Always wear flotation. A properly fitted personal flotation device is designed to fit snugly, so that it won’t slip up on the body during a fall. The recommended type is a jacket or vest that covers the chest, abdomen and back.
Always be sure your equipment is in good condition. Your personal safety and enjoyment depend on the equipment you use. Check your equipment regularly. Be sure that your board does not have sharp or protruding surfaces that could cut or scrape the rider. Check tow ropes for frayed areas or broken bridles and handles. Repair or replace damaged or unsafe articles.
Don’t give the starting signal until ready. Make sure you are ready, the slack has been taken out of the rope and you are clear of any dangerous obstacles around you.
Do not ride near docks, pilings, other boats or swimmers. Always look ahead and be sure you are aware of your surroundings and where you are going at all times. Many wakeboard injuries result from collisions with docks or other solid objects.
Never put any part of your body through the handle or wrap the line around yourself in any way.
The seven rider hand signals
- Speed up: The“thumbs-up” gesture indicates that the rider would like the speed increased.
- Slow down: The “thumbs-down” gesture indicates that the rider would like the speed decreased.
- OK: If the set speed or boat the path is good, the rider may use the OK signal.
- Turn: When either the rider or the driver wants the boat turned, a circle motion with the arm over the head with one finger in the air is used. It is usually followed by pointing in the direction of the turn.
- Back to the Dock: A pat on the head indicates that the rider would like to return to the dock.
- Cut Motor/Stop: A slashing motion with the hand across the neck indicates the boat is to stop immediately. This signal can be used by the rider, driver or observer.
- I’m OK (after a fall): This important signal indicates that a rider is OK after a fall. It consists of both hands clasped over the head. It should be used every time the rider falls.
Never ride in shallow water or an area where there may be obstructions above or just beneath the surface.
When a fall is inevitable, try to fall backward or to either side. A forward fall increases the chances of contact with the board.
Know and use the rider hand signals. It is particularly important to use the rider’s “I’m OK” signal after a fall if you are all right.
If you fall in an area where there is other boat traffic, lift your board half way out of the water. This will signal to other boats that there is a rider in the water.
Never ride to the point of excessive fatigue.
Always ride during daylight, from sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Never ride directly in front of another boat.
Always use equal length ropes when riding double.
Always ensure that the motor is “off” when a rider is entering and exiting the boat.
Always have an observer in the towboat.