Towing a skier on a boat is one of the most fun activities in boating.
Sometimes, though, a boat is towing two skiers at the same time. How long should the tow lines be?
It’s a critical question to answer when you need to do the towing right.
On that note, we’ve provided a brief detail on towing skiers and the safety measures.
Please walk with me in this short article as we deliberate on this matter.
READ NEXT: How Long Should a Tow Rope Be For a Boat?
How Long Should The Tow Lines Be When Towing Two Skiers at The Same Time?
The tow lines should be of equal lengths when towing two skiers simultaneously. This factor remains constant, even if you tow more than two skiers.
Additionally, the tow board sizes and weights should be the same for all skiers you’re towing concurrently.
Failure to provide tow lines of the same length could lead to a skier being cloth-lined by another skier on a long line.
After ensuring the tow lines are of equal lengths, you should focus on pre-towing safety guidelines.
What Should You Do Before Towing a Skier?
Before the whole towing experience gets exciting, it’s essential to keep a few things in check.
Observing each of the following steps before towing a skier will reduce the likelihood of accidents or injury:
- Call on an Observer.
It would be best if you had an extra hand to observe the situation at sea while you operate the boat.
Brief your observer on their responsibilities:
- Ensuring the skiers are safe
- Reporting any potential danger to you
- Review Hand Signals
Go through the standard hand signals for water-skiing beforehand. These signals are meant to allow the operator, observer, and skier to communicate while the activity is ongoing.
Familiarize with the signals together with your observer and skiers to avoid shouting through the noise of the waves and the motor. Such noise may prevent you from passing information along.
- Wear a PFD
It’s critical for all skiers to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD. There are special PFDs for water-skiing.
You need high impact flotation devices to prevent severe injuries.
- Familiarize Yourself with The Area
Checking out the area before boating will help you identify hazards you can steer clear of. While doing this, map out your path and avoid crowded waterways with too many boats and people.
- Watch The Time
It’s illegal to tow a skier at night, or when it’s getting dark in some places. The search effort would have been a lot harder if anything were to happen while you were out on the water.
It’s thus important to schedule the activity when there’s still daylight to spare.
What Should You Do While Towing a Skier?
After taking the pre-towing guidelines, there are more to consider during the actual activity.
Here are things to do while towing a skier:
- Ensure nobody is near your boat’s propeller before starting your motor engine.
- Start pulling away slowly until the ski rope goes straight. Wait for the water skier to signal you to move with speed, and after getting a clean line of sight in a straight line.
- You can adjust the speed when the skier stands upright, depending on the signals they give you.
- Keep the skiers at least twice the length of the towing rope from any hazards such as the shore line, other boats, and water users.
- Avoid towing water skiers in areas where there might be congestion. Towing needs a lot of room, and some lakes may have areas just for you.
- Keep a keen eye on anything that may obstruct you and the skier. The observer’s work at the back is to watch the skier you’re towing.
- Give prompt responses to the skier, and signal them before making a turn.
- If the skier falls into the water, circle them slowly to help them reach the tow-rope. Avoid approaching them from behind, and always keep them to the side of your boat console where you can see them.
- Obtain a skier-down flag, as it is a requirement in some US states.
- Switch off your boat engine before letting the skier climb back to the boat. That reduces the chance of a propeller strike injury.
- Wait for the skiers to get back on your boat before picking up the tow rope unless you’re towing two skiers simultaneously.
How Long Should a Tow Line Be for Water Skiing?
75 feet is the ideal water ski rope length for an average skier. You can do better with 50-70 feet at the beginner stage, but a 75-85 feet rope makes the perfect length for advanced skiers.
But you’ll need different types of lengths for
The average length is the most crucial consideration in this case. A ski rope had the ski rope, a handle, and a bridle.
The average length for ski handles is 5 feet. A single handle contains two sections of rope that link to a loop, attaching to the ski rope.
Skiing behind an outboard engine requires a bridle. You need the device to keep the rope away from the propeller.
You can get a ski rope that has adjustment loops built in. These loops help you to adjust the length of the rope hassle-free.
I find this helpful when pulling people of varying abilities. Having several wakeboarders and skiers on the boat is also necessary.
The adjustable rope allows everyone to have their ideal rope length for their abilities and skiing style.
Considerations for Water Skiing Rope Length
The size of the ski rope length can make or break a fun experience on the water. The following 8 tips are golden when choosing the correct length of ski rope:
- What type of skier are you? (Beginner, intermediate, or expert)
- Do you plan on slalom or two skis?
- What else will you be doing apart from water skiing? May include wakeboarding, knee boarding, or tubing.
- What’s the size of your boat?
- Do you prefer an adjustable or non-adjustable ski rope?
- Will you be teaching someone how to ski?
- How much weight do you need to pull?
- Will other people be skiing with you?
What Area is The Safest for Towing a Skier?
While the exhilaration of being pulled behind the boat can be great fun, you should always stay alert for the dangers likely to happen in that event.
Apart from observing the area to ensure there are no obstructions or traffic, it is equally essential to consider the safety of your towing area.
As a general rule of thumb, moving further into the ocean or lake provides the best room for towing skiers. You get a better experience towards the center of the lake than at the shores.
There could be swimmers to slow you down close to the shores. Towing at the shores could also be dangerous due to the lower depth of the waters.
When selecting a safe area to tow a skier, go for that which provides at least 100 feet of open water on each side of the boat. The area should also have 3,000 feet of unobstructed waterway in front of the boat and no in-the-water obstructions such as docks, pilings, rocks, and speed signs.
State laws have restrictions on towing areas. Kindly check your state and local laws and ordinances before towing.
When stopping, ensure you do it in the right place with no obstructions. Slow down gradually to stop at the same speed as the towable device.
Towing is an enjoyable activity. But there are general rules to observe to make the experience safe and fulfilling.
Read the safety guidelines and check your State and local laws regarding towing to avoid doing it against the law.
Implement the guidelines we’ve shared in this article to avoid injury or accident when towing skiers.