Can Pontoon Boats Pull Water Skiers?


An average size pontoon boat(22 ft) with 80 hp engine can pull a skier just fine. As long as the boat can go 25 mph then you can ski. The bigger the boat and the more people on board you will need more horsepower.



A general question arises when you buy a pontoon, whether it can pull skiers or tow a tube. A pontoon is famous for its multi-functions. Few are designed especially for relaxing on a lake while others are designed to make your fishing trip better. 


Tritons are designed to pull skier and have more power so they are preferred. If you have enough horsepower, then you can do skiing behind the boat.


What horsepower will you need on the pontoon for skiing?

1.     By installing a 80 horsepower engine, you can ski behind your boat, but it will be very basic skiing and towing on tubes. If you have more than 2 people in the boat then you will need more power, add 10 hp for each extra person. If you want to have more stable skiing then installing a water glide can help you as long as the load is light or medium. 


2.     A pontoon boat with 100 horsepower engine allows you to ski just fine. But you might face a little difficulty if there are 4 people on the boat because the boat will move with the slower speed which will not support your skiing. 


3.     Once the horsepower is 125, then you can enjoy your skiing even if your boat is full of people. The more horsepower helps you to ski with balance and speed. If you have a huge tri toon boat then you will need 200 hp or more.


4. If the boat is under powered then the skier will not be able to get up on skis and they will be dragged in the water until they let go. One thing that some try is launching from the dock, if you do this you will need less power because you start with skis on top of water.


Chart that shows how much horsepower engine you need depending on boat length and number of riders:

22 ft with 2 people 22 ft with 6 28ft with 2 people 28 ft with 8
25 hp engine Not enough Not enough No No
80 hp engine Yes, can ski No NO NO
100 hp Yes, can ski No No No
125 hp Yes, can ski Yes, can ski Yes, can ski NO
200 hp Yes, can ski Yes, can ski Yes, can ski Yes, can ski


How fast do you need to go?

The second question arises, what should be your speed to have successful skiing. 

1.     If you are waterskiing with two skies, then your average speed should be around 22 to 30 mph. Here are some tips to make you faster.


2.     While tubing, 16 to 25 mph with a 110 horsepower is enough to enjoy to the fullest. You can also make most adults fly off the tube easily.  


3.     While kneeboarding, your speed should be 16 to 26 mph. The however lower speed is recommended. 



Limitations to water skiing with a pontoon boat

Every sport has its safety measures which need to be considered strictly. While skiing or towing a tube, you need to take care of the following things. A jet boat will pop a skier out of water faster because they are built for speed.


·        Don’t expect a lot of jumping

The shape of a pontoon is such a way that it provides balance to the skier and doesn’t create much turbulence in water, so it is safe to ski behind a pontoon. But a lot of jumping might result in the worst scenarios, so it’s better to avoid it.  


·        There won’t be any tight turns

Instantly changing the direction on water skis is not supported on a pontoon. Although the fun part of water skiing was moving right and left when the boat takes sharp turns pontoons don’t have that feature.  


·        Choose a calm quiet place 

Don’t ski on overcrowded areas because too many people can be a hurdle in your way. Also, you need to slow down your speed for kids, sometimes even slower than 15 mph. Even if you fall, you will be easily spotted if there are fewer people.



As long as you take safety measure and follow the laws, wear a lifejacket, have a spotter, you are absolutely going to enjoy waterskiing on your pontoon. Hope the article was helpful!



It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or think of yourself as some kind of professional water skier, there are a few things you need to do to be safe on the water. Sure, it is pretty cool to be gliding across the surface of a lake, being dragged by someone you have to trust in their bo skills.

But when everything is in proper alignment, skipping like a stone from one end of the pond to the other does look sexy when done correctly. It takes a ton of practice, relatively good balance, a bit of courage, some reckless abandon and a nice day to put it all together.

But, if you head out there with high hopes and zero safety knowledge, you are going to find out the hard way that tips are a good way to cover your butt in case of an inquiry.


Here are our top five water skiing tips to help you along.


1 – They Call It A Life Vest For A Reason

We know, you are the best swimmer out there. It shows. In fact, being such a good swimmer is going to take a ton of pressure off of the guys (and/or gals) in the boat ahead of you. They’ll rest easy knowing that should you take a spill or have to ditch it, you’ll be able to stay afloat until they get an opportunity to swing the boat around to retrieve you.

However, you need to know that there are going to be times when you wipe out that is not going to be pretty. Hitting the water surface at a good clip is not only going to shock your system, but the impact could also scramble your brains to the point where you may not be all that certain which way is up or where you are. You can avoid freaking everyone out by wearing a life vest. It will keep you afloat and with the right parts of your body out of the water.

Plus, the bright colors will make you easier to spot, and life vests are also meant to help cushion the pounding impact of a nasty wipeout. You will want the boat to be able to find you when they spin around to get you.



2 – You Need To See Where You Are Going

You may not think that it is all that important to have protective eyewear when waterskiing. We’ve heard all the excuses already. Sure, it won’t make you look all that cool when you do all your fancy moves out there at the end of the tow rope, but there are a few reasons to consider why it is important to have water goggles or glasses on.

In addition to giving your eyes an added dose of UV protection from the sun and those rays bouncing off the water and into your face, eye protection will do something else. The boat pulling you and your water skis are going to churn up all kinds of things on the surface of the lake you are skirting across. Sometimes those pieces of sticks and other debris can be sent flying at you.

The last thing you need is an unidentified flying object smacking you in the face and causing harm near your eyes. Not only can it ruin a fun day on the lake, but it can also put a real kink into your ability to work at your job long after the waterskiing weekend has ended.

3 – Goop On Some Skin Protection While You’re At It

Sunscreen is not just for those who are baking on the beach. Water skiers are prime targets of sunburn as they sizzle on the reflective surface of the water. It’s a nasty reality, but you could get a lot more toasted waterskiing than you may lying on a towel in the sand.

So, when you are shopping for the right second skin layer to rub all over your body, seek a product that is not only high in SPF factor, but also waterproof. Oh, and don’t be shy about reapplying whenever you get a chance just to keep from turning pinker than the bikini on the girl riding in the back of the boat you are trying to impress with your rather awkward moves.

Even if you fail on the water, at least back in the dry dock, you’ll stand a chance if you haven’t seared off the first two layers of your skin and look like a wounded lobster fresh out of the pot.


4 – Have Someone Always Assigned to Keep An Eye On The Skier

In the waterskiing world, that person is known as the ‘spotter’ and their role is pretty simple and equally as important. The spotter sits at the rear of the boat and basically watches the skier and is there in case something goes funky. Not only does a spotter fulfill a safety role – you know, signaling to the boat driver when a skier wipes out, or when you’ve entered international waters and can safely break out the beers – but that person can also help the skier improve their skills.

Essentially, your spotter should have some water skiing experience and can coach the person at the other end of the tow rope with advice and suggestions on how to improve from watching the skier in action. The key here is that the person is actually watching the skier.

It’s all well and good to be the spotter, but if you are spending most of your time in that role dancing with a couple of girls (or guys) instead of keeping your eyes peeled for falling, tripping or dragging water skiers, you may as well not board the vessel in the first place.



5 – You Are Not On A Rocket Launcher, So Remember That

This is a tip for both beginners and seasoned ‘experts’…one great way to ensure that you have a fun experience on the water is to start things off slowly. Take your time to get your ‘seas legs’ and always abide by the standard speed regulations for lakes in your region.

Because you are pulling a human body behind your powerful watercraft, you need to keep in mind that regardless of the skill level of that person, wiping out and hitting the water at a higher than safe speed can cause a little more damage than losing track of where they are. Think of it as falling from the top bunk and hitting the floor. You’re gonna feel that, and you may get the wind knocked out of you or possible break or crack something from the impact.

Never be afraid to signal the spotter at the back of the boat if you feel that the speed is too much for your skiing abilities. It also helps to have a pre-determined hand signal so that when you wave it at the spotter, that person understands that you are in trouble, need assistance or something other than just waving frantically.

Bonus Tip – Leave To Tricks And Nifty Moves To The Pros

Just because the girl you are trying to impress says, she really likes guys who are daring on water skis doesn’t mean you are equipped to deliver any kind of hint to her regarding your special abilities. The same thing applies when someone says they can teach you how to jump over a boat in an afternoon.

Waterskiing is meant to be a recreational pursuit where you get to experience the bone and joint-jarring feeling that water can produce when you skim across it on a couple of pieces of wood strapped to your feet. It’s quite an experience, alright but it is often best to just leave it at that. Yes, there will be a time where your skills will hit a level where you’ll be able to snake through an obstacle course and maybe – and this is a big maybe – hit the ski jump once or twice. But until you get there, stick to the fun of getting pulled behind a boat.


When In Doubt, Stick To The Basics Or Just Ride In The Back Of The Boat

Being able to have some fun on the water is always an exciting opportunity. From fishing to house boating to water skiing, there are so many possibilities. It’s never a bad idea to try to experience all that the water lifestyle can offer however, you really should keep to your personal limitations. For example, if you are either a poor swimmer or can’t swim at all, there are some water sports you may want to skip.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them, and you just may have to choose to stick to participating in different ways. Waterskiing is one such example. While being able to swim is not a requirement, it is an asset and reduces the amount of risk to the others who are playing on the water with you. Just remember to be careful and follow safety rules at all times.




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