The photo above shows a really worn out towrope.This is your connection to the boat, your lifeline.A breaking towrope breaks ribs, ruptures spleens and can take out the eyes of your crew.Do you think you are saving money skiing with a rope in this condition?Fix this situation right now with a new rope HERE.
A TREE'D FOUNTAIN - WEAR YOUR KILL SWITCH!
Read the underlined fine print!
My solution - I always wear my kill switch!
Schnitz, May 24, 2006
It struck me the other day that we were doing something really stupid. In Maine we can ski the course with just a mirror, no spotter. It was a little cold (no kidding, it's Maine) so we were in drysuits. I was driving with the drysuit unzipped and off of my neck and arms. Again, with no spotter. If my skier had gotten knocked out (this has happened once in 37 years), I would have been in bad shape to jump in and save him. The 1/2 on, 1/2 off drysuit is very hard if not impossible to swim in let alone try and rescue someone. At least one person in the boat should have either no drysuit on or a drysuit fully on. To save a knocked out skier, you cannot have 1/2 of your drysuit on. I also suggest that if you have to jump in alone, you also hold onto the ski line to assist you getting back to the boat. And one last ultra important thing, turn the engine off.
Below is the story of a tragic accident that occurred on May 12, 2005 at a private, competitive, three-event water ski lake. Written by; Anonymous UFN
CHECK YOUR SAFETY CHAIN; BUT NOT JUST THE ONE ON YOUR TRAILER
It was a sunny day, nearly 80 degrees, light winds and the biggest crowd of the new ski season showed up to grab some much needed spring sets. The last few weeks had been in the high 60’s and low 70’s with the water temperature slowly creeping up to almost 70 degrees. Until this day, most of the skiers were skiing in shorty wetsuits with very few skiers getting into the water with just suits and vests. I mention the weather and water temperature because it played an important role in this particular water skiing accident.
An experienced, 43 year old skier with nearly twenty years of competitive slalom course skiing behind him approached the dock for his first set of the day, his wife and newborn son resting on the beach enjoying the warm spring day. He mentioned in passing to a fellow club skier that he was getting into the water for the first time this year with just a bathing suit. No wetsuit today as the weather looked liked it had finally warmed up for good. As he jumped into the water to start his set at 22’ off, he mentioned to a teenage girl on the dock that the water was a bit chilly. She told him jokingly that she had skied the day before in just a bikini and the water felt great! Before he told the boat driver to hit it, he told the girl to stand at the edge of the dock after his last pass so that he could spray her if she really thought the water felt so good. The first link of the safety chain had just unknowingly been broken.
The skier made five passes and as he was sitting in the water at the opposite end of the lake, he told the driver to pull the line in to 28 off, and at the end of the pass, to give him a strong left-hand turn after exiting the far end pre-gates, so that he could get good acceleration off the turn and get whipped toward the dock where the teenage girl would be waiting to get sprayed. The driver agreed without thinking twice and the second link in the safety chain crumbled.
As the boat exited the course after a successful 28 off pass, the driver may have extended his distance toward the shoreline slightly more than normal and may have given a slightly harder left hand turn in order to send the skier toward the dock. At the same time, the skier edged harder, held onto the handle longer than normal, and therefore had gained significantly more speed than he was accustomed to as he approached the dock. In addition to this, he was much closer to dock when he let go of the handle. To make matters worse, the teenage girl was standing on the very edge of the dock with her arms spread wide open, in anticipation of getting a full spray of cool water from the skier. The third and final link in the safety chain had been broken and the upcoming tragedy could not be stopped.
The skier was aimed directly at the dock. He approached at a high rate of speed, with absolutely no offset angle. To his right was a boathouse, to his left the towboat that had already begun to turn back toward him like always. A nearby observer on shore had noticed the skier’s head turn from looking to his right, to a quick glance to his left, as if the skier had realized there was no escape route left for him.
