We understand why many aspiring ski boat owners have this question in mind: how much does a ski boat weigh? Although the answer varies across brands and models, 2,800 to 6,700 pounds is the average ski boat weight.
Knowing a ski boat’s weight is essential in determining the most appropriate towing vehicle. It can also help you plan for safer and more enjoyable water skiing without overloading the vessel.
Please keep reading to learn more.
Table of Contents
How Heavy is a Ski Boat?
The principal function of a ski boat is to pull skiers in the water behind a soft or small wake.
1. Dry weight
Ski boats are small watercraft with an average dry weight (without the engine, fuel, and other components) ranging from 2,800 to 6,700 pounds. However, we must point out that these figures can vary.
A ski boat’s dry weight does not provide a clear picture of its heft during operation. Engine, fuel capacity, passenger capacity, gear, and other factors can influence the boat’s overall weight. These influences will come under our scrutiny later.
2. Material construction
One of the most significant influences on ski boat weight is material construction. Aluminum is lighter than fiberglass and other boat construction materials.
Suppose you have an aluminum boat measuring about 15 feet. You can expect its weight to be around 2,000 pounds.
Meanwhile, a 17 foot ski boat will be heavier, adding an extra 1,500 pounds (at least) to a 15-footer’s base weight of 3,000 pounds. A material heavier than aluminum will tip the scale even further, measuring up to 40% heavier.
A 19 ft boat weight can be lower than the examples above, provided the boat features fiberglass, aluminum, or other lightweight yet durable materials. For example, the 19-foot Yamaha SX190 has a fiberglass/GRP hull for an impressive dry weight of 2,377 pounds.
Meanwhile, the 22 foot Axis A225 is only 400 pounds heavier than the sample 17-footer we described above (which is about 4,500 pounds). And this fiberglass-hulled ski-wakeboard vessel has an extra five feet to accommodate 15 passengers.
Unfortunately, ski boat length is not a reliable indicator of vessel weight. A longer ski boat may be lighter than a shorter version, and vice versa.
Material construction is also not the only determinant of ski boat heft. Another significant influence is the brand. You can have two ski boats with varying weights, despite being under the same umbrella organization.
For example, the average MasterCraft ski boat weight is 5,000 pounds, split between the 3,300-pound 2019 ProStar and the 6,700-pound 2019 X26.
Let us look at some popular ski boats to appreciate how they vary in weight.
|Boat||Length||Dry Weight||Capacity (people)|
|Yamaha SX190||19 feet, 5 inches||2,377 pounds||8|
|Malibu TXi MO||20 feet, 7 inches||3,100 pounds||5|
|Tige RZX20 2019||20 feet||4,975 pounds||13|
|Correct Craft Ski Nautique||20 feet||2,945 pounds||7|
|Moomba Outback 2013||20 feet, 7 inches||2,800 pounds||10|
|MasterCraft ProStar 2019||20 feet||3,300 pounds||7|
|Supra Comp TS6M 1989||20 feet||2,350 pounds||6|
|Axis A20||20 feet, 1 inch||3,500 pounds||11|
|Centurion Carbon Pro 20||20 feet, 1 inch||2,800 pounds||5|
The table above shows that the 1989 Supra Comp TS6M is the lightest among the ski boats we sampled at 2,350 pounds. However, we must point out that it is a 1989 model, and we assume potential ski boat owners would want something newer.
The Weight with Trailer
It is reasonable to expect the ski boat and trailer weight to average 5,590 pounds, following the simplified computation of 933 pounds (trailer weight) to 4,657 pounds (boat weight).
- Many online resources provide an estimate of trailer weight capacity based on the trailer weight.
For instance, a 295-pound, 62-inch wide, and 15-foot 4-inch-long single-axle trailer can accommodate a 1,000-pound boat.
We mentioned that the minimum ski boat weight is 2,800 pounds. Hence, a 3,000-pound trailer weight capacity is necessary. This trailer weighs about 625 pounds and measures 96 inches wide and 18 feet, 2 inches long.
If you are looking for a wakeboard boat weight with trailer, we can use a higher trailer weight capacity rating.
Wake boats are larger (thus, heavier) than ski boats. For example, the Centurion Ri257 is a cutting-edge wake boat that also doubles as a ski boat. It measures 25 feet, 7 inches, weighs 6,150 pounds, and seats 18 people.
A 1,512-pound trailer with a maximum trailer weight capacity of 7,000 pounds is necessary for the Ri257. Or, you can get the 1,320-pound Karavan Tandem Axle Bunk Trailer with an 8,600-pound maximum capacity.
Please remember the ski boat’s weight must not exceed the trailer’s maximum capacity.
|Trailer Capacity||Trailer Weight||Trailer Width|
|1,000 to 1,500 pounds||Around 300 pounds||62 inches|
|2,500 to 3,000 pounds||500 to over 600 pounds||96 inches|
|5,000 pounds||900 to 1000 pounds||100 inches|
|7,000 pounds||1,300 to 1,600 pounds||Over 100 inches|
Factors Affecting Weight
The weight of ski boat units we discussed does not reflect other factors that can contribute to their overall heft.
