Can You Tow Behind A Jet Ski? A Watersports Guide

Watersports and towing a wakeboarder or water skier behind your jet ski can be an excellent experience for both the driver and the person being towed. Some jet skiers and wakeboards love the feeling of being pulled behind a smaller and more agile water vessel and have been doing it for years. Personally, I think it is much easier to learn any watersport by being towed behind a jet ski as they are quicker to turn around than a boat and you don’t have to deal with a HUGE boat wake. However, if this is your first time trying to tow someone behind your jet ski, take a look at the rest of this article and learn some tips and tricks for towing safely. 

Can you tow behind a jet ski? Yes! Towing behind a jet ski is possible if you have a more substantial style 3-person sized jet ski. This is because you need two additional seats alongside the driver of the jet ski; a person to put up a flag if the skier falls into the water, and space for the skier to jump back on the jet ski when they are done. There are more safety precautions to consider when than if you were merely going to tow someone with a boat. Keep reading to get the most up to date information about towing behind a jet ski. 

What Can You Tow Behind A Jet Ski? 

First of all, you can only legally tow someone behind a jet ski if you have a 3-person seat. In some states, you do not need to have a 3-seater jet ski as you are not required to have a flagger. But for safety, it is recommended. Second, you can pull any number of water sports behind a jet ski. Below is a list of the best things you can tow behind your jet ski. Have fun!

How to tow behind a Jet Ski:

To tow behind your jet ski, you will need to make sure you have a tow hook. Many jet skis come with a tow hook if they are a 3 seater. Some jet skis actually have a towing boom like the SeaDoo Wake. The other two items you will need are a flag and a spotter (in most states)

The flag is there to raise to alert other boaters that you have a skier, tuber, wakeboarder, or whatever you are towing in the water. You can lower the flag once towing, but if they fall, the spotter needs to raise it again.

Having mirrors on your jet ski is not a must have, but makes towing a skier much easier as the driver does not need to look back to check the wake or the skier. This keeps their eyes on the direction they are driving at all times.

Most jet skis now days are more than powerful enough to tow anything they want behind it (with the exception of a huge tube with 5 adults).

Once you have all of your items: driver, flag, tow rope, skier, passenger, and whatever you’re towing, you are ready to go.

NEVER RUN OVER THE ROPE. I learned this the hard way. This will disable your ski and leave you stranded on the lake. Always turn the ski off when waiting to not suck it in.

Steps to tow:

  • Hook up the rope to the jet ski
  • Get the skier in the water
  • Alert the passenger you are ready
  • Wait for the go signal from your skier
  • Hit the throttle
  • Slow down until a good towing speed

How fast do you need to tow behind your jet ski?

The speed of your jet ski will be determined by what kind of watersport you are doing. These speeds will vary depending on the rider, equipment used, and size of the wake produced. Here is a list of items and recommended speeds:

  • Tubes: 0-20 mph
  • Wakeboard: 18-22mph
  • Slalom Water Skier: 24-34 mph depending on weight
  • Dual skis: 20-25 mph
  • Barefoot Water Skier: 30-45 mph
  • Wakeskate: 18-22 mph
  • Wakesurf: 10 mph

Can you tow A Water Ski Behind Your Jet Ski?

When purchasing a jet ski, you may ask yourself if you can tow a water-skier behind it. Skiing behind a waverunner can be phenomenal and fun for experienced water skiers. The agility of the jet ski allows for water skiers to jump from the wakes produced with much more speed. You can also be sure to get the incredible force of turns that can be done much sharper on a jet ski than with a boat.

Some experienced water skiers even prefer riding behind jet skis compared to boats because the force of turns can be sharper and much more significant, and the jumps can be more significant because of the power that the sharp corners can create. 

One downside of towing a water skier behind a jet ski is that if you have a smaller lighter craft, the skier can actually pull the rear of the craft slowing it down. The driver will need to adjust the throttle accordingly to compensate.

Can you Wakeboard behind your Jet Ski?

Yes, you can wakeboard behind a jet ski. Wakeboarding is an excellent water towing sport for getting air and doing tricks. To do this, wakeboarders need higher speed and agility towards wakes than ordinary tubing or water skiing.