The skier instantly made a hard left turn in front of the dock, and being a right foot forward skier, it was an offside turn for him, which didn’t help matters. He broke at the waist from having to much speed as he entered his turn, went over the top of the ski (out the front) and impacted the front edge of the dock back first. He was immediately knocked unconscious and was floating in the water face down at the feet of the teenaged girl.
The dock that the skier collided with was a 10x12 floating dock made of wood. It rested about 8 to 10 inches out of the water and the front edge that was impacted was approximately 12-18 inches high. No damage to the dock occurred, not even a scratch.
The skier was placed on a makeshift backboard, 911 was called, an ambulance arrived within 10 minutes, and the skier was in the hospital within 30 minutes of the accident. He suffered seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, multiple broken vertebrae, and his spinal cord was stretched and severed 50%. He underwent multiple surgeries and a three-month stay in a hospital and a specialized spinal center. He is paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life because not one skier, not even himself, was able to take a step back and prevent one link in the “safety chain” from breaking that first warm, fateful spring day.
Safety and good judgment aren’t issues that are readily discussed at competitive ski lakes today. We’ve all been doing this for so long, it seems as if we are all experts and nothing horrible can happen to us. If you and your ski partners think this way, the first link in your safety chain has already been broken and the next accident may include you! Take a step back and always evaluate your current situation whether you are a skier in the water, a driver or observer in the boat, or just standing around the dock. Stay alert and ski hard, but ski safe!
The tragic part of the story ends there, but the story of human spirit is just beginning. The injured skier, having a great love for any activity on the water, was able to jump into a tube before the summer ended and get a couple rides behind the boat before the water cooled off. He has a long and challenging road ahead of him, but getting back on the water so quickly has given him aspirations to ride his air chair next year and due to the various world class disabled skiers in the area, he will be attempting to compete next ski season as a disabled slalom skier. He may be sitting down on a ski next year, but he will still be rounding buoys with the rest of us.
BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR CHAINS!
“WHICH WAY IS YOUR TRAILER JACK FACING?” 5/12/2005
This is a safety issue. Most if not all of today’s modern ski boat trailers with a jack on the tongue of the trailer. This jack comes complete with a wheel which allows you to roll the trailer around. When towing a trailer with one of these wheeled jacks, it’s very important that this jack be facing rearward. The reason for this is simple. If somehow the pin that holds the jack up were to become dislodged with the jack were facing forward, the pin would have the potential of locking the jack in an upright position. Once locked in an upright position, a bump in the road or some other type of jarring motion would have the potential to lift the trailer off of the ball. Once this happens, the trailer can cause some very serious damage as well as physical injury. By merely facing the jack rearward, the potential for this happening is lessened.
Whenever you launch your boat or pull it out, all passengers, especially children should be out of the tow vehicle. Last spring an 11 year old girl died when her family's tow vehicle rolled into the water!
If you take the rear seat out of the newer Ski Nautiques, be aware that when trick skiing, the rope can and will cause bodily injury when it gets caught in between the rear seat base and the side of the boat when using a trick release.
Submitted by Attorney Greg Wilson from St. Mary's Ohio, August 4, 2004
I've posted this Chapter for permanent display on this site. Any reproduction of this page is freely granted. I feel it's that important! If you have anything to add, please e-mail it to me. At the bottom of this page is a link to an article brought to my attention by Bruce Epstien from Vermont about the Carbon Monoxide poisoning deaths of 7 young people at the back of ski boats. Please go to the link below this article.
