Using a Spotter / Observer

Over the years I’ve read and heard of too many sad stories due to lack of experienced driver & spotter in the boat. Pulling a tube or water skier is a potentially dangerous undertaking, one that many feel requires little to no skill. How often has someone said to me “I’ll drive for you” to which almost always I say “thank you, no thank you”.

What can go wrong ? (known because I’ve heard of, seen this go wrong)Lake Shannon Fenton Michigan water skiers paradise

  • Idle boat can be bumped into reverse and run over people – enter and exit from the side of the platform – driver AND spotter need to make sure boat is locked in neutral when driver moves from seat – spotter needs experience and instructions so driver may remain in seat.
  • Person in water at risk being hit by others – park boat between person in water and oncoming traffic flow
  • Person in water may have rope around body/neck – spotter should feed out line slowly to tight before take off
  • Person in tow swings to side and hits dock/ raft/ oncoming traffic – keep boat AT LEAST rope length from hazzards…people roll over the water when the fall off tube or ski
  • Sundown/ sunup / dusk hard to see person in water – you can’t see others and they can’t see you – extreme extra caution
  • Too much traffic causes collisions – there are no traffic lights but there are speed limits and right of ways and safe distance to shore, these are minimum cautions.
  • Jacket falls off tuber when the fly off tube – you make sure they are in tight
  • Multi tube collisions – I’ve seen all sorts of tube collisions that include earrings tearing  ears, bruises, and other painful things I’ll leave unmentioned.
  • Sitting in water waiting for boat return – lift a ski to become more visible.
  • Confusion in the boat – same as in a car, a distraction and to the driver and danger to many; leave some folks on shore for a later trip.
  • Skiers: consider yoga in the on and off season.

Do you have tips to add ? Please leave in comments.

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