If you’re looking for a boat to invest in for several different activities, from fishing to cruising, a pontoon boat might be the answer.
If you’re interested in water sports, you might be curious to find out: Are you allowed to ski behind a pontoon boat?
In this article, I will cover some key information about skiing behind a pontoon boat, so you can find out whether it’s safe, the challenges, and safety precautions you should take.
Let’s get into it.
Are You Allowed To Ski Behind A Pontoon Boat?
Yes, you are allowed to ski behind a pontoon boat. However, this isn’t true of all pontoon boats on the market, as you will need an engine that is at least 70HP.
That being said, a larger engine is required if you want to slalom. Typically speaking, 70 HP is the minimum horsepower that you will require, and 115 HP is a similar ride to that of a ski boat.
However, these numbers can change depending on a few variables such as the boat size, how many people are on it, and how much the skier weighs.
What Is The Difference Between Skiing Behind A Pontoon Boat And A Ski Boat?
There are a few differences you will need to consider.
Pontoon Boats Are Slower
With smaller engines, pontoon boats tend to be a lot slower than ski boats. As a result, you might find skiing less exciting.
It Can Take Time To Master Standing Up Behind A Pontoon Boat
Typically speaking, it will take you longer to stand up when skiing behind a pontoon boat.
This comes down to the fact that ski boats are much more powerful and travel faster, meaning that you can stand up out of the water at a quicker rate.
You need to remember to remain patient behind a pontoon boat, as your skis will be pulled by the water if you get up too quickly.
Pontoon Boats Have Less Maneuverability
Another thing to point out is that pontoon boats have less maneuverability. Being thrown around by sharp turns when skiing behind a ski boat isn’t the reality of skiing behind a pontoon boat.
Turns are slower, and if you’re looking for an exhilarating ride that is challenging, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
How Do You Stand Up On Skis Behind A Pontoon Boat?
There’s no getting away from the fact that the most challenging thing about skiing behind a boat is pulling yourself up, and skiing behind a pontoon boat is no exception.
Pulling a skier in the water is extremely tiring for them due to the resistance of the water, and it can even make the skier feel like they are drowning.
Many skiers tend to find it challenging to ensure that their legs are bent with their skies pointing forward. This is especially true of beginners, as they will struggle more than anyone.
The key to making sure you get up behind a pontoon boat is to be persistent and patient.
Ensure that your knees are bent with your legs close to your chest until your body is entirely up as this will also help you to ensure that your skis are straight.
You need to make sure that you give the boat enough time to build enough speed. If you prematurely stand up, you will end up sinking back in. This can lead to your skis becoming pulled from underneath you, and in turn result in you flying over your skis.
The key to skiing is to remain tucked until you are up and are out of the water. As a general rule to remember, don’t stand until the boat has travelled 100 yards.
You’ll find it tricky in the beginning, but you’ll get there with patience and determination!
What Are The Potential Challenges Of Skiing Behind A Pontoon Boat?
Although you can ski behind a pontoon boat, there are other challenges and potential frustrations that you will need to bear in mind.
It Takes Longer To Stand Up
One factor that you might find frustrating when it comes to skiing behind a pontoon boat is that it’s low engine horsepower means that it takes a while for you to stand up.
This can cause you to use up a lot of energy, and you may become tired at a quicker rate.
As a result, you could end up heading home earlier than you planned, which is frustrating if you had planned to be out on the water all day.
A Pontoon Boat Isn’t The Same As A Ski Boat
If you’re thinking that a pontoon boat is going to produce the same effect as a ski boat, you’d be wrong in thinking so! They’re very different, and will therefore result in a different experience.
Pontoon boats typically aren’t capable of stirring up enough turbulence to provide you with the same level of excitement that people associate with skiing behind a ski boat.
This comes down to the shape of a pontoon boat, which in turn, works to form three humps as the boat moves in the ocean. The hull of a ski boat is a V shape, and is what makes skiing on the water such an exhilarating ride.
Taking this into consideration, individuals who are serious about skiing might be disappointed with the ride behind a pontoon boat.
However, if you go into it with an open mind, and don’t compare the two, you’re bound to have a fun day!
Hard To Compete
As the experience is entirely different on a pontoon boat, when skiing behind one you won’t be able to show off your skills or compete in the same way that you would behind a ski boat.
While it’s still a fun day out, you might feel frustrated if you’re used to the challenge and ability to practice your skills behind a ski boat.
Tight Turns Can Be Challenging
You could be disappointed skiing behind a pontoon boat in that they are not designed to make really tight turns. In short, then, the majority of your turns will be slow and gentle, as opposed to the exciting thrill a ski boat provides.
Safety Precautions To Take When Skiing Behind A Pontoon Boat
Always Wear A Life Jacket
This is a given when you’re on a boat or are doing any kind of water sport, but the importance of wearing a life jacket should never be underestimated.
You will need to make sure that you invest in a United States Coast Guards (USCG) approved life jacket. The way to ensure that your life jacket is legitimately United States Coast Guard approved is to check whether there is a tag attached to the life jacket and it should be written inside the life jacket, too.
All passengers onboard should also be wearing a life jacket to ensure that you are all as safe as possible.
Always Drive At A Comfortable Speed For The Skier
If you’re driving the pontoon boat, you need to go at the speed that the skier is comfortable with.
In addition to this, you should always make sure that you’re driving the boat at a much slower speed when it comes to pulling children.
Avoid Crowded Waters
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s important that you avoid skiing behind a pontoon boat in crowded water, as this can get incredibly dangerous very quickly.
This will increase the chance of you injuring yourself and other people that are in the water.
If you know that the water is going to get busier over time, you need to take this into account and plan your session accordingly.
Always Assign Someone As A Spotter On The Boat
The majority of states require you to choose a spotter on the boat by law. This is incredibly important, as a spotter is there to ensure that the skier is okay and safe while someone else is driving the boat.
If the skier is in any trouble, the spotter will be able to inform the driver of the boat quickly, and you can rectify the situation.
You should never, ever allow someone to ski off the back of a boat without a spotter, as it could easily be fatal if you aren’t able to help the skier when they need it.
Learn Signals To Communicate With Each Other
There are a variety of hand signals that you can use to communicate with the driver while you’re skiing.
It’s important to respect the water and its dangers. Bearing this in mind, before you head out on the water, make sure that everyone has learned and understands the signals. This will ensure that you’re all on the same page for your own safety.
After all, you can never predict when they could come into use.
Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of skiing behind a pontoon boat!
Before you head out on the water, it’s always important to learn the different hand signals to communicate with one another and never take risks.
Have fun and most importantly, always be safe.