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Boat towed watersports include activities that involve being towed by a boat or riding in or on the wake of a boat, such as waterskiing, wake surfing, kneeboarding, and tubing. Participants are required to wear a USCG-approved life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are not acceptable for anyone towed behind a boat. Refer to the PA Boating Handbook for more.


    • In addition to the operator, a competent observer (someone who can assess hand signals, trouble and can help) must be in the boat in a position to observe the progress of the person being towed. 
    • To prevent propeller-related accidents, turn off your engine before picking up boat-towed watersports participants from the water.
    • Boat-towed watersports are prohibited between sunset and sunrise.
    • Boat-towed watersport participants are also considered passengers and count in the boat’s total capacity. Maintain a safe carrying capacity. It's the law. 
    • Do not operate a motorboat at any speed with a person or persons sitting, riding, or hanging on a swim platform (teak surfing) or swim ladder attached to the motorboat, except when launching, retrieving, docking, or anchoring the motorboat.
    • Tow ropes for skiers and other tow devices must measure more than 20 feet (as measured from the boat’s transom). The minimum tow rope length does not apply to wake surfing.
    • It is legal to tow more than one boat-towed device except when locally prohibited. Tow ropes may not exceed established lengths. 
    • Boats engaged in the activity of wake surfing are limited to slow, no-wake speed when within 200 feet of the shoreline, docks, launch ramps, swimmers, downed skiers, or other boat-towed watersports participants, persons wading in the water, anchored, moored, or drifting boats, and other marked areas. 
    • Motorboats propelled by an outboard motor, inboard/outboard motor or water jet are prohibited from towing a person in or on the wake of the boat.