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  1. #1
    ctriverguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Ipswich, Massachusetts, United States

    riding with a kid???

    Ok been around the block or two... back in college i was even an assistant harbormaster on cape cod..

    But i do not see the logic at all for what i saw this weekend. Nor did i ever hear of a regulation like this scenerio.

    Marine police were out and about. Every ski that went by them with a kid sitting in front of the operator was stopped. I dont know if tickets were issued. But when the ski pulled away the kid was forced to sit behind the operator.

    can someone please explain the logic to that. the bars are padded. the kid has plenty to hold on to. And the operator encloses the kid from inadvertantly falling off. what gives????

    IMO, having the kid on the back allows for an opportunity for the kid to fall off and the operator to not realize it.

  2. #2
    My son (mohawk man) jeffsntx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Belton TX
    I do agree with your logic, but it TX, the person in the front is considered the operator of the ski.

  3. #3
    I agree with your logic too, but my hunch is law enforcement needs clear bright line of who is "operator." Could also be some concern over rapid deceleration and push forward.

  4. #4
    captain obvious Lurker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Visalia, Ca
    At 8 year old my daughter likes the back now. I have her wrap her hands into the straps in my vest and there is no way she is coming off without me knowing, this is the first year of her doing this though. My 4yr old son sits in front of me, no way in hell he will be behind me. With him in front he has plenty to hold on to, I can wrap my legs over his to hold him, and if he were to go off I'd know it immediately.

    I wonder exactly what the law says? Seems to me the one with the lanyard, finger on throttle, and hands on grips is the one in control, my son meets none of those criteria when he is in front.

  5. #5
    wavehummer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Phila. PA 19154
    It's about as stupid a law as us having to carry a fire extinguisher!!
    Only good reason for it is god forbid you need it to help someone with a boat on fire.
    I actually pulled mine out on the road for a car fire

  6. #6
    ecpChris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    ocean county nj
    I drive with my 5 yo son in the front. God forbid he were to fall off while riding behind me. I always keep him in front of me and he holds on to my boardshorts. Of course I always cruise slowly with him on as well but even falling off the back he could get hurt and i would be going forward which would take me more time to turn around and jump in

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffsntx View Post
    I do agree with your logic, but it TX, the person in the front is considered the operator of the ski.

    My son holds on to grips attached to my lifevest in the back.

  8. #8
    jpeconsult's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Pineville, LA
    An operator should be obvious. Who is controlling the ski?

    Considerring a car...An operator could be sitting in the passenger side. lel over the consol controlling the pedals and hand extended operating the sterring wheel. To me, the operator could be sitting anywhere on the ski.

    I have a 4.5 year old that has recently learned how to control the throttle. She has learned how to maintain a speed, rather than pull and release, pull and realease. In those cases. If LE makes her move to sit behind me, then she will do that until we can get to nearest ground. I completely believe that it is a maturity level, not a set age. At age 4.5 years old, noone, my child or someone else's is going to be sitting behind me. Exception. Me in front with daughter between me and my wife.

    Although I think we should gradually teach our children the fun and responsibilities of being on the water, we definitly need to be aware of our surroundings when we have young ones riding with us. I hate to see young ones riding in the middle of a lake at high speeds with many boats on the water...Just not smart to me. Stay close to land and in one area of the lake, rather than whipping across every-which-a-way.

  9. #9
    Never say never KirkF350's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Midlothian, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffsntx View Post
    I do agree with your logic, but it TX, the person in the front is considered the operator of the ski.
    I never knew this. We ALWAYS ride with the younger kids in front and have never had a game warden even stop us.
    Screw em, I will take the ticket and fight it, even pay it if I have to, but I am not letting the little ones ride on back.

  10. #10
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Earth, USA, California
    Hello everyone,

    Certainly it is a senstive subject because it is not an answer that can apply to all. Many here who are astute operators feel competent and safe when they have children on board, but collectively we pay the price for less capable operators.

    For instance, there are far too many PWC operators who are not in tune with water conditions in relationship to thier unique hull design and horsepower capabilty, their physical abilty or that of thier passengers, trim of a PWC (safe balance), nor what a safe speed is in rough water riding. And worse yet, our entire PWC community is not capable of reboarding or righting thier PWC from the waterline efficiently.

    Compliment that with the addition of a child and risk increases, especially dependent upon the type of PWC being operated and it's stability ratio to weight on board. Reboarding and right a PWC should be a dominant factor in operating a PWC for one's own safety, and observance of the rules of the road. Everything after that compliments a safe and fun ride.

    Children are a sensitive subject to encounter due to the emotional content of family fun and boating. Our boats are smaller, manueverable and require an operator to multi task at all times while underway. Law enforcement and EMS personnel respond to the injuries and accidents on our waterways and you can be sure they get sick of seeing 'stupid things happen to good people'. An accident needs a series of events to happen, and if you could see from the perspective of accident 'prevention', first you have to look at probable causes. Traumatic impact injuries to children who are pressed into the helm station are sickening and heartbreaking to witness. How many times have you impacted with your body the forward helm station while riding? Imagine if a child were in that place to act as the cushion or barrier for your body, but they bear the force of impact? That is what is in question with law enforcement and EMS.

    Children are not active on the PWC, it is a wet ride, thier legs may not straddle the seat comfortably or be pushed into the center storage box, they can accidently grab the throttle lever, they get cold from wind chill. On the other hand, they are lighter, have good balance, look forward to fun and water and a host of other things that make all of us gravitate towards this type of modern boating.

    Placing a child on board increases risk due to the placement of their body in front of an operator if this operator does not have good handling or safe speed operations down in their behavior. A child can be crushed by the body weight of an adult, or thrown overboard with an adult. Falls on board are the #1 injury accidet and falls overboard are second. Many children are not wearing properly sized and fitted PFD's, this is observed by law enforcement contacts with PWC owners.

    Many officers in various counties and states will cite an adult for placing a child in the forward riding position. PWC's offer an 'active ride'. Placing a child behind an adult would force an adult to slow down their speed and responsive manuevers because they would be more concerned about that child falling off, than having them in the tucked forward position in front of their body. This allows an adult to take increased risks of operation and use of speed.

    Many of you would be shocked if you had to do a 'ride along' with a boating law enforcement officer and observe from their perspective what takes place on America's waterways for all boaters.

    The good news? Not all parents or family/friends are riding with children in a negligent manner, However, everyone pays the price for a few bad situations. I recently took two small young children out for a ride, including my own four year old for the first time. I rode only at idle speed and no faster. I know the risks and I have responded to serious impact injuries. Fun for my child, and my friends child is simple. Their idea of speed is scary. For us, we moved at a speed they were comfortable with, it was a big thing for them, as they place trust in my ability, and told me they didn't want to go fast.

    Many times I see children trusting thier parent, riding at speed, its fatiguing and tiring, they go along because it is their parent, not because they feel safe and secure. That doesn't go for all children as many are comfortable with faster rides. It's so subjective it's not really open for interpretation unless you look at each and every single case, in terms of vessel type, operator common sense, operator ability, operator boating etiquette and the type of waterway being operated upon, vessel congestion and safe speed operations.

    The kids wanted me to 'rescue them'. That was what they wanted, nothing other than to be picked up off a rock, out of the water or go slower. LOL I was a nervous wreck. Really I was!

    Parents will be defensive on this post. So will law enforcement officers who deal with the negative impact and are concerned with the safety of those on the water. I really do believe this, so the answer lies with yourself and using common sense and sound judgement while underway and obeying all laws.

    Yours In Water Safety

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