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Water Sport Safety Tips

The summer boating season is upon us, which means that San Diego’s waterways will be teeming with water skiers, wake boarders and tubers. While all of these water sports are great fun, it is important to always keep safety in mind.

Every year, thousands of water skiers and wake boarders are treated in emergency departments across the United States, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. While the most common injuries for water skiers are sprains and stains, wake boarders are susceptible to traumatic brain injuries. In addition, anyone being towed by a boat can suffer serious injury or death in a collision with another boat or structure.

While tubing may seem to be the safest water sport, injuries have skyrocketed 250 percent over the past two decades. A recent study revealed that 83 percent of those injuries occurred during the warmer months and more than 65 water tubing related injuries are treated in U.S. hospitals every day during the summer.

To stay safe this summer, water skiers, wake boarders, and tubers should follow all California laws. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • California law provides that anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a Type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Be sure to follow speed limits. The maximum speed for boats is 5 MPH within 100 ft. of a swimmer, and within 200 ft. of a bathing beach frequented by swimmers, a swimming float, a diving platform, or a passenger landing.
  • California law requires there to be at least two persons aboard a boat towing a water skier, wake boarder or tuber: the operator, and an observer 12 years of age or older.
  • State law also prohibits the towing of water skiers, wake boarders and tubers from sunset to sunrise.
  • It is unlawful to water ski, wake board or tube or operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.