Can Pontoon boats pull a skier?

The versatility of a pontoon boat has always been one of its standout qualities. There's hardly any other watercraft that offers such a wide array of possibilities.

For example, you can go fishing, enjoy leisurely cruises with your family and friends, comfortably accommodating a large group. Whether you're looking to socialize, swim, or dine, pontoon boats transform into floating venues, capable of becoming whatever you desire.

Surprisingly, you can even try water skiing behind a pontoon boat.

Of course, not every pontoon boat is up to the task. Achieving the speed required for water skiing necessitates sufficient engine horsepower. While many might not associate pontoon boats with horsepower, it's high time we challenge that notion.


Enjoyable Skiing, Not Competitive Skiing


First, let's clarify one thing: If you're a competitive waterskier or wakeboarder, a dedicated ski boat is strongly recommended. These athletes seek specific wake patterns and maneuverability that only ski boats can provide. However, for families and friends who simply want to have fun casually tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding, a pontoon boat might be precisely what you're looking for.


Horsepower and Speed


As a general rule, water skiing or wakeboarding requires a boat to reach speeds of at least 20 miles per hour, often closer to 26 or 27. Tubing demands a bit less speed, with around 15 miles per hour offering a good time.

For tubing, a pontoon boat equipped with a 70-horsepower engine is sufficient. You might manage to get up on skis at this level, but 90 horsepower is a more reliable choice. Beyond that, higher engine horsepower opens up more possibilities for water sports adventures.

Keep in mind that these speed and horsepower guidelines are generalities. Factors such as the number of people on board can affect your ability to reach ideal skiing speeds. For instance, 90 horsepower with a dozen passengers will result in slower speeds compared to the same horsepower with just two people. Moreover, a 90-horsepower engine may be adequate for pulling a skier behind a 20-foot boat, but a larger 26-foot boat will require more engine power.


Differences Between Skiing Behind a Pontoon Boat and a Ski Boat


There's no denying the enjoyment of wakeboarding, skiing, or tubing behind a pontoon boat; adding water sports to the ever-expanding list of activities that pontoons can accommodate.

As mentioned above, the wave patterns created behind a pontoon boat won't resemble the traditional waterskiing one. This means you'll have less choppy water to maneuver on your skis. Additionally, pontoon boats typically aren't as agile as ski boats, so you won't experience as much side-to-side action. However, for most people, a pontoon boat's larger turning radius provides ample fun while skiing. Only experienced and dedicated skiers will discern a significant difference.

Pontoon boats continue to evolve, becoming more versatile, powerful, and exciting. Skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are just a few examples of the growing list of activities you can enjoy on your pontoon boat.


  • Pontoons vs Deck Boats

    Pontoons vs Deck Boats

    Learn More
  • Can you ride a pontoon on the ocean?

    Can you ride a pontoon on the ocean?

    Learn More