Getting towed behind a jet ski is excellent for building up momentum to jump from wakes since the turns on a jet skier can be made tighter, and built up momentum can be used with more precision to aim a wakeboarder off of the wake produced from the jet ski. True, wake by jet skis may not be as big as from boats, but it is way easier to learn off of a smaller jet ski wake than that of a large boat.

I like wakeboarding behind my jet ski because it allows me to master surface tricks such as surface 180’s much easier than with a boat.

Can you Tow A Tube Behind A Jet Ski?

Yes, tubing behind a jet ski is a lot of fun. One item to be careful of is in turns, the jet ski will need to make wider turns as turning will cause the tube to blast from one side to the other. New drivers can injure tubers by not knowing this fact. Other than the dangers of having a fast or reckless driver, tubing is a lot of fun behind a jet ski due to its quick and agile nature.

Using a long tow rope is essential for towing a tube behind a jet ski, so you make sure to keep it out of the impeller. Since there is a much higher chance of falling off of a tube when be flung at tight turns, jet skis have to be driven carefully when towing a tube. 

One person should only do tubing at a time when being towed by a jet ski unless you have a supercharged engine in the jet ski. This is because most engines on jet skis are not capable of pulling the full weight of two full-grown adults behind it very well. 

Can you Tow A Barefoot Water Skier Behind A Jet Ski?

Yes, but barefoot waterskiing takes a skier of incredible strength and a boat with an engine that has enough torque to get up to speed quickly. Barefoot water skiing is possible when being towed behind a powerful jet ski, but it is more difficult since you cannot use a boom adjacent to the boat, and if your ski cavities when you hit the throttle, it will be hard to get up.

Once up, barefoot skiing behind a jet ski would be just as good or even better than a boat as you are not trying to jump a wake and you will not be pulling the rear of the boat around like on a large water ski.

Can you Kneeboard Behind A Jet Ski

Riding a Kneeboard is a lot easier to get going on when being pulled by something that can accelerate quickly, so it is an excellent choice for when a jet ski is towing you. Strapping into the kneeboard is typically done once you get up from the board, so the quicker you can plane on the water, the sooner you can get strapped in and start riding.

Can you Wakeskate behind a jet ski?

Yes, you can wakeskate behind a jet ski. It is actually easier to learn behind a jet ski than a larger boat because you have quicker acceleration times to get out of the water, as well as a smaller wake to deal with for beginners.

I am not a beginner, but more of an intermediate wakeskater, If I am not doing jumps, I like to be pulled behind the jet ski much more than a boat. Just like wakeboarding, surface tricks are much easier.

What Are Safety Tips For Towing Behind A Jet Ski?

Some of the safety tips of towing behind a jet ski are common-sense precautions that all boaters should know. However, some precautions should be used, especially when towing a water sports person behind your jet ski. The following list will detail the top safety precautions that you should consider before deciding to pull anyone behind your jet ski.

#1: Tow Rope Length & Safety

The rope that you use to tow the person behind your jet ski should be long enough to limit interaction with the vessel. 60-100 feet of pulling line is an adequate length depending on what watersport you are doing. This is better for the skier, too, because it clears them from the churning water produced by the jet ski behind your craft.

Finally, do not back up over the rope. This can cause damage to the intake valve, which may force you to have to have to limp your engine back into the dock or even be stuck out in the middle of the lake without much fun for your rider.

#2: Careful With Turns When Towing A Tube

Usually, people fall off of tubes during sharp turns. This is because they have little control of balance or turning while sitting or kneeling on the tube. Be careful with speed and the tightness of the turns to make sure your rider is taken care of.

#3 Have A Flagger

This is a law, and make sure to follow it. Jet skis are already less visible that boats on the water, so having the second person on the jet ski hold up a flag for a downed rider is essential to keep visibility better.


Towing behind your jet ski is possible, and some experienced waterskiers prefer it to the boat. This is because the turns can be sharper, the speeds better, and the rides more intense.

Enjoying the water as a wakeboarder, tuber, barefoot skier, or water skier is not only possible from behind a jet ski, but it can be more fun. Make sure to follow safe boating guidelines and take the tips on this list seriously to keep the fun as safe as possible.

Make sure to only tow riders in good weather. Check the NOAA weather station before going out on the water. Riding on a 3-person jet ski is difficult in inclement and choppy weather.

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of if you can and what you can pull behind your jet ski. Watersports behind your jet ski are just as fun, if not better than being towed behind a boat in my opinion.