Water Skiing - Driving the Boat


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Water Ski is a game that is full of adventures but it does carry potential dangers with it that should be taken care of well in advance. In Water Skiing, the boat driver plays a very important role and synchronizes his actions in order to help the skier perform better. In this chapter, we will discuss the role of the boat driver and his responsibilities.

Water Skiing – Non-verbal Communication

While driving it is almost impossible between the rider and the skier to communicate between each other. For that, they use a set of non-verbal communication sets.

One should learn the following set of non-verbal communications first, before jumping into the water.

Non-verbal Communication

Here are some non-verbal signals exchanged among the skier, the boat driver, and the observer −

Non-verbal symbols Meaning
Continuous patting motion on the top of the head Back to the dock
Making an ‘O’ symbol with the help of finger and thumb Speed okay
Moving of the extended fingers across the throat in a cutting action Cut motor
Clasping of two hand over the head The person is okay after the fall
With your thumb in up position, close your fist and sweep your arm upwards Speed up
With your thumb in down position, close your fist and sweep your arm downwards Speed down
Give a quick circular motion with your extended finger by pointing in a particular direction. To turn

Water Skiing – Characteristics of an Ideal Driver

Driver is the central part of this game. 90% of the accidents that happen in this game are due to poor driving or carelessness of the driver only. Therefore, if you are playing for a tournament then it is important that you should employ a good and experienced motorboat driver.

The driver should be careful about the following points. While driving he should −

  • Not go nearby anything that can cause some potential hazard.

  • Drive within the comfortable zone of the skier.

  • Drive parallel to the shore and dock far enough so that the skier cannot reach the dock while returning to the starting point.

  • Slow down the speed of the boat while reaching near the shore so that the skier can sink down into the water easily.

  • Not take any chance with the person in tow.

Water Skiing – Boat Driver’s Responsibilities

As Water Skiing is becoming popular, more and more people are participating in it. Therefore the need of a good driver is essential who can make through a definite path of travel for his fellow skier. Here are some important roles and responsibilities of a driver. The driver should −

  • Check for the traffic in the water long before the take-off.

  • Observe the position of the skier during the every moment of drive.

  • Look ahead for the possible potential danger.

  • Watch over the skier until the observer resumes his duty of looking back. After that the driver can look forward and drive.

  • Keep the tow line, the skier, and the boat in a straight line to make the journey less strenuous.

  • Always carry a life jacket that is light weight, durable, reliable, and less resistive.

  • Prior to the ride, check tow line and handle.

  • Replace any worn tow line or defective handle immediately.

  • It is not always possible on the part of the driver to look after the skier. Therefore a proficient person must be there as an observer who will communicate the signal of the skier to the driver and vice versa.

  • Keep the boat speed 15 to 20 kmph.

  • Avoid the heavy traffic areas or area having other activities like swimming, fishing, scuba diving, etc.

  • Not compete with the skier to boast proficiency.

  • After a harmless fall, the skier must indicate that he is okay by clapping both of his hand overhead. This will ensure the driver and observer that the skier is okay.

  • Avoid dry landing on solid objects like rock or dock.

  • Turn off the motor during the skier boards the tow boat from the water.



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