Safety Manual for Towed Water Sports


The safety aspects of waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing and boating in Hong Kong’s sometimes crowded waters cannot be over emphasized. A little common sense and courtesy for your fellow water users will prove invaluable. Here are just a few reminders for skiers, drivers, observers and passengers alike.

Hand Signals 

Hand signals provide communication between the participants and the boat driver


.Towed Water Sports prohibited in speed restricted zones
.Do not ski inshallow water, minimum safe depth is 1.5m (5 feet)
.Do not ski directly towards jetties/boats, always ski parallel leaving plenty of space, always play safe


Boat equipment required by law:
.Life jackets for each passenger
.Life buoy(s) & 18 meter buoyant rope
.Bucket & fire extinguishers
.Boat must be licensed & insured

Participant’s equipment: 

.Participants must wear ski vests (flotation jackets)
.Ski-gloves are advisable to improve grip and avoid blisters
.Wet suits are recommended in winter
.Helmets should be worn when ski jumping or racing


Boat Drivers 

.The driver must hold or be under the supervision of a person or persons on the boat in possession of a Operator’s certificate
for pleasure vessels and suitable for the vessel in which he/she is command i.e.

Operator Grade 2: Vessels of 15m (49.2 ft) or less
Operator Grade 1: Vessels of unlimited length

.At no time should the driver overload the vessel with passengers
.The engine should be switched off when a participant is entering or exiting the boat
.The driver should look ahead at all times and give a wide berth to other boats and obstacles
.Use a rear-view mirror
.The driver above all must use his common sense
.Be alert to the observer’s instructions

The Observer 

It is comopulsory in HK for an observer to be onboard the boat when someone is participating
.Watch the participant, keeping the driver informed in the event that the participant falls
.Notify the driver of the participant’s hand signals
.Assist the driver in staying clear of other boats, obstacles and participants
.Retrieve the ski rope from the water as soon as the participant finishes so as not to cause a hazard to other vessels


.Boat seats are made to sit in
.Never sit on hte bow, gunwale, mid-deck or transom whilst the boat is in motion
.Never stand up in the boat when the motor is in gear
.No more than the licensed number of passengers should be onboard

Falling/Driving Tips 

Falling In Water 

Falls in towed water sports are generally not dangerous. Tucking in the limbs and body for a smooth fall will reduce the chances of bodily strains or sprains. Remember the faster the boat is travelling the harder the potential fall.
On every fall participant must use the approved signal to show he/she is all right. If this signal is not seen, the boat driver and others should come to the rescue or assistance immediately.

Driving Tips

When a participant falls, the boat must return to him/her as quickly as possible. The allows those onboard to assist the skier if he/she is injured or in distress, to protect him/her from any nearby boat traffic, and to return the ski rope to him/her as soon as possible so that he/she may resume participating instead of wasting his/her energy treading water. If the participant is not continuing, retrieve the rope.

Generally, the fewer passengers the better, especially if the boat is low powered. Each additional passenger’s weight makes the starts harder, diminishes the skiing speeds and can detract from hte attention between driver and skier.

While an observer in the boat is an important safeguard it is also advised to attach a wide-angle rear-view mirror.

Even with an observer and a mirror there are many occasions when the driver should glance around at his/her skier. In fact, hte driver’s head and eyes should be moving constantly, checking the participants and the immediate surrounding water, especially when there is heavy boat and participating traffice in the same area.

Participants, drivers and observers are recommended to save alcoholic drink until completing towed water sports.

Pleasure Vessel Speed Restricted Zones Restricted Zones
Plover Cove
Sha Tin Hoi
Tai She Wan
Tsam Chuk Wan
Hebe Haven (Pak Sha Wan)
East Kiu Tsui Chau
West Kau Sai Chau
South Kau Sai Chau
Bluff Island
Clear Water Bay
To Tei Wan
Tai Tam Harbour
Stanley Bay
Chung Hom Wan
South Bay
Deep Water Bay
Luk Chau Wan
Sham Wan
Repulse Bay
Tai Tam Bay
Discovery Bay
Yan Chau Tong Marine Park
Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park
Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park
Cape D’Aguilar Marine Park
Yan Chau Tong Marine Park

Please also refer to updated Marine Department Notice