USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

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Updated Feb. 19, 2021

Special thanks to USA Triathlon, which developed this guide that was tweaked to represent USA-WSWS

USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is committed to supporting the health, safety and well-being of our members, volunteers and staff at all sanctioned events.

As details are updated, we plan to communicate all information directly to our event organizers through email. We have collected the following recommendations for you to consider as you continue planning and preparing for your events:

Insurance Coverage

Athletes claiming they contracted COVID-19 at a sanctioned event:

The USA-WSWS participant accident coverage for members who participate in USA-WSWS sanctioned events only applies to claims relative to specific injuries sustained during sanctioned competition.  Contraction of a disease or virus is not covered under the participant accident policy.

General liability claims around COVID-19;

The USA-WSWS general liability coverage will NOT defend the club/event organizer from a negligence lawsuit brought by a participant that claims they contracted the Coronavirus at a sanctioned event. There is an exclusion in the 2021 USA-WSWS general liability policy for coverage against communicable disease. The exclusions amend the “bodily injury” coverage afforded under standard General Liability and Umbrella/Excess Liability insurance policies to exclude coverage for claims arising out of the transmission of a communicable disease (such as COVID-19, avian flu, SARS and other transmittable viruses).

Event Cancellation Insurance:

At USA-WSWS request, our insurance broker, EPIC Entertainment & Sports, reached out to the insurance market to investigate the availability of event cancellation insurance as it relates to COVID-19. Each carrier they spoke with is now writing exclusions into their policies for COVID-19, so any policy purchased now will not cover an event cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

General Operations and Planning

  • It is the responsibility of each club and/or LOC to abide by all public health authorities and local and state government guidelines when determining to host an event in their respective geographic area.
  • Proactively reach out to local agencies to ensure they are aware of your event and can assist in emergency preparation and planning.

Meet with your state and local Department of Public Health

  • Consult with their experts on prevention strategies and contingency plans for attendees becoming sick at the event.
  • Know what their action plan is if there are cases reported in your area and how that applies to you and your event. Specify who is responsible for taking what action and what the timeline is.
  • Communicate regularly leading up to, and after, your event.

Meet with the emergency operations or risk management team at your venue

  • Discuss emergency operations plans and determine how they may impact aspects of your events, such as personnel, security, services and activities, functions, and resources.
  • Have them evaluate your emergency action plans and offer guidance on improving or altering the plan to ensure smooth communication and handling of emergencies across organizations.

Provide cleaning supplies for staff, volunteers and athletes

  • Have portable hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, tissues and facemasks available. Facemasks are only intended for those who start showing symptoms at your event.
  • Consult the CDC’s approved cleaning products page to see which products are considered effective.
  • Volunteers handling food, beverage and those at aid stations should all be supplied with latex gloves.
  • Place hand sanitizer at locations around the venue including, but not limited to, registration, outside port-o-johns, at food service areas and at the awards ceremony.

Have a plan in place for isolating someone that becomes ill

  • Turn them over to EMS at the event; EMS will follow the latest protocols and advisories set out by the local Department of Health.
  • Have a holding space where you can isolate patients until EMS is able to attend to them.

Monitor event registrations for athletes from affected countries/states

  • Communicate in advance with any participants you’re aware coming from affected areas. 
  • Follow the Johns Hopkins global Coronavirus tracking map to monitor the number of cases in your area and to see if any of your athletes might be coming from an affected area.

Create a plan for the possibility of being forced to cancel your event

  • If the local authorities force the cancellation of your event, have a plan in place for next steps.
  • Consult with your contractors on cancellation/refunds of services or goods.
  • Have a communications plan in place to alert participants of the cancellation and an explanation of next steps.


  • Communicate early and often that your event is going on as planned until you are advised otherwise by the local authorities.
  • Include an overall risk assessment from your local authorities so athletes can make informed decisions.
  • Promote the use of regular preventative actions:
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your crook of your elbow.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
    • Clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Advise where to seek local healthcare if needed, including how to do so without creating risk for healthcare workers.
  • Direct them to CDC or WHO websites for information on disease signs and symptoms.
  • Advise on self-monitoring for symptoms and signs.


  • Communicate early and often that your event is going on as planned until you are advised otherwise by the local authorities.
  • Review your agreements for cancellation and refund policies


  • State the facts, share accurate information with your staff from the CDC, WHO and your state and local health departments.
  • Provide clear instructions on what to do if they suspect they or someone they know has been exposed. Have them contact their primary care physician first for advice. Only those with symptoms of severe respiratory illness, such as rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, high or low temperature, confusion, trouble breathing, or severe dehydration should go to the ER.

Advise Staff, Volunteers and Athletes to stay home if:

  • They are ill at all
  • Offer a refund if they have entered an event that has to be cancelled due the coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • If they have had close contact (6 feet/2 meters) with someone who has been to affected areas of the world within 14 days of the event. 
  • If they have a cough, fever of 100 degrees F/37.7 degrees C and are short of breath.

The most important piece of advice is hand washing. Please review the following websites: www.cdc/handwashing and www.cdc/handwashing/esp/when-how-handwashing

Harvard Health’s Coronavirus Resource Center
WHO Coronavirus website and FAQ
CDC Coronavirus website and FAQ
CDC Guide for Preparing Your Events for COVID-19
WHO Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings
WHO Coronavirus MythBusters page
EPIC Insurance: Covering Corona Virus Risk Considerations

USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is here to support you during this crisis. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to

Sample Messaging for your Participants

Dear athletes,

[LOC name] wants to assure you that your health, safety and well-being is our highest priority. As we approach [Event Name] on [event date], our organization is in regular contact with [local health authority] [other authority] and USA-WSWS concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) and best practices for mass participation events. We are following the guidance issued by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at this time, the race will continue as planned.

We are aware that the situation continues to evolve, and we will communicate updates to our athletes as soon as possible [via email/website/other means].

At [LOC Name], we are taking the following precautions:
[list precautions you may be taking such as extra hand sanitizer, enhanced cleaning protocols, asking staff, athletes, volunteers who are sick to stay home, etc.]

In addition, please be aware of the below resources from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State to help reduce your personal risk:

Additional resources can be found with the WHO Coronavirus WebsiteCDC Coronavirus Website. The IOC has also developed specific advice for athletes, including a statement from the IOC Medical and Scientific Director, Dr. Richard Budgett. We encourage you to follow the travelpreventiontesting, and treatment recommendations outlined by the CDC. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this ever-changing situation.