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Old     (on_wi)      Join Date: Feb 2013       11-05-2015, 12:30 PM Reply   
Wisconsin currently requires a "competent person" as a third for all tow sport activities. I know I'm not the only one who has had this law keep my boat out of the water on one of the good weather days in our short season. Thankfully, both the State Senate and Assembly have bills to amend the current law to allow for a wide view mirror exception to the competent person requirement. I've linked both Senate Bill 180 and Assembly Bill 256 below.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/sb180
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/ab256

It appears SB180 is through committee. AB256 seems to have hit a snag in the Committee for Tourism. I am currently part of a group of people who are contacting both the chair and co-chair of the Assembly's Tourism Committee to voice support for the changes.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/201.../assembly/1414

If you have a spare minute and are interested please send along an email to support the measure. From what I have read the mirror exemption has not been a safety issue in Minnesota, which has a boating culture and environmental restrictions quite similar to Wisconsin.

Email for committee chair: Rep.Tranel@legis.wisconsin.gov
Email for committee vice-chair Rep.Jarchow@legis.wisconsin.gov

Thanks
Old     (Squamer)      Join Date: Oct 2015       11-05-2015, 12:53 PM Reply   
Would be nice to see this in New Hampshire especially with all these new 100k boats coming with rear view cameras now!
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       11-05-2015, 1:39 PM Reply   
On_wi thanks much for pushing this out to the community! I emailed my support this morning!

This is not a done deal. We have to get the word out that we are for this change as there are groups out there opposing also.

I know I'd probably have an extra couple hundred hours on my boat if it weren't for our current law!
Old     (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       11-05-2015, 2:22 PM Reply   
Thanks for posting this. We currently bend that law anyhow but it would be awesome to be legal! I'll get my crew on this too right away!
Old     (wakebordr11)      Join Date: May 2001       11-06-2015, 6:45 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark197 View Post
Thanks for posting this. We currently bend that law anyhow but it would be awesome to be legal! I'll get my crew on this too right away!
We bend the law all the time, is what it is.

Personally, for the majority of the public, I think having a spotter is a good idea... Hell, half of the towboat owners out there (some I've actually ridden with) can't manage a rider and a line if they get crossed up in their own wakes.

This is one where I feel the law actually serves a good purpose for the majority of users whereas we are a special interest group...

Thoughts?
Old     (on_wi)      Join Date: Feb 2013       11-06-2015, 7:29 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakebordr11 View Post
We bend the law all the time, is what it is.

Personally, for the majority of the public, I think having a spotter is a good idea... Hell, half of the towboat owners out there (some I've actually ridden with) can't manage a rider and a line if they get crossed up in their own wakes.

This is one where I feel the law actually serves a good purpose for the majority of users whereas we are a special interest group...

Thoughts?
I do think that for a lot of people a spotter is a good idea. I'm going to continue to ride with a spotter a lot of the time because I like to get out with a group and I do use some busy lakes. But, I think that people should be responsible enough to make that determination themselves.

For me, this would mean that I would get on the water and off the water both Saturday and Sunday morning throughout the season with one other rider. I'll know when I feel comfortable and potentially when I wouldn't going without the spotter. Also, there would be a lot more riding time in the early and late season. Its tough to get a third when its 50 degree air and water.

I liken it to the use of a life jacket. Wisconsin doesn't require you to wear anything while riding. Technically you just need enough cga's in the boat for everyone. People are smart enough to know to wear them. Some use CGA's, very few use impact, nobody wears nothing.
Old     (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       11-06-2015, 7:41 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakebordr11 View Post
We bend the law all the time, is what it is.

Personally, for the majority of the public, I think having a spotter is a good idea... Hell, half of the towboat owners out there (some I've actually ridden with) can't manage a rider and a line if they get crossed up in their own wakes.

This is one where I feel the law actually serves a good purpose for the majority of users whereas we are a special interest group...

Thoughts?

I'll completely agree with you on this, but I would still like to be legal. It is often the times when we don't want to be riding (busy, windy etc) that we see the wally's out that cannot handle one person in the boat.

