the world. The park offered breathtaking
and dramatic shows. Cypress Gardens is now a part of Legoland Florida and although
the water skiing shows have been removed the beautiful botanical gardens are still available to enjoy.
Regulations from the FWC.
- Have a second person onboard to act
as an observer.
- Review hand signals with the skier
to ensure proper communication.
- Make sure the skier is wearing a
U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD designed for water skiing. Keep in
mind that ski belts are not U.S. Coast Guard approved. A PFD with a
high impact rating is recommended.
- Be familiar with the area. Be aware
of any hazards such as shallow water or objects such as rocks or
bridge pilings in the water.
- Keep the skier a safe distance from
hazards and the shoreline - a safe distance is at least twice the
length of the tow rope.
- Make sure the tow lines are of the
same length if towing multiple skiers.
- Never ski at night. It is both
hazardous and illegal.
towing a skier, the operator should:
- Start the engine, making sure that
no one in the water is near the propeller.
- Start the boat slowly until the ski
rope is tight. When the skier is ready and there is no traffic
ahead, take off in a straight line with enough power to raise the
skier out of the water. Once the skier is up, adjust the speed
according to the signals given by the skier.
- Avoid congested areas, beaches,
docks, and swimming areas. Water skiing takes a lot of room. Some
areas may have designated traffic patterns.
- Maintain a sharp lookout for other
boats and obstructions in the water. Let the observer watch the
- Always respond to the skier's
signals. If you need to turn the boat, signal the skier of your
- Once the skier has dropped or
fallen, circle the skier slowly either to return the tow line to the
skier or to pick the skier up. Always keep the skier in view and on
the operator's side of the boat. Some states require a red or orange
flag to be displayed to alert other boats that a skier is down.
- To avoid propeller injuries, always
shut off the engine before allowing the skier to board the boat.
Once the skier is onboard, retrieve the tow line unless pulling
the water, the skier should:
- Wear a PFD. You never know when a
fall will knock you unconscious.
- Learn to use hand signals.
- Never ski under the influence of
drugs or alcohol. This is illegal and extremely dangerous because of
the damage to your judgment and reflexes.
- Never spray swimmers, boats or other
skiers. Such activity is illegal, dangerous, and discourteous.
- Never wrap any part of the tow rope
around your body.
- Always hold a ski up out of the
water after falling or after dropping the rope so that the boat
operator and other boats can see you.
- Never approach the back of the boat
unless the engine has been shut off. Otherwise you could be
seriously injured by the boat's propeller.
Signals for Skiers
Back to dock
Skier down - watch!
More Skiing Safety
The operator of a vessel towing
someone on skis or another aquaplaning device must either have an
observer, in addition to the operator, on board who is attendant to the
actions of the skier or have and use a wide-angle rearview mirror.
No one may ski or aquaplane between the
hours of 1/2 hour past sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
No one may water ski or use another
aquaplaning device unless they are wearing a USCG approved type I, II,
III or non-inflatable type V personal flotation device. Inflatable PFDs
No one may ski or use another
aquaplaning device while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
The operator of a vessel towing a
skier may not pull the skier close enough to a fixed object or another
vessel that there is risk of collision.
Towlines should be inspected for wear,
fraying, cuts and unnecessary knots before and after each use.
The rope should be replaced if it shows
wear before it breaks.
text on this page provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation