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.


Final word

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!


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