NH Revises Motorboat Towing Law


Capt. Steve Moore of Slamdance Fishing Charters alerted us to a revised “motorboat towing” law in New Hampshire that affects watersports tubing (towing of inflatable tubes).

The updated law allows up to 6 people to be towed on multiple tubes behind a single boat, and requires 2 observers onboard when the number of people being towed is more than 2. A single observer can be used when 2 people are being towed on the same tube.

Note that changes in the law only affect the towing of inflatable tubes, not waterskiing and wakeboarding.

The exact wording of the revised law is as follows:


In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to towable devices permitted to be towed by a motorboat.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

168:1 Motorboat Towing. Amend RSA 270-D:3, III to read as follows:

III. No more than 6 persons may be towed on one or more inflatable tubes and no more than 2 persons may be towed on water skis, aquaplanes, or other devices from the same motorboat at the same time. When [2] 3 or more persons are being towed, 2 observers, in addition to the operator, shall be in the towing vessel. Such observers shall be 13 years of age or older.

Notwithstanding this paragraph, more than 2 skiers may be towed if a special permit is issued by the director.

168:2 New Paragraph; Definitions; Inflatable Tube. Amend RSA 270-D:1 by inserting after paragraph VI the following new paragraph:

VI-a. “Inflatable tube” means an inflatable device manufactured and designed for the specific purpose of towing persons behind a motorboat. Such device shall be manufactured with a point of attachment for a tow line in addition to any safety handles, ropes, or lines, for each person being towed.

168:3 Definitions; Water Skiing. Amend RSA 270-D:1, XIII to read as follows:

XIII. “Water skiing” means a person being towed behind a moving motorboat on skis or on aquatic equipment designed for towing an aquaplane or any other device, including bare feet of a person, but excluding a person being towed on an inflatable tube or in another boat or motorboat.

168:4 Report by Department of Safety. The department of safety shall prepare a report providing statistics on accidents and injuries relating to towing of persons by motorboats and whether any discernable change in such statistics occurs after the effective date of this act. The report shall cover a multiyear period extending at least through summer 2013. The department shall submit the report to the senate and house transportation committees on or before October 30, 2013.

168:5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved: June 7, 2012

Effective Date: June 7, 2012

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