A Course for Safe Boating
Accident Prevention and Rescue
If the skier is re-entering the boat, the operator should turn the engine
off before the skier comes on board. You may be able to leave the engine
on if your boat design has the propeller a good distance away from the
skier. For instance, many boats specially designed for water skiing have
a swim step on the stern and a propeller that is mounted amidships. In
either case, the water skier should be brought into the boat over the stern.
A person had just finished skiing and was sitting on the swim step of a
vessel, pulling in the ski line. The ski flag was raised, as there was still a
ski line in the water. A second vessel came very close to this vessel at a
high rate of speed and ran over the ski rope, which became caught in the
propeller. The line then broke, and snapped back, striking the person on the
swim step in the stomach and leg. She sustained third degree burns and a
1. Identify the mistakes that the people made and the proper actions they
could have taken.
2. What could this person have done differently to prevent this accident?
3. What steps could you take to rescue the victims and/or make the
oat is put into neutral while
the engine is running, the propeller
may continue to spin for a short time
and cause serious injury. You should
make sure that the propeller is no
longer spinning before allowing a
skier near it.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Adaptive Recreation Center