· As a team, the boat operator, skier and observer need to learn safe skiing skills. Before your team hits the water, know your equipment, teamwork, boating laws and the fundamentals of the sport.

· Wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device designed for water-skiing at all times. It will allow you to rest in the water while waiting for the boat, it protects the rib cage and cushions falls, and its bright color will help others in the area to spot you.

· Skiing in cold water or weather increases your susceptibility to hypothermia. Special precautions, such as wearing a wet suit, should be taken.

· If you're the boat operator, before pulling up to the skier, double check the path ahead for obstacles and ensure the towline is not caught in the propeller or wrapped around the skier. Never accelerate until the skier is holding the towline handle, with the ski tip or tips showing above water and in front, and signals by hollering, "Hit it!"

· Never attempt sharp turns with the boat, especially if the skier is cutting sharply outside the wake on either side.

· In addition to relaying the skier's and operator's signals, the observer is responsible for watching the skier at all times. Having an observer on board allows the driver to give full attention to the variety of tasks necessary for safe motorboat operation. Boating mishap statistics indicate an alarming increase in skiing accidents resulting from improper lookout.

· When skiing, be alert for cross-wakes, partially submerged objects, swimmers, rafters or anything that might come between you and the boat.

· If you are going to fall, relax! Try to make a smooth water entry. Never fall forward over the top of your skis. You can stop suddenly by sitting to the back of the skis and dragging your hands.

· After you have fallen, hold one ski out of the water in an upright position to warn approaching boaters.

· When a skier falls, return with the boat quickly. Other boaters may not easily see a skier in the water, and the presence of the tow boat may keep other boaters away from the general area.

· Since a large percentage of serious water skiing injury accidents are the result of improper operation by the driver during skier pickup, approach with caution from the driver's side so the skier is always in view and on your side of the boat. Never back the boat up to a person in the water. The engine should be shut off when you are near the skier so there is no danger from the propeller.

· Minimize the danger of collisions with other boats, other skiers or fixed objects by staying out of congested areas and well-traveled traffic lanes. Avoid skiing close to shore, around bends or in shallow water. Stay out of fishing areas. It is best to "scout" your area before you ski.

-- California Department of Boating and Waterways