Ohio Law May Do Away with Spotters | Quimby's Cruising Guide

A new bill being considered in the Ohio House of Representatives would allow boaters to tow skiers and tubers while watching them in the rearview mirror.

House Bill 372 seeks to change an existing state law that requires an extra person on board to observe those being pulled from behind. Such spotters must be 10 years old or older.

Rep. John Becker, a Republican from the Cincinnati area and primary sponsor of HB 372, said the law is too restrictive.

“When planning a day on the water, people sometimes cancel at the last minute,” he said. “If that means only two people are going boating, that’s a problem. The decision has to be made to forgo water sports, cancel the trip or leave the state.”

Becker said 21 other states already allow boaters to watch those being towed using rearview mirrors. The list includes Kentucky, making it difficult for patrols to enforce activities on the Ohio River.

“… The law is selectively enforced,” Becker said. “On intra-state lakes and rivers, the law is frequently ignored by people on personal watercraft and sometimes by boaters, too.”