How to Choose the Perfect Watersport Boat
There’s nothing better than the moment you dive into the water on a warm, beautiful day — until you’re being towed behind your boat and your family and friends are there to cheer you on.
No matter what watersport you like, it all comes down to the same pure enjoyment — your favorite songs, cold drinks and warm sun after a refreshing dip. Here at Sirocco Marine, we love that feeling, and we want all of our customers to have the same kind of moments in their boats.
So, what’s the best boat for watersports? There isn’t one answer, because it all depends on you.
Choosing the right boat that has the capabilities for your favorite watersports isn’t just about how big you can get your wake or fast you can ski — you also have to remember the basics. Besides the functions of your boat and keeping enough room on deck for everyone to stretch out, picking the right one for your whole family means choosing something that works for everyone.
When you’re figuring out how to pick perfect watersport boat, it’s important to consider a few factors. Let’s jump in.
How Will You Use Your Boat?
Depending on if you like to waterski, wakeboard or get the whole family on an inflatable banana, the type of boat you choose matters.
Here are some of the best boats for watersports:
1. Ski Boats
Waterskiers typically like a boat that has an inboard, direct-drive engine that propels from close to the center of the boat — this design gives the vessel excellent tracking and ability to maintain a course. Also, the position of the propeller underneath the hull allows it to get up on plane faster and reach the optimal speed to ski.
With a direct drive, more of the engine’s power gets translated directly into the water because there isn’t a need for gearing. Also, ski boats typically have a wide surface area, which allows them to get up on plane quickly and not create a large wake.
2. Wakeboard Boats
Wakeboarding is all about — you guessed it — the wake. Having a boat that displaces water in the right way is crucial to having fun when you’re behind the boat — and also to give your more-extreme passengers a ramp to launch up into the air.
Typically, the classic wakeboarding boat has a V-drive layout with the engine placed near the aft end by the transom. Not only does the placement of engine affect the weight distribution of the boat by shifting the weight backward and giving you a bigger wake, but the stern position of the center of mass also provides the boat with a better balance when traveling at ideal wakeboarding speeds.
In addition to the placement of engine and shape of the hull, most wakeboarders like to have a tow-tower. The tower helps pull the wakeboarder up and out of the water instead of downwards — which makes it easier to hold on and gives a rider more potential to get up into the air.
If you’re serious about wakeboarding or interested in wakesurfing, and it’s the sole purpose for you buying a boat, you may want to consider getting a boat with ballast control. What is ballast? It’s extra weight that you add to a vessel to make it ride a certain way — for wakeboarding, this means adding water to ballast tanks to make the wake bigger.
Some boats have automatic ballasts that you can adjust till the wake behind the boat is just like you like it. The more water you add to the stern ballast, the bigger the wake will be.
3. Jet Boats
If you’re all about speed, jet boats might have what you’re looking for. Their construction allows them to sit very high on the water, which means they plane very easily and don’t produce much wake. They can also change directions very quickly, which can be fun for whipping around inflatable water tubes. However, they don’t track as well as a boat that has a rudder, which some skiers don’t like.
Jet boats aren’t for everyone, but they can be a lot of fun if they suit what you like to do.
4. Personal Watercraft
Some people will even tow behind their personal watercraft. Some jetskis have the power to pull a wakeboarder or a skier, but you won’t have the big wake to play with like on a traditional vessel. All the same, it’s a fun option to consider.
One advantage to buying a personal watercraft is that there’s less to maintain and they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to store. Having a jetski isn’t a replacement for owning a boat, but they sure are fun.
5. Boats for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Two of the best watersports don’t involve towing a passenger at all. If you love to look at what’s beneath the surface and delight in the wonders of the underwater world, rigid-inflatable boats (RIBs) are an excellent option. Their inflatable siding makes for a soft entry and exit point for the whole family.
6. Boats That Do It All
If you’re an all-around boating enthusiast and you don’t want to limit yourself to one activity, you may want to consider buying a crossover rigid-inflatable boat. This name refers to vessels that you can use not just for watersports but for pleasure cruising too — having a boat like this is fantastic for your passengers who like to lounge in the bow while all of the hooting and hollering is going on in the back of the boat.
Rigid-inflatable watersport-capable boats are as versatile as they are beautiful. With an incredible power-to-size ratio, you can do pretty much anything you want to with one of these boats. Whether the whole family is all about watersports or you like to split your time between the extreme and relaxation — these boats are equipped for it all.
After you’ve decided what watersports you think you’ll like to enjoy aboard your new boat, there are a few more things to consider before determining what model is right for you. But no matter what type of boat you choose, you’ll be joining the over 87 million people who enjoy recreational boating every year.
Where Will You Use Your Boat?
The best watersport boat for you also depends on where you’ll be using it.
