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Water Skiing Regulations in Ohio

What kind of PFD do I need for waterskiing?

Anyone riding or attempting to ride on water skis, surfboards, inflatable devices or similar devices towed by a vessel must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III PFD or a Type V PFD specifically designed for water skiing, in good and serviceable condition, and of appropriate size.  Vessels must not tow anyone who fails to comply with this law.

Observer When Towing

Anyone operating a vessel towing a person on water skis, surfboard, other similar devices, or a barefoot skier, must be accompanied in the vessel by an observer ten years of age or older who must watch the person being towed at all times. 

Designated Ski Zone

You must stay within a designated ski zone or an open zone when riding or attempting to ride water skis or similar device or barefoot skiing, or when towing a skier.

Exceptions to this section exist on Lake Erie, Ohio River, and immediately connected harbors and anchorage facilities where these zones have not been established.

No-Wake Zone

Towing for recreational purposes is allowed at idle speed in a designated no-wake zone as long as it is not:

  • Within 300 feet of a gas dock, launch ramp, or harbor entrance.
  • In an anchorage area, boat swimming area, or boat camping area.
  • Under or within 300 feet of a bridge underpass.
  • In any area designated as a no-ski zone.

When can I go water skiing?

You must not water ski or be towed on any device, or operate a vessel towing a person between sunset and sunrise except if you carry a special permit. Consult an official sunrise-sunset table of the local area for exact times.

Can I go barefoot skiing?

You must not go barefoot skiing without wearing an adequate and effective United States Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III PFD or a Type V PFD specifically designed for water skiing, in good and serviceable condition and of appropriate size, or a wetsuit specifically designed for barefoot skiing. Boat operators must not tow anyone who fails to comply with this law.