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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Safety comes first when choosing where to water ski or wakeboard

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Water skiing and the growing popularity of wakeboarding are more fun if the boat driver and the skier both are assured that they are skiing in a safe area.Selecting a proper area is not hard.The old saying "out of sight, out of mind" applies here since many recreational boaters see only the surface of the water; they're usually not thinking what's below. The same common sense precautions of not diving or jumping into waters without first making sure it is deep enough and has no potential painful objects are the rule here.Here are some tips for safe skiing enjoyment:If you can, check with the lake or waterway authorities regarding the safest areas to ski. Many impoundments and in-land lakes now covered with water were once former forested areas where tree stumps lurk beneath the surface.Skiers need a minimum of five feet deep water for safe skiing. If you're about to ski in an unfamiliar area, searching the waters you intend to ski at low speed sweeps with a sonar type unit can be a big benefit. Many units have programmable water depth alarms to alert for shallow areas or other submerged dangers.The width of the corridor for each boat using the waterway should be 200 feet wide or 100 feet on each side of the boat. The desirable length of the corridor should be from 2,000 to 3,000 feet.Boats towing skiers should give a wide berth to fishermen, either in boats or on shore and slow moving craft like canoes and sailboats.Never ski in or around swimming areas, low-speed mooring lanes or marina channels.The boat driver and observer should always be conscious of not only the skier but also the immediate surrounding waters, especially when there's heavy boat and skier activity nearby.Some elementary precautions before skiing or other water sports activities can make each outing enjoyable and memorable.

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