- Fuel – Marine fuel can add 240 to 450 pounds to the ski boat’s gross weight, depending on the fuel tank capacity. A gallon of marine fuel weighs 6.1 pounds (2.7 in kg). Hence, a 60-gallon tank weighs 366 pounds when full.
- Passenger – Boat manufacturers place “capacity plates” to inform boat owners of the maximum allowable passengers and gross load. Having three 200-pound persons in the ski boat jacks up the vessel’s heft by an extra 600 pounds.
- Gear – Ice coolers, life vests, and other standard boating gear can add 100 to 500 pounds to the ski boat’s heft.
- Engine size – Marine engines range in heft from 122 pounds to 575 pounds, although newer models are heavier by 35 to 65 pounds than old versions.
- Battery size – Marine lithium batteries weigh 31 pounds, while lead-acid types weigh 60 to 80 pounds per battery.
- Additional equipment and accessories – These include heaters, ballast tanks, and other accessories like stereo systems. They can bump the ski boat’s heft by at least 50 pounds.
Tips to Determine the Weight for Towing
You might want to consider several things before connecting the trailer to your tow vehicle. Here are some tips to help you determine your correct towing weight.
- Learn the difference between “dry weight” and “wet weight” because the figures we provided in this article do not include the fuel, engine, and other components.
- List all items (see our section on “Factors Affecting Weight”) and add their weights. You might also want to include other objects you plan on bringing to the water skiing adventure.
- Combine the ski boat’s “dry weight” rating and the weights of other components (i.e., engine, fuel, battery, etc.) to obtain its maximum weight.
- Check your tow vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. For example, the Chevrolet Tahoe can pull 8,600 pounds, while the GMC Yukon can haul 8,500 pounds.
- Check the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or its maximum weight capacity. For example, the 980-pound Karavan Tandem Axle can haul 4,800 pounds.
List of Vehicles for Towing a Ski Boat
A large ski boat can tip the scale at 6,700 pounds, while smaller versions come in at 2,000 pounds. You must also factor in the trailer weight, gear, and fuel.
Hence, towing a ski boat with your sedan is never a good idea. Your minimum vehicle should be a mid-sized truck or SUV, such as the following.
- 2022 Dodge Durango – even the base V6 model can haul 6,200 pounds, while the V8 version can pull 8,700 pounds
- 2023 Land Rover Defender – the V8 model can tow 7,716 pounds, while the V6 hauls 8,200 pounds
- 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee – the V8 can haul 7,200 pounds, while the V6 handles 6,200 pounds
- 2022 Ford Explorer – this baby can haul 5,000 to 5,600 pounds
- 2022 Nissan Pathfinder – the V6 can tow 3,500 pounds, while the Rock Creek Edition can pull 6,000 pounds
- 2023 Ford F-150 – this workhorse can pull 8,200 pounds (base models) up to 14,000 pounds
- 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – capable of towing 9,400 to 13,300 pounds
- 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 – this mid-sized truck can tow 9,500 to 13,200 pounds
- 2023 Ram 1500 – the refined truck can haul 12,560 to 12,750 pounds
Ski boats and wake boats: what is the difference?
Three things separate ski boats from wake boats: boat size, wake size, and engine.
Ski boats are several feet shorter than wakeboarding boats. Most ski boats do not go beyond 21 feet, with 19 being the ideal. Wake boats can extend to 26 feet or more, although the best size is 24 feet. Ski boats “ride higher” in the water, producing “gentler” wakes necessary for skiing.
Wake boats use a V-drive system to create large, “tsunami-like” wakes. On the other hand, ski boats utilize a direct drive inboard engine to produce softer and gentler wakes, perfect for water skiing.
How can you calculate the capacity of a ski boat?
- The surest way to determine a ski boat’s capacity is by looking for the “capacity plate” at the vessel’s transom.
- Alternatively, you can contact the boat manufacturer and ask them about your boat model’s capacity.
- You can also use an online ski boat weight calculator, especially one with a capacity function. Some boaters use this formula to calculate ski boat capacity: (length x width)/15.
For example, suppose you have a 7 x 21 foot ski boat. In that case, the ski boat’s capacity is ten (7 x 21 = 147’; 147/15 = 9.8).
Dry weight vs wet weight: what’s the difference?
- A boat’s dry weight is its heft as delivered, without fuel in the tank, water in the reservoir, battery, and other liquids in their respective compartments. It also does not have an engine, trailer, or equipment. You can consider it the boat’s “empty weight.”
- Filling the tank with fuel and the reservoir with water will increase the boat’s heft, producing its “wet weight.” It also includes the engine, accessories, and other components.
Boaters must appreciate that “wet weight” varies across boat models with different features, accessories, and elements.
“How much does a ski boat weigh?” does not have a straightforward answer. Although the average is between 2,800 and 6,700 pounds, these figures only reflect the ski boat’s “dry weight.” They do not include the engine, fuel, battery, gear, components, and passengers.
There is also the trailer’s weight to consider, whether your vehicle has sufficient power to haul the trailer and the ski boat from the house to the marina.
Nevertheless, we hope this article broadened your understanding of how heavy ski boats can be.
Read more: How heavy does a paddle boat?
Ten years of enjoying countless trips on boats never made me love them any less! So I am here to put all those experiences into good use for other boaters who want to have a safe and fun trip with their friends and families.