My bigger concern not with where we ride necessarily but I see an issue with pwc's pulling a tube and that driver not paying any attention to their surroundings.

When we ride dirty Its nights after work, and early morning sets, typically we are the only people out there.

The people that we're ok riding with just two are going to continue to do it and the people that shouldn't probably won't even realize that the law changed.
Old     (TC_Mastercraf_X5)      Join Date: Feb 2013       11-06-2015, 9:18 AM Reply   
I would agree that restricting it to non towables would probably be the best method. When we ride with only 2 (in minnesota) we are doing dawn and sunset patrols when others arent stoked to get out in the boat. I can personally say passing this in WI would make my wife a very happy lady ha.
Old     (wakebordr11)      Join Date: May 2001       11-06-2015, 9:57 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by on_wi View Post
I do think that for a lot of people a spotter is a good idea. I'm going to continue to ride with a spotter a lot of the time because I like to get out with a group and I do use some busy lakes. But, I think that people should be responsible enough to make that determination themselves.

For me, this would mean that I would get on the water and off the water both Saturday and Sunday morning throughout the season with one other rider. I'll know when I feel comfortable and potentially when I wouldn't going without the spotter. Also, there would be a lot more riding time in the early and late season. Its tough to get a third when its 50 degree air and water.

I liken it to the use of a life jacket. Wisconsin doesn't require you to wear anything while riding. Technically you just need enough cga's in the boat for everyone. People are smart enough to know to wear them. Some use CGA's, very few use impact, nobody wears nothing.
At first I didn't know if the vest analogy was a good one but I guess I do agree. The law personally wouldn't change the way I operate. My family lives on a small lake, and I am REALLY good at spotting boats from far away and knowing when the Sheriff is out or not.

Some people can handle driving well and paying attention to the rider, some can't.

Before I say my next statement I want to say that I do not think it is the governments job to protect people from themselves, but I do worry that someone could overstate their abilities to handle the situations on the water to pull friends solo and have something go wrong. Ropes in props, ropes around people AND in the prop (happened on my lake before), injuries, hitting another vessel, or canoe/kayak/sailboat/water hazard/buoy/other tow boats.

I've personally had an instance where my driver didn't seem to recognize a person in the water that had just fallen behind another towboat. I was riding and threw the rope to avert the close call - you just never know. After that incident, I spoke to my right hand man and told him "next time, don't let my buddy on the B team drive". B-team buddy is actually a better solo driver because he has to pay attention to everything, when there are 7 ppl and girls in the boat his skills go to shyz.

That being said, when I am the driver of a boat, I expect that no spotter or other person will catch the boat on a dock, toss the rope to a rider, pull a rope in properly, ensure the rope is managed to stay away from the prop, tie a dock line right, deploy a fender correctly, report speed changes or other hand signals etc... I like to be in control of my destiny and there are VERY few people I trust pulling me period, much less solo.

That's all I'm getting at.

I have been ticketed for the above offense before. The judge knew my family, kind of rolled her eyes and said "you aren't going to do it again, right?" and I nodded my yes. Luckily that was when surcharges were like $25 and that's all I had to pay.

Last edited by wakebordr11; 11-06-2015 at 10:00 AM.
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       11-06-2015, 11:27 AM Reply   
Boating laws such as this aren't policed up here as much so if I don't have three people I don't care about 2 of us going out if it's friends. Where I find the issue to be is in more of an emergency situation. On the rare occasion when my wife is driving and I'm out back wakeboarding and hurt myself to the point I was unconscious there would be no way in hell that my wife would be able to pull me out of the water by herself. She's a nurse so I know I would be in good hands but it would feat in itself to get me back in. For this reason alone I take it easy when it's just the two of us and our young kids out on the lake.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       11-17-2015, 8:19 AM Reply   
Having a spotter did not prevent me from almost getting run over by another boat that was following too close and its a good point that the driver is paying more attention without one. I would argue if no one else is in the boat that that is the safest condition that exists. Passengers create driver distractions.

