Captain Bill Jenning’s Checklist: Participating in Tow Sports

Captain Bill Jenning’s Checklist: Participating in Tow Sports Jul 26, 2022

By Captain Bill Jennings

When it comes to boating, there is a lot to remember. A checklist for proper boating activity procedures can be a lifesaver. Here is a “Power Boating” checklist to quickly and thoroughly perform boat-related tasks.                            

Tow Sports‘ have become extremely popular. Use this checklist when towing. 

(Tow Sports include – water skiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and tubing)

Checklist for Before Towing:

  • Consider weather and water conditions before setting up to tow. 
  • Check the vessel for equipment, fuel level, and the tow line is correctly attached.
  • Consider your crew and their level of experience.  
  • Is the boat adequately set up for water sports towing?
  • Is the driver experienced and qualified to drive the tow boat?   
  • Review hand signals for the person(s) being towed. 

Hand Signals are as follows:

Hand across throat= Go home 

Thumbs up or down = Speed

Twirling finger = Turn around

Point = Direction

  • Review the route you intend to follow with the person(s) being towed.
  • Check person(s) to be pulled are wearing appropriate and approved vests.
  • Launch the tow to match the skill levels of the person(s) being towed. 

Checklist for Towing:

  • The driver looks forward and follows the agreed route but avoids traffic when needed.
  • The observer faces rearward and does not take their eyes off the person being towed.
  • The driver keeps one hand on the wheel (10:00 o’clock position) and one on the throttle and does not allow the line to slack. This is to prevent tow shock.
  • The driver anticipates and compensates for the side-to-side pull on the boat and steers in gradual turns, and adjusts the throttle in small increments.
  • The observer calls to the driver any required instructions, such as; “Skier Down”.
  • While watching the RPM gauge and GPS speed, the driver signals any turns and intentions to deliver a constant pulling speed. 
  • If a towed person falls, the observer continually points to that person and watches until the person(s) are safely out of the water.
  • The driver and the observer pull the tow line aboard before returning to the dock.
  • The driver should not make any tight turns when returning to the home dock. 


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,