Can You Ski Behind A Pontoon Boat? Here’s The Answer

Skiing is the best recreational sport that many of you may like engaging. Right? If you’re someone who likes water skiing, you must have wondered whether you can ski behind a pontoon boat or not.

The reason is pretty simple here, and that’s that a pontoon boat is a bit different from other boats, and for water skiing, the boat that’ll pull you along must have the capacity to do so.

Hence, while some pontoon boats can aid you in skiing, others may not. This is what I’m going to discuss below. So, let’s start.

Can you ski behind a pontoon boat?

Basically, a pontoon is a special boat with a flat deck and distinct hollow and strong structures called “pontoons” at its base, making the entire boat water-resistant.

And hence, you can ski behind a pontoon boat. But, as I said above, you can’t ski behind every pontoon boat. The boat you wish to ski behind must deliver enough horsepower of speed to pull you along.

Ideally speaking, for waterski, the boat should move at a speed of at least 20mph, or if it’s 26mph or 27mph, it’s the best.

Furthermore, most pontoon boats come equipped with a 70bhp engine, which is sufficient for tubing but may not be for waterskiing.

If you’re doing water skiing just for fun and professionally, this much horsepower is enough.

However, 90bhp is what most of the experts vouch for. Thus, the more the pontoon boat’s horsepower, the more adventurous your water skiing will get. 

It’s also worth noting that the number of people on the pontoon boat also matters.

For example, if the boat is carrying 1-2 people and its engine is 70bhp, you’re good to glide along. But if the boat is carrying 5-10 people, then even 90bhp may appear inefficient. 

What are the downsides of skiing behind a pontoon boat?

The following are the common disadvantages of skiing behind a pontoon boat and why they aren’t the best option in this regard.

1. They are generally not fast

Over 70-80% of the pontoon boats you’ll see lying on lakes and riversides will have an average speed of around 18-25mph.

Such a speed isn’t suitable for most water activities like water skiing, tubing, etc.

Though some high-end models are now coming up with greater speed, using such boats will dent your skiing budget, and they’re usually not found everywhere. 

2. Pontoon boats are not suited for high winds or rough water

Water skiing is best enjoyed amidst the high winds, tall waves, and rough water. Now, you’ll feel awful knowing that pontoon boats are not made to sail through high winds or rough waters.

Due to its V-shaped front end, it can dive into the wave instead of going over it. Hence, pontoon boats don’t match up with the ideal water conditions for water skiing.

3. They don’t make a great wake shape

If you’re a serious water sportsman or keen on getting pulled behind a pontoon boat, you won’t like its ability to make its wake, unlike the other boats.

In a typical ski boat, its wake is similar to the one behind you. Plus, the pontoon boat’s wake is a little wider than others, due to which you won’t get that “hump” while skiing. 

4. Pontoon boats are hard to handle

Due to its massive turning radius, a pontoon boat is hazardous to handle, and if it’s pulling someone behind it, the thing gets more arduous.

They are incapable of making tight turns, and they aren’t your high-performance boat. A pontoon boat with a length of around 28-foot will have a turning radius of approximately 26ft. That’s huge! 

5. Pontoon boats are too loud

The old models of pontoon boats boast outdated engines that produce too loud sound at full power.

Hence, if you are taking a pontoon boat for water skiing or any other water activity, make sure it’s fitted with modern outboard motors. These motors are less noisy and more powerful.

6. Pontoon boats are not suitable for competitive skiing

If you’re water skiing with friends or practicing competitive water skiing, you won’t find a pontoon boat complimenting you in this. Their massive structure with a broader wake doesn’t allow a bitter water skiing experience.

Hence, these six reasons prove why water skiing behind a pontoon boat may not be your ideal decision.

How fast should you ski behind a pontoon boat?

A commonly found pontoon boat has a 70bhp engine that won’t help you do challenging water skiing.

For generating enough power and acceleration at the starting, minimum horsepower is 90bhp, or 70bhp will also work if the boat isn’t full.

But for serious water skiing behind a pontoon boat, the minimum suggested horsepower is 115bhp. 

Now, for water skiing, the pontoon boat needs to move at around 16-18mph for you to at least ski behind it. Even at this speed, a tall skier will remain half underwater and a half on its surface. 

Can a pontoon boat pull a tube?

The answer to the above question is both a yes and no. If your pontoon boat features enough horsepower and a severe engine capability, it can pull a tube. In another case, the pontoon boat may not.

Another thing that influences a pontoon boat’s tube pulling abilities is the total number of passengers it’s carrying.

For example, if the boat has a horsepower of 150bhp and it’s carrying two people, and the tube has a few kids over it, the boat can pull them at a decent speed.

But if the boat is loaded with passengers and the available horsepower is 115bhp, the tubing experience won’t be thrilling. 

As a thumb rule, if the pontoon boat’s horsepower is relative to the weight it’s pulling, the water tubing will get more thrilling and exciting. 


So, that’s all for your query: can I ski behind a pontoon boat. Though a pontoon boat is made for various water sports, its relative length, speed of moving, and horsepower are what have their final say at the end.

For example, if you’re water skiing behind a pontoon boat, the required horsepower is 70-90bhp, and speed is 16-20mph. Otherwise, you won’t feel like skiing.