Chapter 4 X Personal Watercraft
To Tow a Water Skier Behind a PWC You should not tow a skier with any PWC smaller than a three-person model, which can hold the operator, the observer and a skier. You must have an observer on board who is at least 12 years old. The skier and all persons on board must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. The observer must display a red or orange signal flag (at least 12 inches on each side) to indicate a: » Downed skier » Skier in the water preparing to ski » Ski line extended from the personal watercraft » Ski in the water near the personal watercraft You should know the standard water ski hand signals in order to communi cate with the skier and those on board. Be aware that your PWC will handle differently when towing a skier. It’s against the law to operate a PWC or tow a skier between sunset and sunrise. Returning to Shore Check your speed. Slow to the lowest possible speed as you approach the landing site. Check the water depth. Be ready to get off the watercraft and push it ashore or to its mooring site. Fueling You should fuel your PWC while it’s on the trailer in the parking lot, or at a gas station. If you need to add fuel to the personal watercraft on the beach, it’s important to take all necessary precautions to prevent spilling fuel. Pull the PWC up on the beach as far as possible so that accidentally spilled fuel will not go directly into the water. Wrap a rag around the opening to the gas pipe and pour the gas in very slowly. When you hear or see that the tank is nearly full, stop pouring the gas. Do not overfill, because gasoline expands as it warms. Never top off when fueling on a beach, because this is the most common way spills occur. Replace the cap tightly when you’re done. Air the rag until it is dry or store it in a covered metal container. For more detailed information on water skiing, see Chapter 3.
CAUTION When operating a PWC:
f Take frequent breaks. f Avoid tunnel vision—look around for other boats, swimmers, and water skiers, not just straight ahead. f Drink water or soft drinks, instead of alcohol.
Before you restart your PWC, it’s very important to ventilate the engine compartment for at least four minutes, to release any gas fumes that may have settled and may explode.
California Course for Safe Boating
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