In order to become a great skier, you must survive. There are horror stories out there. Stories about people being beheaded by a prop, backed up over and cut to ribbons, arms and heads going through the handle, hitting submerged as well as visible objects, etc., etc. This chapter deals with eliminating and controlling as much risk as possible. Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This should be your motto whenever you are around a boat. Some of the rules I live by and why follow below. · Shut off Perfect Pass when backing up. Perfect Pass will surge at 1,500 RPM. When backing up to a skier, the Perfect Pass could surge. The surge begins as a decrease in throttle followed immediately by an increase. This increase in throttle can kill or seriously maim! · Never stand on the platform when the boat is in reverse. Suppose the brackets that secure the platform to the boat broke or you lost your balance! · Never grab the rope. Many people have the tendency of grabbing the rope when they drop. Suppose you got your wrist or finger caught in it and got dragged! · Never say Go; say hit it! There is very little difference between the sound of “Go” and “No”. Suppose you have the rope wrapped around your neck, the driver asks if you are ready and you say no. The driver hears “Go”, a term you always use and you end up in the hospital if you're lucky. · Never let children swim behind or in front of boats. Children are used to being “protected” and thus live in a safety shell. Once they become comfortable swimming and/or playing behind or in front of boats, they are in serious danger. It's easy to start your boat, throw it in forward or reverse and without seeing any danger, take or maim a young life. · Always tuck in your safety vest straps on your life vest. I have seen people grab the handle and strap at the same time and rip off fingernails and break fingers! · Double check your equipment. A fiend of mine was skiing with Kris LaPoint one day. As Kris passed through the entrance gate, a great big, powerful man went down really hard. His fin fell out! Whenever you make a change or an adjustment to your ski or equipment, double check it! When in doubt, get your Allen wrench and/or screwdriver out! · Drive responsibly. A general rule of thumb, “If your driving is exciting, it's dangerous”! This applies whether you're in a boat, car, plane, motor scooter or whatever. You are in control of a lethal weapon. In a boat, a sudden turn can throw your passengers overboard and under the boat where the propeller promptly removes whatever body part is in its way. Alcohol and water do not mix. Drugs and water do not mix. Responsibility and water do! · When you drop a skier, parallel them. I have been scared countless times by drivers who whip a skier up alongside the boat and then turn directly into them, predicting when and where the skier will sink. A misjudgment can cause great tragedy. To eliminate any possibility of this situation occurring, when you whip the skier up alongside the boat, parallel the skier until both the skier and the boat have settled into the water. While the skier is decelerating, the boat is decelerating. When they're sinking into the water, the boat is sinking in the water, approaching idle speed. In this manner, everyone's safety is assured. · Watch the boat when you drop. Sometimes, whether out of necessity or incompetence, the driver will turn the boat at you, the skier. If you see this situation occurring, you have a chance of surviving. · Discard old ropes and handles. A friend of mine in Miami ruptured his spleen when a rope broke while accelerating. I busted my ribs breaking a rope. · Keep your feet out of the ski rope in the boat. My skiing partner broke her foot while seated in the boat when the skier broke one side of the loop on his towline and pulled the rest of the rope out of the boat, breaking her foot in the process. It is not possible to save money on old ropes and handles. · Put the free rope behind the driver. When you shorten a towline, put the part of the line that you shorten behind the driver. In this manner, it's not wrapped around anyone's body parts. · Keep your hands off the pylon. If your hand is on the pylon (especially the upper part, near the rope) and something goes wrong, you can literally be ripped out of the boat and/or have some body parts non surgically removed. Keep your hands, face and all body parts away from the pylon. · Brief riders about handle pops. One day a father and young child came out to the lake. They sat on the shore watching us ski and were enthralled by it. The father walked down to our boat and asked if his young child could ride. I agreed and began pulling the next skier who soon pooped the handle at the boat. Luckily the handle missed the boy but the rope wrapped around his neck. I reached over and pulled it off before it could do any damage. I have seen the handle rip out chunks of gel-coat from boats, shatter rear view mirrors, wrap around the throttle and pull the boat into reverse causing the bow to dive underwater, sinking the boat. I have had the rope wrapped around my neck countless times. I have pulled it off the driver’s necks countless times. Always be aware that a skiers handle and rope can become lethal weapons in the blink of an eye! · When the skier says “hit it”, idle out slowly and then hit it. Countless times