The orange skier down flags are a common sight on the water now, although I remember when we all just held up our arm. I remember too when the first flag popped up that I saw. Everyone thought it was a great idea and started using them and then the government stepped in and decided it needed to be a law, which we felt was insulting. (I won’t start on my feelings about the govenments new EPA permit that’s coming in September, I won’t…I won’t… but you can find it in ‘archives’.)
I want to take a moment for a very basic lesson for new boaters. I see this happening all the time and I figure those that do this just didn’t get the 411.
The skier down flag is to tell other boaters that you’ve a person and equipment in the water, generally away from but not too far your boat. It’s really helpful if used correctly. So here’s how it should be used.
Water toy, ie: wakeboard, ski, surf board, hydro-foil, etc. goes into the water and so does who ever is going to play with it. The spotter (that’s the person with the flag-their whole job is to keep their eyes on the person in the water until they are back on the boat) so the spotter holds up the flag. They hold up the flag until the person is riding on the water toy, at which point they put the flag in their lap.
When the rider is done or falls down the spotter puts the flag back up. This is espically helpful if the person falls while riding. Most of us are pretty good at spotting that bright orange flag popping up and if we see it go up we know to scan that area for a small bobbing head in the water.
Ok, end of the 411…well almost. Please don’t hold up the skier down flag the entire time your skier/rider is playing, everyone can see you’re towing someone. The skier down flag is just that…skier is down and in the water. Play safe, be smart and don’t be a dork on the water!
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