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Member Alert: Driver's Program Update

USA Water Ski's board of directors has adopted updated Rated Driver program requirements, which will be phased in over the next two years. The overall goal is to update and improve our driver's education programs as a part of USA-WS's continuing commitment to the safety of all water ski participants. A complete copy of the updated Rated Driver program is available by clicking here (PDF).

How will this affect Rated Drivers? USA-WS has different Rated Driver training programs and ratings, ranging from USA-WS Trained Drivers to USA-WS Sport Discipline-specific driver's testing and certification programs. The updated drivers program simplifies many of the core basic safety training requirements applicable to all USA-WS programs, and also implements various screening programs focused on the safe driving skills of our Rated Drivers. These include:

* Rated Drivers must meet all training, certification and renewal requirements applicable to their driver's rating;

* Rated Drivers must comply with all requirements for boater's training and licensing applicable in their state of residence;

* Rated Drivers must hold a current, valid motor vehicle operator's license (or demonstrate that his/her motor vehicle operator's license privileges have not been suspended or revoked, if the Rated Driver does not have a motor vehicle operator's license); 

How will the Rated Drivers screening program be implemented? USA-WS will use a confidential third-party screening service to conduct a motor vehicle records check (at a cost of $12.50) for all new and renewing Rated Drivers (as future renewals occur). To complete the review process, each driver will be directed to USA Water Ski's third party screening agency's Web site to pay the $12.50 fee and authorize the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Review. Both the driver and USA Water Ski will be notified of Pass/Fail status. Applicants with a record of one or more serious motor vehicle or boating convictions within the prior three years (drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, assault by use of a motor vehicle or reckless driving) will not be eligible for a USA-WS Rated Drivers rating. Rated Drivers must also report any suspension or loss of their motor vehicle driver's license to USA-WS.

What is the time table for implementing the motor vehicle records check program? As of April 1, 2012, all new Rated Driver applicants will be required to complete the motor vehicle records screening process. Existing Rated Drivers will be required to complete the screening process upon renewal (every two years), with the next renewal period in 2014.

Will USA-WS's drivers training and rating programs be changed? The changes to USA-WS Trained Driver and Sport Discipline driver's training and rating programs will be minimal, although each Sport Discipline has the authority to update its programs consistent with these core requirements. USA-WS has asked each Sport Discipline to review and update their driver's programs to make sure that the programs include training on safe boating laws and requirements, "rules of the water" training, manufacturer's operating requirements, safety checklists and recommendations, a demonstration of the driver's "on water" ability to safely pull a skier, and event planning and safety considerations applicable to USA-WS events. The USA-WS post-event Safety Checklist will also be modified to include a "sign off" by the supervising or chief driver for the event.

Are there any changes in the requirements to host a "sanctioned practice" or sanctioned event? To ensure consistency with these updated program changes and compliance with USA-WS's liability and towboat insurance program requirements, all "covered practices" and sanctioned events must use Rated Drivers as towboat drivers throughout the practice or sanctioned event, except that driver trainees (as a part of a driver's training or instructional program) may tow skiers during a practice or event if they are accompanied (in the boat) and under the direct supervision of a Rated Driver.  

When will these updated event requirements go into effect? For "sanctioned practices and exhibitions," these program changes will take effect for events hosted after January 1, 2013. For all other sanctioned events, these changes are effective immediately.

USA Water Ski remains committed to the safety of all participants and water ski enthusiasts, and we greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts and commitment of our many volunteers.
















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