What does a spotter do anyway but say "He's Down" then resume chatting with a friend. Maybe Wisconsin should have a flagger and require a flagger training certificate and renewal certificate that teaches them to point the flag at the the fallen skier until picked up.
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       11-17-2015, 12:00 PM Reply   
It's ridiculous to use the safety argument. Seriously if we are gonna go there then why not just limit number of boats on water? Mandate no more than 2 boats per square mile allowed at a time! That's safety! And no doing anything dangerous period. Boats can only go slow no wake entire lake. That's safe.

Seriously though number 1 we all know most of us never ski or board when it's that crazy busy anyway and we also know that whether I've got a spotter or not is not gonna keep me from watching my skier or boarder. I can absolutely do both and keep track where I'm going! For a boarder I'm only going 23 anyway and surfer even slower. Granted u slalom and barefoot guys are cooking along alittle more than that but still ridiculous arguments considering Florida and Minnesota have no spotter requirement.
Old     (on_wi)      Join Date: Feb 2013       11-25-2015, 10:12 AM Reply   
Quick update - I received an email from Representative Jarchow. He stated that AB 256 will be discussed when the tourism committee meets within the next two months. I obviously have no idea where this bill would have fell otherwise, but I'd love to think that whatever everyone is doing is making a least some impact.

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest for and against. I'll always support a healthy discussion related to boating safety. And, (a biased) extra thank you to everyone who has reached out to legislators to express their support for the measure.
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       12-04-2015, 7:05 AM Reply   
Stupid WI 3rd law keeping me off the water again! Bright sunny Friday 47 degrees no wind! Thanks, not.
Old     (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       12-04-2015, 9:05 AM Reply   
Ron go anyhow the DNR will not be out anyhow.
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       12-04-2015, 12:14 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark197 View Post
Ron go anyhow the DNR will not be out anyhow.

Yeah but we'd be running shore line right by launch. The police can also ticket
Old     (etakk7)      Join Date: Apr 2006       12-08-2015, 2:22 PM Reply   
Thanks for making me aware of this. I do most of my boating on a lowly populated "up north" lake and never pass on a chance to go out even if it is without a spotter. I figure, if I get pinched a few times in my lifetime for it the amount of enjoyment I will have gotten will be worth it. I'm a resident of Minnesota so it is odd that I can "safely" tow without a spotter here but not in WI.

I have sent the following email to both representatives:


I would like to voice my support for SB180 and AB256, regarding the need for a 3rd person or "spotter" while towing a person on waterskis from a motorboat.

As a resident of Minnesota, I frequently boat in an environment that does not require a 3rd person in the boat, if you have an adequate rear-view mirror. Though personal experience and anecdotal evidence, I am not aware of significantly more injuries occurring from not having a third person in the boat. I do know that it provides for far greater enjoyable use of lakes without having to try to find a 3rd person - which leads to many more boating trips for me. In addition to more widespread enjoyment of the outdoors, this also has an economic impact from increased gas and hospitality tax revenue.

In my situation, the majority of my annual boating takes place in Douglas County, Wisconsin, where I own lakefront property. Here, I am not able to waterski as often as I like because I frequently don't have a spotter. However, when I am driving another skier, my safety habits and use of my rearview mirror are no different than they would normally be in Minnesota where the mirror would be considered adequate and legal.

Minnesota and Wisconsin have a very similar boating culture. Each have over 10,000 lakes - the grand majority of which have a low active boating population for which there is not a significant increased safety risk from lack of a spotter. I urge you to support these bills, and to the extent it is deemed necessary, allow local municipalities to enact their own spotter requirements (e.g. Lake Minnetonka, MN, which requires a spotter due to high activity).

Thank you,
Old     (simplej)      Join Date: Sep 2011       12-09-2015, 11:42 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squamer View Post
Would be nice to see this in New Hampshire especially with all these new 100k boats coming with rear view cameras now!
I could get behind this...

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