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Towing with a pontoon.

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  • Towing with a pontoon.

    I’m thinking about buying a pontoon/party barge to add to the fleet. My aim is to have the ski and the pontoon out at the same time, which feels like the best of both worlds to me.

    If I tow the ski I realize I have to clamp off a couple of hoses, so my question is this: can I tow the ski with it running in neutral to avoid having to clamp hoses? Normally I’ll have another person to ride the ski but if it’s me and my wife I’ll be driving to pontoon and she’s not much for the ski.

    Other than wasting gas is this crazy? And it being a bit illegal probably!

  • #2
    Neutral in a PWC just means the reverse bucket is lowered part way. Towing with the reverse bucket even partially down is liable to create problems.

    Also, the engine running requires the lanyard to be inserted. Leaving the PWC running with no-one aboard creates a risk that the ‘neutral’ bucket position could revert to forward, which would cause the PWC to drive forward over its own tow rope. Rope ingestion into the jet pump is a bad thing.

    It is not difficult to install what is known as a ‘tow valve’ inline with the main cooling water feed hose, inside the hull. I have posted photos and details on how to install a plastic Antelco irrigation valve. Once installed, it takes only a few seconds to turn the valve off for towing, then turn the ball valve on prior to running the engine.

    For the actual towing, consider creating a tow bridle with two attachment points to the pontoon boat. Slide the tow ropes through pool noodles, which will help keep the ropes away from the pontoon propeller and provide more control of the PWC when the pontoon is slowing, reversing or in neutral.
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    • #3
      Thanks that’s good advice. I assumed my idea was silly but I thought I’d ask anyway. Agreed on the towing bridle idea, I already did this on another project towing a tube behind a small alu boat with an outboard, worked perfectly.