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Can we do water sports with a pontoon? This is a great question to ask before deciding on the right boat for you and your family. Pontoons are great for families looking for space, comfort, and smooth rides on the water. But can these versatile boats be used for water sports as well? 

Yes, pontoons can be used for water sports. It’s just a matter of what water sports you’re wondering about. Some water sports are fun and perfect for pontoons, like waterskiing, wakeboarding, or tubing. Others are extremely dangerous and should never be attempted behind a pontoon, like wake surfing. 

The reason that some water sports are fine, and others are not is because of the type of motor that is on pontoons. Pontoons are equipped with outboard motors meaning that the motor is completely on the outside of the boat. The prop makes this setup dangerous for some water sports.  

With the way that pontoons are built, let’s discuss the water sports that are safe and the sports that are not safe.  

Which Water Sports Can You Safely Do Behind a Pontoon? 

The good news is that there are more water sports that are safe to do behind a pontoon than vice versa. This means that you can enjoy several different sports behind a boat that is ideal for the whole family. Let’s go over the water sports that are safe for pontoons. 


Tubing is truly a fan favorite and one of the safe water sports for pontoons. Tubing is great for anyone and everyone because it requires no prior experience. Children and adults alike can enjoy this fun and exciting water sport when out on their favorite pontoon boat.  


Waterskiing is a popular water sport that many people love. Luckily, this fun sport is safe to do behind a pontoon boat. Waterskiing is great because it is a sport for beginners and experts alike. If your pontoon boat has a larger motor on it with enough torque, it’ll be the perfect boat for a waterski session.  

For those who want to add a twist to waterskiing, you can also barefoot.  


Another safe watersport for pontoons is wakeboarding. You can happily grab your board and rope for the pontoon to enjoy some wakeboarding. Since this sport is done on a line that puts you anywhere from 60 to 80 feet, you’re plenty of distance away from the motor to be safe.  

Wakeboarding is fun for kids and adults. It adds a challenge to the fun of water sports. If you’re up for the challenge, give wakeboarding a try next time the pontoon is out on the water.  

Foiling (Long-Line) 

The final watersport that is safe to do behind a pontoon is long-line foiling. Wake foiling is a fun water sport that has gained popularity in recent years. Foiling with a rope the length of a waterski or wakeboard rope is safe. This ensures that you’re far enough from the motor on the pontoon.  

What Water Sports Are Not Safe for a Pontoon? 

Now that we’ve gone over the water sports that are safe for pontoons, it’s time to acknowledge the sports that aren’t safe. These sports should never be attempted when on a pontoon. They could lead to big problems and very unsafe conditions for the person in the water. 

Wake Surfing 

Wake surfing is one water sport that should never be done behind a pontoon. It is unsafe because of how close the rider is to the back of the boat and therefore, the spinning propeller. For wake surfing, you’re going to want to stick to surf-specific boats such as towboats and others.  

Foiling (Short-Line) 

Earlier we discussed foiling as being safe, however the difference is the length of the rope. Many foil fans like to foil on a short line that is comparable to a surf rope. Behind a pontoon, this should never be done. For the same reasons as wake surfing, a short line puts you far too close to the back of the boat and the prop. 

Once again, if you choose to foil behind a pontoon, make sure you have a long line with plenty of distance between you and the boat. This will ensure that you and everyone else on board are safe. 

Safety First on the Water 

Whenever out on the water, it’s important that safety is the first concern. Make sure the water sport you want to enjoy is safe for a pontoon before jumping in the water. This could make the difference between a fun day on the water and a trip to the emergency room. 

Now that you know what water sports are safe to do behind a pontoon, it’s time to get out on the water and spend time with your friends and family.  

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