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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through January 14, 2005 » USCGA Vest While Wakeboarding Laws?? « Previous Next »
By WakeShoe (wakeshoe) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 7:13 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
If this has already been discussed I apologize in advance. But, I have seen in at least 4 other threads in the past month, a posting in which the author states there is a law that a USCGA vest must be worn by the wakeboarder/wakeskater/skier when being pulled. The only vest requirement I am familiar with is that you must have one USCGA vest per person on the boat, readily available, and that all childrem under the age of 13 must be wearing a USCGA vest at all times in the boat. I have never seen a law about wearing one while riding. I know laws vary considerably from state to state, but does anyone know, for a fact if there are any states or federal laws about wearing while riding? I would never advocate not wearing a vest while riding, but I have seen many riders wearing Jetpilot vests that are not USCGA and I have never seen anyone get ticketed for it.
By Karl De Looff (boarditup) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 8:04 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
In MI, you do NOT need a USCGA vest while riding. You do, however, have to have one in the boat for the rider as well as a throwable device.

Most states do not have laws requiring a USCGA vest while riding. The trick skiers do not wear vests as they interfere with their riding. The 3-event skiers are better organized and have kept the vest laws off the books in most states.

You need to verify your state's particular laws. There is no federal requirement.

By Mike (lehmur) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 8:52 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Try reading your state's boating regulations.
That's the only way you will know for sure. There is also alot more good information in there than the vest requirements.

By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 9:06 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Since you're in Austin, this is easy. The Texas statutes say that you have to have a USCG approved vest readily accessible for each person in the boat. It also says that someone being towed is considered to be a passenger in the boat. So...those two sections together say that a skier or wakeboarder must have a USCG vest readily accessible to him or her. Given that, I'd say you could just tie it to the rope, hold onto it, or whatever, but it's probably easier to just wear it.
By John Klein (jklein) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 9:31 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
From the ABC's of the California Boating Law 2004 booklet:

Page 17, last paragraph:
"Effective January 1, 2001, California law provides that any person being towed behind a vessel MUST WEAR a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. Exceptions: the law does not apply to performers engaged in professional exhibitions, official regattas, marine parades, or tournaments. Any person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course, or barefoot, jump or trick water skiing, may instead wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. However, for each skier who elects to wear a wetsuit, a Type I, II, III, or V life jacket still must be carried on board. Note: Inflatable personal floation devices are not approved for use while water-skiing."

It goes on to say on page 18:

"Skiers being towed are considered to be persons on board for personal floation device requirements."

By WakeShoe (wakeshoe) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:59 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Salmon Tacos,
Thanks. I know Texas doesn't have any law as strict as the California laws quoted by John Klein. I agree with your interpretation of the Texas law. However, in reality, do the Texas boat police issue tickets to wakeboarders not wearing a USCGA vest? I know from this and other BBs, that the Texas boat police have issued tickets for wakesurfing, tower lights that they felt the position of the board racks interfered with, etc. To your knowledge have they ever tacked on tickets for the wakeboarder/wakesurfers who weren't wearing USCGA vests (or any vest for that matter)? I know we have been out approx. 20 times this season with my oldest son wearing his Jetpilot which is not USCGA; we have seen many of the police boats but we have never been checked out by them.

By Mark Anderson (puckinshat) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:11 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Well, in minnesota, you can ride without a vest, there just has to be one in the boat. Its the land of 10,000 lakes and we haven't had any issues, so I don't see why everyone else is so strict.
By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:15 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm not sure if they've ticketed for it. It probably depends on the lake and even the individual cop.

I've only been hassled once by them ("safety check") and we weren't actually riding at the time (plus all my vests are USCGA anyway). I don't remember hearing about it though so I'm guessing that you're safe for now. I'm sure word will spread pretty quickly if they decide to start writing tickets, since many people ride with those vests.

By Rod Rinnert (deltahoosier) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:18 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
There is the law issue and there is the safety issue of the whole deal. That subject has been covered many times.

point being, if you get the air knocked out of you; you will sink without a vest. Period. A non approved vest has some debate. I, for one, am too big and even with the non approved vest on I have to swim a little to get back to the top. If I relax with lungs full of air, then I will float. Some smaller people seem to say they float just fine. Non approved vests have not been certified and you just do not know what you are getting.

By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:34 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm not sure size has all the much to do with it. I'm only 160 lbs. and I sink like a rock, even with my lungs 3/4 full of air. So...I think I'll stick with a CGA vest.
By David Williams (wakeworld) on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 12:26 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Keep in mind that although your state might not have a law specifically requiring you to wear a CGA life vest, there are often local ordinances that require it. The best way to figure it out is to contact the agency that patrols the body of water on which you'll be riding.
By 882001 (882001) on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 7:35 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
but why not wear a vest? it would be easy to be knocked out and drown. its nice to rest when you fall. i have ridden non cga and didnt like having to tread water all the time, so i always end up back to my uscga.
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