Water skiing. Wakeboarding. Wakesurfing. Kneeboarding. Tubing. If you’re looking to get wet and go fast you’ll find there’s no shortage of fun to be had with a boat. The wide world of watersports offer you and your family the ultimate in thrills and high-energy adventure!
Watersports Boat Types
How to Buy a Boat for Watersports
For most people, a boat will likely be one of the biggest investments of their lives, so it’s important to get it right. First you need to determine what you want to do with your boat. If you’re a passionate wakeboarder, for example, you shouldn’t waste your time looking at 18-foot stern-drives. Know what you want, then seek out boats in that category. For water sports, inboard boats are your best bet.
n many cases, the number of potential participants can dictate the size of boat you need. In general, more people equals a bigger boat, but it’s not quite that simple. The activities you want to do with the boat can also be a determining factor. For example, if you’re a serious slalom skier, you won’t look past a 20- to 22-foot direct-drive with a center-mounted pylon and a capacity of no more than five to nine people. These boats are purpose built for three-event skiing (slalom, trick and jump), so they generally don’t provide much potential for other sports.
Inboards in the 20- to 22-foot range with a V-drive configuration, however, are perfect for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, wakeskating and tubing, but their ski potential typically tops out at a recreational level. So if you want to ski, make sure you take a few passes behind the boat before signing on the dotted line.
If you’re after the most wakeboarding and wakesurfing potential, move on up to inboards in the 22- to 25-foot range. Smaller boats can throw great, well-shaped wakes too, but they don’t have the mass to make the bigger wakes and waves prized by more advanced riders and surfers. Boats in this range can wakeboard, wakeskate and wakesurf at a very high level, but their ski potential is recreational at best. Look for big numbers on internal ballast, plenty of storage and a quality wake-shaping device if you’re planning on wakeboarding or surfing. Big boats also tend to handle big water better than small boats.
Marine engines are an integral part of your boat's overall operation. If you're experiencing engine problems, they should be addressed right away. Likewise, if you want your boat to operate at its peak performance all season long, you'll need to perform these basic steps for motor maintenance.
Choosing the right life jacket or PFD (personal floatation device) for your preferred boating activities is one of the first steps in becoming a responsible boater. Follow our guide to learn about the different Coast Guard approved life jackets and how to ensure you have a proper fit.
Thinking about buying a boat at a boat show? Boat shows are a great opportunity for both first-time boat buyers and experienced owners to see some of the latest models, and negotiate some of the best deals. Here's a few tips for success while attending the show.