If you plan on using your boat strictly on a lake or a river, especially where the water is always relatively calm, you might want something smaller and more maneuverable.
If you like to ride out on the open ocean, you’ll want something with more power and size to cover vast distances as well as handle rougher conditions. You and your guests don’t want to be bouncing around too much on a long ride back to the marina, so choose a boat that will keep the whole crew comfortable.
Also, the longer you plan to be out on your boat, the larger and more comfortable you will want it to be. Nobody wants to sit in the same spot for four hours — some room to move is nice if you’re going on long exploration missions or cruises. On the other hand, if you’re just hopping in the boat for a few laps around the lake, then something smaller might work well for you and your guests.
Where Will You Keep Your Boat?
Consider where you’ll be storing your boat and the size limitations of that area before you purchase. Will you be keeping your boat in a garage? Do you have a slip? Measure your maximum storage space and leave yourself enough room to move around your vessel for maintenance. This will help you get an idea of the size of boats you should consider. Rigid-inflatable boats are a good choice if you don’t have much storage space since they are relatively compact when deflated.
Where Will You Take Your Boat?
If you plan on getting a large boat and taking it in and out of the water, make sure your vehicle has the towing capacity required for a boat that size. Towing a boat can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have experience hauling a trailer. You need to make sure you have a trailer that fits your boat, the right kind of hitch for your trailer and all the necessary straps, chains and light connections to keep everything secure and safe. Even if you have all the right equipment, it can be challenging to get a boat in and out of the water if your vehicle is underpowered or has low clearance. If you’re new to towing, check out this guide for some pointers.
Thankfully, many rigid-inflatable boats, including the BRIG, don’t need to be towed. When deflated, most RIBs will fit inside a car or on a cargo rack.
Who’s Coming Along for the Ride?
When you’re buying a boat, you can’t just think about how it performs for you and a watersport rider. You have to consider how many people you may be bringing along. You want to have enough room not only to seat for everyone but also a little extra so people can move around freely if they want to. Keep in mind that not everyone aboard might like watersports, and you may want to have enough room for the sunbathers to lie out and enjoy being on the water in their own way.
You’ll also need room for boat essentials including a personal flotation device for every person on board and emergency signaling devices. Boating can be a lot of fun, but safety is always a priority, especially if your passengers include children or pets. You need a boat you know is safe.
Rigid-inflatable boats are a popular choice for families because of their ruggedness and safety. The inflatable collar acts as a shock absorber in rough water — or in case you accidentally bump into something. You don’t need to worry about getting a crack in your hull or damaging another vessel. Having a protective cushion around the boat is also a bonus if you’re teaching kids how to dock. The durable material even stands up to your dog’s nails. The inflatable ring is also incredibly buoyant, making RIBs virtually unsinkable. They’re unparalleled in maintaining safety on the water.
Rigid Inflatable Boats Do It All
Rigid inflatable boats are incredibly versatile. They are arguably the most efficient, safest and most fun boats on the market today. Because of their lightweight construction, you can pack in a lot of fun with a little fuel. They have the speed and the power to accommodate almost all watersports and space for stretching out and soaking up rays.
There’s a reason why the Navy Seals trust rigid-inflatable boats for their intense ocean missions — these boats perform exceptionally well in all conditions and are nearly impossible to sink. The Navy describes RIBs as high-speed extreme weather craft that have a top speed of over 40 knots and a range of about 200 nautical miles.
At Sirocco Marine, we offer boats of only the highest-standard because we know the safety of your friends and family depends on it. Our Sirocco tenders and rigid-inflatables from BRIGUSA are capable of pushing excitement to the limit and keeping your family safe at all times.
Also, for loading and unloading, the stability offered by rigid-inflatable boats is second to none. The inflatable siding gives the vessel an exceptionally stable platform for you to stand on. Not to mention that it has excellent shock absorption when running in rough and choppy conditions. And because of the rigid hull and inflatable-siding combination, rigid-inflatables offer all the same tracking of traditional watersport boats with the added benefits of inflatables.
Sirocco Marine and BRIGUSA
When you’re looking for a boat to help you make unforgettable memories, you want something that will not only give you the performance you need to push excitement to the limit but also one that will be dependable and look as beautiful as it runs. That’s what we offer at Sirocco Marine — the best. We don’t settle for anything less, and neither do our customers. All of our BRIGUSA inflatable boats are manufactured by expert craftsmen and seasoned engineers. They continually create industry-leading designs with high-quality materials.
We offer a selection of BRIGUSA rigid-inflatable boats that has something for every boater. And when you buy a boat from Sirocco Marine, you’re not just a customer — you’re part of the family. Contact us today for any more information or questions you may have. We’re more than happy to help and get you out on the water.