I have heard a skier yell “hit it” before the rope is tight. A well trained driver will always look at the skier and confirm that the rope is tight prior to applying the gas. A secondary safety measure that I employ is to idle out slowly for a second or two prior to hitting it. In this manner, I apply 3 safety checks; the skier says “hit it”, I visually confirm they are ready and I idle out slowly guaranteeing there is no slack in the line. · Turn off the engine when picking up a skier. Let’s say you're picking up a skier at the end of a productive set. You swing the transom of the boat gently to them, hit reverse to stop the momentum and then put it in neutral. As the skier is making their way to the platform, a swarm of bee’s flies in your face. You panic and somehow manage to throw the boat in reverse. If the engine is off, nothing but bee stings can happen! · Always keep the skier visible. Whenever bringing a fallen skier the rope, keep them visible as you pass them. Additionally, have the boat in neutral while they're alongside. · Stay far behind when following a skier. Where I ski, you must drive down the slalom course in order to get to the starting docks. All too often, I see boats following skiers too closely. From the skier's point of view, they're very aware of a boat following them which keeps them from totally focusing. From a driver's point of view, a momentary lapse of concentration can kill a fallen skier. Allow the skier to get to ball 4 or 5 before following them. · Stay away from other boats, etc. Again, the theory that “if it's exciting, it's dangerous” applies. Skiing close to the shore, spraying other boats, going around other people or boats is dangerous. You might be the best skier in the world and experience an equipment failure at the wrong time. One time in my youth, I skied around another boat only to have the rope get caught and take out their windshield. Think safety! · Whenever someone goes under the boat, be it to get a rope out of the prop, check the rudder or what have you, take the key out of the ignition (or disable it by entering a lock code on the newer Ski Nautiques and/or pull the safety harness switch off). · Skiers, watch where you're going! One day while doing a clinic in Michigan, a father and son showed up to participate. This young boy needed some encouragement and basic coaching. All was going well. At the end of a pass we decided to spin the boat to get right back into the course for what I call “accelerated learning”. As we entered the turn, this young boy was staring up at the beautiful blue sky and the driver was just a touch too close to the rocky shore. I as well as the boy's father riding in the boat next to me saw it coming at the last instant but were powerless to stop it. We watched in absolute horror as his ski ran up on the rocks, his body launched forward, his head snapped back as his face hit. Off they went to the emergency room. Luckily, he was OK, a bit bruised and scraped up but OK. Please, pay attention! · Never, ever spike the handle. One day a good friend of mine with a bad temper was so mad after missing a pass that he spiked the handle. Spiking the handle means to throw the handle down into the water with force! When the handle hit the water, it immediately rebounded and wrapped around his neck. He now has a permanent scar from this momentary lapse in judgment. · When driving in unfamiliar waters, ask the locals and note any marked or unmarked obstructions. · Know how to operate the speed control. Stepping on the Accuski pedal at the wrong time can blow up engines, cause property damage and take lives or limbs. Allowing the Perfect Pass to surge when backing up to a skier or docking can do the same. · As a skier, always keep the rope between you and the boat. If the rope is around you, there is a remote possibility of something happening in the boat that would cause it to accelerate. If the rope is around you, you are in serious trouble. If the rope is between you and the boat, you simply let it go! · When a skier falls hard, assume the worst no matter what their hand signal says. The day I snapped my foot in half, my hand instantly went up, seconds before the pain came barreling in. After countless falls where we are trained to raise our hand, we one day fall and really hurt ourselves. Our automatic response mechanism kicks in and our hand goes up before we recognize we're hurt. When a skier falls hard, get back to them immediately, no matter what! · When towing a motor boat, make sure the ignition is off and the gear shift is in neutral. A boat can and will jump start just like an automobile and can kill, even if it’s assumed to be out of gas! The Greek island of Poros, July 2001 · When exiting a running boat, make sure to utilize the neutral safety pin and press the throttle arm forward to the point that the engine’s RPM is about to increase. Doing this assures that even if someone accidentally hits the throttle, the gears cannot engage. Better a blown engine than an injury or death. From Sotiri Kryptos, owner of Passage Ski School, Poros island, Greece. · When in large bodies of water, make sure you and all your passengers have ready access to life preservers. · Fish hooks and water-skiers do not mix well. Avoid Fishermen.
All Materials on this website are Copyright Steven A. Schnitzer, October 13, 2002, all rights reserved.