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  Whats the deal with "Water Skiing Flags"?

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Author Topic:   Whats the deal with "Water Skiing Flags"?
SuburbanBoy posted 02-13-2002 10:42 AM ET (US)   Profile for SuburbanBoy   Send Email to SuburbanBoy  
While in the library last night, reading the most recent Overton's catalog, I saw a couple of references to water ski flags. Some had spring loaded masts, which allowed you to press a trigger and pop up the flag? Do I assume correctly, that you pop this thing up when you are engaged in skiing? Or, just when they are down in the water, and the boat is retreiving them? I must have slept through this lesson in Power Squadron Class.



DCPeters posted 02-13-2002 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
I think they're for skiiing after dark.

(It's a joke).

bigz posted 02-13-2002 11:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Your state may or may not require a flag when tubing and water skiing check the regulations. There is no federal regulation.

Most states now require its use along with an observer which must be 12 or older and not the operator of the boat.

Marco Whalo posted 02-13-2002 11:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marco Whalo  Send Email to Marco Whalo     
In NJ you have to fly an orange flag if you are skiing.
JohnAz posted 02-13-2002 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
I have "argued" with water cops on several occasions, most states say show the flag when skier or rope is in the water, i show it even when the skier is skiing, as far as i am concerned they are still in the water since they are not in the boat,,,never slost the argument yet
Dr T posted 02-13-2002 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Colorado requires a flag when the skier is down, and requires an observer. They do not specify any requirement for the observer.

I rafted up with a couple last year that had their 2 year old and their Laborador Retriever in the boat. They had just moved to Colorado from Atlanta and were wondering which of the two (the kid or the dog) would be the better observer. Seriously.

Since we were pretty close to Boulder, I suspect that the dog would have been acceptable, but that the child would have been legal.

triblet posted 02-13-2002 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
In California the ski flag is shown when the
skier or rope is in the water, but not skiing.

From the California Code of Regulations:
(a) A red or orange flag measuring no less
than 12 inches on each side, in the shape
of a square or rectangle, mounted or
displayed in such a manner as to be
visible from every direction shall be
known as a ski flag.
(b) The use of this flag will not be construed
as conferring any rights or privileges on
its users, and its display will not be
construed in itself as restricting the
use of the water in the vicinity of the
vessel displaying the flag.
(c) Operators of vessels will, however,
exercise precaution commensurate with
conditions indicated.
(d) The ski flag shall be displayed when one
or more of the following conditions
(1) A downed skier.
(2) A skier in the water preparing to ski.
(3) A ski line extended from the vessel.
(4) A ski in the water in the vicinity of
the vessel.
The ski flag shall not be displayed at any
other time

In other words, it's illegal to display the
flag while skiiing.


Taylor posted 02-13-2002 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
In Washington state, it appears that it is left to local goverments... a quick web search found the requirement for Watcom county, Richland but it does not appear for Redmond in the water safety code.

BTW, water skiing after dark, not allowed. Snow skiing after dark: encouraged.

Dick posted 02-13-2002 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Here in Washington they are known as skier down flags and that is when they are displayed.

Night sking is leagal as long as the boat is equipped with lights as you see on the towers on tounement ski boats.

JohnAz posted 02-13-2002 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
Triblet,,as it says in line 3 3) A ski line extended from the vessel
I personaly think let a boat coming from ahead see the flag and know there is a ski line,,,and a skier behind the boat,,
no regulation says take the flag down when the skier is up and skiing,,
Just one of my personal quirks,,,read into rules what they say,AND what they dont say,,

SuburbanBoy posted 02-13-2002 11:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
To summerize:
Use the flag when the skiier is in the water, and not skiing (such as setup and retreival) or whenever the tow rope is in the water.

many prefer the use of the flag whenever the skiier is activly skiing as well as in water or tow rope in water.

Night skiing must be very exciting, but dangerous as well (even with lights). I remember an old tee shirt saying, "When life gets boring, risk it!" I am too conservative today to follow that motto and night ski. Boring.

Thanks all,

triblet posted 02-14-2002 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
JohnAz, what's important is that it doesn't
say "when towing a water skiier". If they
meant that, they woulda said it.


pcogs posted 02-15-2002 07:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for pcogs  Send Email to pcogs     
My other boat is a Mastercraft, so I spend a lot of time skiing behind the boat and paying attention to the rules.

Use the flag at all times when participating in skiing! Skier up, skier down, whatever! When you see a boat moving along and you notice the flag the first thing you do is look back to find the skier. It is a signal, a warning, just like you should use when towing another vessel. Note the line in the previous comment,

My 2cents, why would a cop argue that you had a flag up while a skier was under way? Doesn't make sense. "I'm sorry sir, you're being given a ticket for being too safety concious."

"A ski line extended from the vessel"- that means whether its in the skiers hands or laying in the water.

Go, ski, be happy, and if you're ever in NJ you can come get dragged along behind a mastercraft with an orange flag flying boldly.

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