Jet boats are so popular today. They operate almost the same as jet skis, but they are a little bigger for added comfort. These boats are ideal when you need to race on the surface of shallow waters.
They are lightweight, fast, and versatile. But can you wakeboard behind these boats?
Can You Wakeboard Behind A Jet Boat?
You can wakeboard behind a jet boat even though the boats were not originally designed for wakeboarding. A host of wakeboarding equipment have come up to enhance the wakeboarding capacity of the jet boats. In 2018, for instance, Yamaha launched the wake shaper for jet boats that you can use to create more wake.
Jet boats are light, but they have a powerful propulsion mechanism, allowing them to drive very fast. Thanks to the speed of these boats, you need the right safety equipment for safe wakeboarding.
Even though they are small, jet boats are powerful enough to tow a wakeboarder. Their lightweight and speed present interesting wakeboarding opportunities.
The main challenge with wakeboarding behind a jet boat is generating enough wake for the fun a ride needs and maintaining the speed of the boat during and after takeoff. The drive of the boat needs to be skillful enough to ensure the speed of the boat doesn’t rise too much and the rider also needs to respond to the variations in speed.
An inexperienced wakeboarder should ride at no more than 15 mph while experienced wakeboarders can ride at up to 25 mph. If the driver of the boat maintains the speed based on the skill level of the rider, the wakeboarding will go smoothly.
What Should Be in a Jet Boat to Facilitate Wakeboarding?
Because they are light, jet boats are not able to generate enough wake for a fun glide across the surface of water. However, most jet boat manufacturers today create boats that have a ballast system. This is a system that brings water into the boat and holds it temporarily.
The water adds weight to the boat pushing it deeper into the water. When the boat is deeper in the water, it displaces more water, creating bigger waves good for waterpsorts.
The problem with jet boats is that the jet shoots directly behind on the space where the waves should form. This affects how the waves form and most wakeboarders find this less ideal.
However, with a ballast system, you can ensure that the jet does not affect the formation of the waves and you are able to ride with so much fun. Most jet boats can hold 2000 pounds of ballast or more.
For a jet boat, I recommend you start with about 1,200 pounds of ballast and see how that goes. If your boat is bigger, you may need more ballast to sink its hull. Ballast bags are available in different sizes to meet the needs of every jet boat on the market.
Some jet boats come with a ballast system, but for others you need to install an aftermarket ballast bag. You need to place the ballast system as far back as possible to increase its impact in sinking the boat.
There are ballast systems designed for specific jet boats. If these are available for your boat brand, go for them.
What other equipment should your jet boat have?
These are devices engineered to create a better wake. The shaper attaches to the side of your boat or at the back of the boat, and they displace more water for a better wake. With a wake shaper, you do not need a ballast system.
The shapers are available in different styles and sizes, allowing you to customize the shape and size of the wake you create.
The wake tower is an aluminum bar that mounts to the hull of your boat. With the bar, you have a high towing point that makes your wakeboarding fun. You can also use the tower to mount wakeboard racks and speakers.
This is a platform that mounts on the wake tower providing storage for your wakeboard at all times. You can store the wakeboard anywhere else on the boat, but the rack makes the board easier to access.
This is not necessary for wakeboarding, but there is no better way to have fun than to have your favorite playlist on. Because the boat is loud, you may need a loud sound system.
Note that, jet boats were designed to give speed and ride on shallow waters with ease. Some brands may not have some of the equipment you need to wakeboard. Luckily, there are aftermarket parts to get your boat ready for wakeboarding.
Modern jet boats now have sophisticated control centers and other equipment you need to wakeboard. The fact that the prop of these boats is not exposed makes them safe for wakeboarders. Plus, jet boats look great.
If you are considering a jet boat for wakeboarding, check out the rules and regulations of the waterway. This way, you will have everything you need to ensure you do not go against the law when having fun.
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What Makes Jet Boats Different From Other Wakeboard Boats?
Jet boats use water jet propulsion instead of a propeller. Using a water jet makes the boats more environmentally friendly. The engine is fast and quiet and doesn’t produce any fumes.
The jet propulsion system is only effective for small boats and cannot steer large ships and yachts. The idea behind water jet propulsion was birthed in 1661. This idea went through several adjustments before it was adopted for use in commercial vessels.
The principle works based on Newton’s Third Law or Motion, which states; every action produces and equal and opposite reaction. A jet boat ejects a water jet from the aft nozzle. The force from the water jet creates a reaction force that pushes the boat forward.
The water moves into the boat through a suction duct at the underside of the boat. Most boats have a single duct, but having many ducts can make the boat better at suctioning water.
If the duct under the boat blocks, the boat will stop and you have to unblock the system ducts. However, some boats have a backflush system that can dislodge the debris in the duct.
The water that comes in through the duct is at low energy, and it needs to be at high energy to work. The system creates turbulence using blades. These blades create enough pressure, which is then ejected at high pressure from the nozzle.
What Accessories Should You Have to Wakeboard Behind a Jet Boat?
A jet boat is small, but it still offers enough space for a few friends, and you can even bring your golden retriever to have fun with you. To enhance your wakeboarding experience, you need to have the necessary experience to have fun in the waters.
For starters, you need the necessary safety gear such as a wet suit and buoyancy jacket for you and your furry friend. You also need a helmet to protect you from the impact from the boat in case sudden changes in speed make you fall on the boat.
You may also need a reboarding ladder or step that you can use to climb back into the boat after being out there. A skier down flag may also come in handy to signal when you are ready to tow or if someone falls into the water.
Some of these accessories are not necessary, but they make wakeboarding much more interesting. You can have as many accessories as you need, but note that they add to the weight of your boat, so do not bring any unnecessary items.
I love the fun that comes with a jet boat. I prefer using the boat for racing across the waters to wakeboarding behind it. However, when I need speed and the fun that comes with trying new tricks, I go for a jet boat.
There is so much you can do on a jet boat as a wakeboarder. With the right amount of ballast and wakeboarding equipment, a jet boat will offer as much fun as any other wakeboarding boat offers. Some boats may disappoint you, especially when you need those large wakes, but you will have fun.
You may also spend more money on aftermarket parts, but the fun you have behind that boat will be worth the hassle. Unlike a jet ski, a jet boat offers enough storage space for your gear and accessories and allows you to bring your friends or your dog on board.
Wakeboarding on a jet boat comes in handy when you do not have the money to buy a wakeboarding boat. You can buy these boats for as little as $20,000 while a standard wakeboarding boat costs as much as $150,000. You save money and you have enough fun behind the boat.