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Water Skiing Can Include Rough Waters

Take precautions before taking to the waves

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

SATURDAY, Aug. 30, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- It's easy to get hooked on the fast-paced thrills of water skiing. But like any activity involving speed, water skiing carries risks, one of which is skiing in strong winds and rough water.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends skiers make it a rule not to ski when the wind is howling. It takes exceptional skill to negotiate choppy water, and even if you are a superior skier, you'll tire quickly because high waves or rough seas prevent a towboat from maintaining a steady course and speed.

Cold winds add another hazard: hypothermia. You can lose body heat without even realizing it because hypothermia reduces coordination and judgment.

Here are some other safety tips provided by the U.S. Coast Guard:

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved flotation device designed for water skiing.
  • Stay clear of congested areas and obstructions.
  • Never ski after dark.
  • Always have a spotter in the boat; if you fall, someone needs to alert the driver.
  • Never ski if you've been drinking.

If it's cold but the winds are mild and you just have to hit that water, wear a wetsuit. It'll keep the chill away from your skin while you slice through the wake of the towboat.

More information

Learn more about water safety from Boatsafe.com.

SOURCES: U.S. Coast Guard; MetLife Boat Safety Tips
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