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  1. #1

    How to Safely Tow Another PWC

    Is it safe for me to tow another ski utilizing the stern eyelets on my 2008 Yamaha FX HO in open ocean? Just wondering since I might utilize the towing cleat holes to mount rod holders. Alternatively, if I decide to get one of those cooler / rod holder combos, Iím thinking that it'll block the towing cleat. I checked my manual and it states that the stern eyelets are for transport or mooring. I was also wondering what type of rope or strap and what length would be appropriate for towing another ski. Lastly, I read some conflicting online posts that stated if someone was towing my Yamaha ski, it has something built in or is manufactured so that itíll not flood while towing over 5 mph. However, some indicate that you should install a cut of value if being towed over 5 mph. Not sure which is true. Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.


  2. #2
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    welcome to GH

    In regards to towing here are a few things to know and you'll find them here:

    http://www.cpjetski.com/towing.htm

    you want to use a real woven tow rope, not one for waterskiing.

    Anchor line or mountain climbing rope is a good choice, should be at least as long as the ski you are towing, I'd go a few feet longer.

    You want to use the factory installed cleats and bow rings to tow with

    I'm not aware of any factory supplied bit that will prevent engine flooding during towing. Keeping speed down is one way, but why take the chance.

    Block the pump line off.

    snapping a tow line can be a killer:





    this fellow was lucky, imagine if the hook hit a major artery
    Last edited by K447; 03-08-2017 at 04:05 PM.

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    I generally use rather long tow ropes in rough water, personal preference.

    I carry extra 50 foot braided dock lines of 3/8" or 7/16" or larger diameter.

    Sometimes a 75 foot long tow rope would be even better, especially if someone is staying on board the disabled machine while under tow. There can be a strong spray wash from the jet pump which can continuously blast the towed ski.

    Both ends of each tow have strong Wichard snap hooks.
    Excellent usability when working in difficult situations, nothing to catch and tear your skin open. Quick to attach and they will not pop off unless you take it off.



    I do NOT like having Carabiner style hooks on PWC for anything (not even for short dock lines), and especially carabiner without a locking collar to hold it closed. A basic/cheap carabiner becomes a big snagging hook when it is pressed against flesh or breaks free under stress.

    Most carabiner hooks are not load rated, certainly not for the hard tugs that can happen when a 1000 pound watercraft jerks the wrong way going over big waves.

    When towing, use the metal bow eye on the disabled watercraft and the center rear stern hook or tow loop on the front watercraft.

    Keep in mind that you want to be able to release the towed PWC quickly. You do not want to have the tow rope looped through or knotted such that it cannot be easily released should the need arise. If the towed watercraft sinks, rolls over or swamps in big waves or rough water you need to be able to release the tow rope immediately.
    Last edited by K447; 03-08-2017 at 11:54 PM.

  4. #4

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    Plasma rope. Pricey as hell but its sturdy as all get out.

    3/8 plasma has something like 18000 lbs tensile strength. Its nuts.

  5. #5
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Regarding towing speeds, for short distances I keep it at a walking pace and don't worry about clamping hoses on the disabled engine.

    If the tow needs to cover distance or the water is rough, I will clamp the engine/exhaust water feed hose. On my own watercraft I have a shut-off valve pre-installed in the correct hose. The valve is labeled and if possible should be accessible without removing the entire seat (varies by PWC model, of course). In rough water removing the seat could be difficult or risk flooding the hull with large waves.

    With the shut-off valve closed or the feed hose properly clamped, I can tow the disabled PWC on plane. This takes significant engine power, especially if the disabled watercraft has water inside the hull.

    Trim the jet nozzle down, build some tension in the tow rope, then add enough power to firmly bring both hulls onto plane. Not a drag race, but also don't spend a lot of time with the hulls plowing nose high through the water. You just want to be nicely on plane so the engine can cruise to the towing destination. Towing imposes a heavy load on the engine but when cruising there should be sufficient engine cooling and water flow to avoid damaging heat stress.

    If there are other watercraft in the group, put the former passengers from the disabled ski onto other machines so the towing ski is not also loaded with extra people weight. It is also easier to manage the tow rope and handle the weird ride characteristics while towing with just the driver aboard.

    If you have never towed before, consider practicing somewhere. Learn how to slow down without having the other ski overshoot. It is possible to bring a towed ski smoothly into place dockside even when there is only room for one watercraft at the dock. Or glide it right into place behind a waiting trailer at the launch ramp.

    One end-of-tow parking method is a J turn at idle speed. Get the timing right and you can put it where it needs to go even in fairly tight quarters.

    Be careful to not run over the tow rope. Ingesting a tow rope (or any other rope) into the jet pump will immediately disable your own watercraft and can cause significant damage.

  6. +1 by:


  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by nmpeter View Post
    welcome to GH

    In regards to towing here are a few things to know and you'll find them here:

    http://www.cpjetski.com/towing.htm

    you want to use a real woven tow rope, not one for waterskiing.

    Anchor line or mountain climbing rope is a good choice, should be at least as long as the ski you are towing, I'd go a few feet longer.

    You want to use the factory installed cleats and bow rings to tow with

    I'm not aware of any factory supplied bit that will prevent engine flooding during towing. Keeping speed down is one way, but why take the chance.

    Block the pump line off.

    snapping a tow line can be a killer:





    this fellow was lucky, imagine if the hook hit a major artery
    Thanks for the link & will definitely be sure to get a strong enough tow rope.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nmpeter View Post
    welcome to GH

    In regards to towing here are a few things to know and you'll find them here:

    http://www.cpjetski.com/towing.htm

    you want to use a real woven tow rope, not one for waterskiing.

    Anchor line or mountain climbing rope is a good choice, should be at least as long as the ski you are towing, I'd go a few feet longer.

    You want to use the factory installed cleats and bow rings to tow with

    I'm not aware of any factory supplied bit that will prevent engine flooding during towing. Keeping speed down is one way, but why take the chance.

    Block the pump line off.

    snapping a tow line can be a killer:





    this fellow was lucky, imagine if the hook hit a major artery
    Thanks for the link & will definitely be sure to get a strong enough tow line.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    When towing, use the metal bow eye on the disabled watercraft and the center rear stern hook or tow loop on the front watercraft.
    Thanks for all the great suggestions. Also, do you think it's safe to use the stern eyelets rather than the tow loop to tow another ski?
    Last edited by pwcfishinghawaii; 03-09-2017 at 03:01 AM.

  10. #9
    Thanks Pete for the link & will definitely be sure to get a strong enough tow line.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Redbone View Post
    Plasma rope. Pricey as hell but its sturdy as all get out.

    3/8 plasma has something like 18000 lbs tensile strength. Its nuts.
    Thanks for the reply & will look into the plasma rope.

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