A jet ski is a small motorcycle-like machine powered by an outboard motor and an impeller, and can travel on the surface of the water.
The term “jet ski” was originally a Kawasaki-specific brand name used for the brand’s personal watercraft, but has now been widely adopted to describe a small watercraft on which a rider sits, like on a motorcycle. However, the general term used to describe this vehicle is PWC (personal watercraft).
A jet ski is a great way to experience and explore local waterways. It can also be used for more than one purpose as most jet skis nowadays have a tow hook located at the rear that can open up a whole new world of possibilities, including towing tubes, wakeboarders, and water skiers.
Water skiing with a jet ski became possible thanks to the tow hook set up in the machine’s rear and the specifications made by the manufacturer to make a jet ski suitable for towing. However, not all jet skis are properly set up for effective towing. This, and all other aspects of how using a jet ski for water skiing is possible, are what we are about to find out.
Can a jet ski pull a skier?
Yes, it is possible to water ski behind a jet ski, especially if it is designed for towing sports. A jet ski can indeed be used for water skiing if it is a three-seater that can accommodate the driver, the spotter, or flag holder, and for recovering the skier. The jet ski also needs 110 horsepower or greater to be able to pull a 150-200 lbs. skier. Read along and let us break this down for you.
Here are some tips to be able to water ski behind a jet ski:
- By law, a jet ski for water skiing should be a three-seater to be able to accommodate the driver, spotter, and skier.
- The jet ski should have an ideal horsepower of 110 or greater to be able to pull a skier weighing up to 200 lbs.
- A 100-foot tow rope is also needed to offer the skier enough clearance of the turbulence behind the jet ski.
- A brightly colored tow rope is best for visibility and to decrease the chances of it getting stuck in the jet ski.
- If the jet ski drifts over the tow rope, the driver should immediately shut the engine off and not start the engine if the rope got stuck into the pump as this could strip the driveshaft splines.
- If a tow rope has gotten into the pump, have the jet ski towed back to the shore and remove the tow rope once there. Remember not to tip the jet ski on its side.
- When pulling a skier, allow at least twice the length of the rope from the shoreline, so that when a jet ski turns away from the shore, the skier is snapped toward the shore. A jet ski that is too close to the shore can create a dangerous situation.
- Take the necessary precautions.
Water skiing and snow skiing are fun and exciting sports that offer a lot of health benefits. If you need to chose one over the other, which should you choose? For beginners, it’s better to start with the easier activity. The question is: which is harder, water skiing or snow skiing?
Can you tube with a jet ski?
Yes, you can tube with a jet ski because it is powerful, compact, and able to tow even wakeboarders and water skiers. Plus, they are more affordable than boats.
Tubing involves individuals riding on top of an inner tube while being towed by a personal watercraft or powerboat. Tubing is also known as towed or kite tubing, inner tubing, and bumper tubing. It can be done on snow, water, or in the air.
Here are some reasons why people prefer tubing with a jet ski:
- A jet ski is easier to launch than a towing boat. It can be easily launched on and off the trailer, and some local marinas even have a ramp specifically for jet skis.
- It is easier to transport a jet ski than a large boat. Indeed, the size of a jet ski and trailer will allow you to take it almost anywhere.
- A jet ski can navigate through narrow canals. It is compact and much easier for exploring small coves and narrow canals. Although, always take precautions when towing a tube through these places.
- They are made for shallow waters. Since there is no propeller underneath, you can easily pull right up the shoreline.
- They have no negative impact on wildlife. Indeed, since a jet ski is not equipped with a propeller, it will not accidentally strike marine animals, plants, and other marine life.
- A jet ski is more affordable than a boat. If you are on a tight budget and are handy with a wrench, a refurbished jet ski is cheaper and can last for several years with no problems.
Laws to obey when towing a person behind a vessel
- The driver must have another competent person on board to act as an observer.
- PWC operators are not allowed to tow a person if the PWC is not recommended or designed to accommodate three people.
- PWC operators are not allowed to tow anyone if there is no observer competent enough on board to observe the person being towed.
- Vessels are not allowed to come within 100 feet of any PWC, occupied anchored boat, or any swimming area and public boat landing.
- Anyone towed behind a vessel on water skis or another device, nor their towing rope should not come within 100 feet of the PWC.
- It is not legal to manipulate the tow rope, water skis, or other devices such that the person or towed devices collide with any other object or person.
What should an operator do before towing a skier?
- The jet ski operator should have another person on board to be an observer.
- The operator should review hand signals together with the skier to ensure proper communication during the ride.
- The operator should make sure the skier is wearing a USCG-approved life jacket or PFD designed for water skiing. The PFD should have a high impact rating.
- The jet ski operator should be familiar with the area and be aware of any potential hazards.
- If towing multiple skiers, the operator should make sure that the tow ropes are of the same lengths.
- It is both hazardous and illegal to tow a skier at night.
If you don’t want to fall face first in the water when you’re water skiing, then you need to know how to maintain a proper stance. In order to do this, the first question that you need to ask is: which foot should be forward for water skiing? Read our article to find out.
Tips for water skiing with a jet ski
- Wear a PFD or personal floatation device because you never know when a fall will knock you unconscious.
- Learn the proper hand signals to be able to communicate with the driver.
- Never ski under the influence of alcohol or drugs as it is extremely dangerous and illegal.
- Do not spray other skiers, swimmers, or vessels as it is illegal, dangerous, and discourteous.
- Do not wrap the tow rope around any of your body parts.
- After falling in the water or dropping the rope, always hold a ski up out of the water so that the operator and other vessels can see you.
- Do not approach the back of the vessel unless the engine is turned off.
Water skiing with a jet ski is possible thanks to the modern innovations that have been made on jet skis to allow towing, such as the tow rope setup on the rear, the three-seater design, and the 110 or more horsepower that can even accommodate heavier skiers.
Before you hit the water, you need to learn jet ski etiquette, proper hand signals, and the rules and regulations implemented for water skiing with a jet ski. These preparations are necessary for you to be able to have a fun and safe water skiing experience.