Navigation Law Section 73
Towing of persons
1.No person shall operate a vessel for towing a person unless there is upon such vessel a person, other than the operator, of at least ten years of age, in a position to observe the progress of the person being towed.
2.No person shall be towed or use or operate a vessel to tow a person during the period from sunset to sunrise provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to a paid performer engaged in a professional exhibition.
3.No person shall be towed by a vessel without wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device and no person shall use or operate a vessel to tow a person not in compliance with this subdivision; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to a paid performer engaged in a professional exhibition.
4.The provisions of subdivision one of this section shall not apply to a vessel operated or controlled by the person being towed by such vessel, the design of which makes no provision for carrying an operator or observer on board. Such a vessel may not, however, be operated unless (a) it is registered and an assigned number permanently displayed thereon in accordance with sections twenty-two hundred fifty-one and twenty-two hundred fifty-four of the vehicle and traffic law;
(b)it is equipped with an automatic shut-off mechanism activated whenever the operator is separated from the towing device;
(c)it is equipped with a fire extinguisher and flame arrester attached to the motor;
(d)the motor compartment is properly ventilated;
(e)all persons being towed are wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device at all times of operation; and
(f)other safety provisions required by § 40 (Equipment)section forty of this article, except the requirements of subdivisions two and three thereof relating to the use of whistles and anchors. 4-a. No person shall operate or manipulate any vessel or device for towing a person in such a way as to cause such device or any person utilizing such device to collide with or strike any object or person. The provisions of this section do not apply to collisions of two or more persons or devices being towed behind the same boat nor to collisions with ski jumps, buoys and similar objects normally used in competitive or recreational water skiing.
5.No person shall operate or manipulate a device for towing a person or be towed in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.
6.Any person violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a violation punishable as set forth in section seventy-three-c of this article.
7.For the purposes of this section:
(a)to tow a person shall mean the towing of a person, including utilizing a device, on the navigable waters of the state or any tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties, but shall not include the towing of persons in a vessel to which assistance is being rendered; and
(b)a device shall include, but not be limited to, water skis, a tube, a surfboard, a tow rope, an aquaplane, a parasail, or a related device.
Section 73 — Towing of persons,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/NAV/73 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).