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Waterways – What We Can Do For You?

By Leon Larson

Waterways Education Committee Chairman

USA Water Ski’s Waterways Education Committee was formed more than 20 years ago as a clearinghouse for information that could be used in defense of the sport of water skiing. This information was then compiled into a manual and made available to the membership for a minimal fee, upon request. A video also was produced to introduce those not familiar with the sport to our programs. The committee was structured somewhat differently than most, as it was not formed of representatives from each region, rather, its members were selected by expertise. This committee is compiled of representatives in the fields of, law, safety, environmental issues, and ski site development to name a few. These committee members were then charged with keeping abreast of new regulatory issues as they are introduced, and to educate the general public to the benefits of water skiing. They are to provide assistance to individuals and clubs in obtaining, maintaining, and retaining water ski sites.  

An additional charge to this committee is to promote the sport of water skiing through media releases and by providing up-to-date information not only to the membership, but to water sports equipment and boat manufacturers and regulatory agencies upon request. Its dictum is to take a pro-active stance in the development of favorable legislative outcomes that will advance and enhance the sport at all levels. As an example, we are currently involved with, and stake holders in, the National Recreational Lakes Study as commissioned by former President Bill Clinton. The committee also works closely with, and has representation on, the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) Environmental Commission.  

Through the years the committee has come to the defense of many issues all across the country. Its success is a tribute to the dedication of its members. 

The Waterways Education Manual contains a wealth of information and is updated on a regular basis. Some of the subjects included in the manual are: 

Getting Organized: This section includes a guide to help you solve regulatory problems. The section also includes a profile of current members of the board of directors, and a listing of current USA Water Ski committees. 

Understanding Government: This section will help you to understand how government functions on a federal, state and local level. It will advise you on how to participate in a public hearing. This section also introduces you to the various agencies involved in waterways issues. A complete listing of State Boating Law Administrators is provided. A listing of expert witnesses, by region, that can help with your cause also is provided and continuously updated. 

Available Resources: This section provides extensive information on environmental considerations where a number of waterways-related issues are covered. Abstracts are provided on issues such as pollution, shoreline erosion, bottom scouring and noise pollution. A complete bibliography is included. 

Media: A complete section informs you as to how the media functions and how to use the media to your best advantage. Tips on preparing a news release and a sample news release are provided. 

Profile of Water Skiing: This section covers boating and water ski safety. Annual accident and injury rates for organized water skiing are outlined in a report format.  Some examples of USA Water Ski’s assistance to skiers, information on finding and developing water ski sites, and USA Water Ski membership information is provided. 

The current members of the Waterways Education Committee are available for consultation at any time. You can find out who they are by contacting USA Water Ski headquarters or obtaining a copy of the Waterways Education Manual.