Waterskiing Risks

Edited by Admin
Waterskiing Risks
Waterskiing risks can be mitigated by close attention to safety rules and regulations. Learn more about how to waterski safely.

Waterskiing Risks

The warm days of summer often bring opportunities for fun at the lake. Swimming, boating, paddle boarding, and waterskiing are among the favourite activities for many of us. Whether you are a beginner or an expert in any of these activities, it’s good to remember that any type of water sport involves certain risks. Fortunately, you can mitigate these risks by taking the right kind of safety measures to protect yourself and the people you love.


Waterskiing can be exhilarating! On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than gliding along the surface of the lake with the wind in your hair. However, each year Ontario emergency room doctors treat patients for injuries sustained while waterskiing. Common injuries occur to the head and face, upper extremities, back and trunk, and lower extremities. Concussions, as well as lacerations or abrasions to the head and neck are often caused by skiers hitting the water, or being struck by the tow handle, skis, or buoys. Because skiing places a strain on the arms and shoulders, shoulder dislocations, sprains, strains, and even fractures of the upper extremities are often seen. Injuries to the back and trunk are also common, and include strains, sprains, fractures, contusions, and abrasions. And because skiers’ feet are bound to the skis with bindings, a fall can easily cause ankle strains and sprains. Finally, rarely discussed are injuries to a skier’s vagina or rectum that can be caused by a fall into the water at high speed. These injuries, which force water internal to the body, can even cause internal damage.


Risk Factors for Injury

You can help to prevent waterskiing injuries by working to mitigate the risks involved. Here are some of the risks associated with the sport:

  • Environment. This can include water conditions or inclement weather. Keep an eye on weather reports, and never go out when bad weather is predicted or threatening. Learn as much as you can about the water conditions before skiing in a particular area.

  • Inexperience/Fitness Level. Before trying waterskiing, take some lessons. It’s best to learn some techniques for finding your balance and skiing without putting undue strain on your body. As well, lessons can provide you with information about legal obligations, safety gear, proper hand signals, and more. Once you begin skiing, don’t try to do too much, too soon. Know your physical limits, and don’t take chances. Remember to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn and remember to rest and hydrate. Don’t ski when tired.

  • Equipment. Always wear a personal flotation device. Many skiers think they don’t need one, but nine out of ten drownings in Canada involve people who are not wearing PFDs or lifejackets. Anyone who skis should wear one — no exceptions. Always inspect your equipment before going out. Check ropes, skis, bindings, handles, and replace any worn-out or broken items. Make sure that the boat has all of the safety equipment required by Canadian law. This varies depending on the size of the boat but may include: lifejackets/PFDs for all boat occupants, a paddle or oar, a sound-signalling device such as a horn or whistle, a buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres long, a bailer or bilge pump, a waterproof flashlight, safety flares, fire extinguisher, navigation lights, anchor, or compass.


  • Alcohol or drugs. Approximately half of Canadian water-related fatalities involve alcohol use. Never drink before skiing and ensure that the boat’s operator is completely sober. Alcohol and drugs impair judgement and slow reflexes, increasing the probability of accident.

  • Water Craft Operator. If you are skiing, make sure that the boat’s operator is experienced, licensed, and knowledgeable about safe waterskiing speeds and practices.

  • Spotters. A skier needs spotters who are diligent, observant, and sober and who understand standard hand signals.


If You Are Injured

If you sustain a waterskiing injury due to a boat operator’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation. In Ontario, the initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer is free, and these lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they do not charge hourly fees, but rather will receive a percentage of any damages you recover. Before meeting with a personal injury lawyer, gather together all the paperwork pertaining to the accident so that your lawyer can get a comprehensive picture of what happened.


This might include the police report, medical information about your injuries, treatment plan from your medical professionals, etc. It will also help for you to write out your recollection of what happened as soon as possible after the event. Include as many details as you can. During your initial consultation, you can ask any questions that you have about the process of filing a claim or a lawsuit. If you prefer to communicate in a language other than English, Sokoloff Lawyers offers services in a wide range of languages.


Contact Sokoloff Lawyers today and learn more about your options.