Boats and Toys - Play it Safe!

Summer is's time to play, but make sure you play it safe!

The following info provides a refresher.

Rules for towing a skier or other pull along.

Obey the following official rules when towing a’s the law:

● A spotter must be in the boat at all times. This must be a different person from the driver so that they can each concentrate on their roles.

● The towing vessel must be equipped with an extra seat for each person that is being towed in case an emergency recovery is necessary

● Only personal watercraft designed to carry three or more people can be used for towing a water-skier

● The person being towed must wear an approved flotation device (a ‘ski belt’ is not considered to be an approved flotation device)

● The towing vessel cannot be operated by remote control

● Do not tow water-skiers between one hour after sunset to sunrise

● It is a criminal offence, as governed by the Criminal Code of Canada, to tow a person after dark.

Safe Boating Tips for pulling water-toys including all skiers, tubers, wake-boarders and rafts.

For starters: check tow ropes for fraying and photo-aging.

  • Tubes and ropes undergo a lot of stresses when used a lot over the course of a summer. The weight of the rider, the drag of the water and power of the boat create a lot of tension on all the points of connection and everything in between. (

  • Additionally it is recommended that tow ropes be buoyant and contain bright colours so that they can easily be seen in the water. Tow ropes must be maintained and should not have any rips or tears in the fabric. Use the appropriate size and type of rope for the activity you are doing.

Both the spotter and the person being towed must understand and be able to communicate using predetermined hand-signals for these standard actions:

● Speed OK

● Turn Left

● Turn Right

● OK

● Retrieval

● Stop

● Slower

● Faster

● Back to dock

For Water skier/wake-boarder etc

  • When ‘dropping off’ a water-skier at the dock, do not run parallel to the shore in shallow water. Keep your distance and let the person swing into shore. This will ensure the person being towed does not hit swimmers, the bottom or any underwater hazards.

For Inflatables:

  • check that connection point for worn or loose threads, tears and other signs of stress that might indicate it won’t last

  • rash guards are a big plus - some are made with long sleeves. Kids’ arms and chests can be rubbed raw during a day of tubing.

And always wear appropriate lifejackets: This includes PFDs and Lifejackets that are approved by Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard or Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Ski belts are not enough to keep adults or children safe.

Additional Tips

  • FIND OPEN WATER. Boat traffic is a fact of life on the water during the busy summer months. It’s largely unavoidable. But if you can find a patch of empty water to call your own while you’re dragging the kiddies around on a tube, so much the better. It’s safer for them and they’ll have more fun.

  • PRACTICE 360-DEGREE AWARENESS. This one comes to us courtesy of motorcycle riders the world over. When you practice 360-degree awareness, you begin to develop a keener sense of not only what’s going on around you, but also what might happen in the coming moments. A PWC might dart out of the corner of your eye into the path of your boat. A water skier might decide to end his ride, toss the rope and ski across the stern of your boat headed for shore because he didn’t see the tube being dragged behind you. Practicing 360-degree awareness is the best way to keep everyone safe, and some of those people might not even be in or behind your boat.