Can I mount a tower on my boat?

can-i-mount-a-tower-on-my-boatA classic question we get asked at Big Air is “Can I mount a tower on my boat”.

Fair question!

Here are a few simple guidelines/questions  we suggest for making that decision.

1. Is my boat large enough?

Our recommendation is that your boat be a minimum of 16 ft long and have a beam of at least 6 ft.  The reason for this is to give your boat stability when pulling with a tower.

2. Is my fiberglass hull strong enough to have a tower installed on it?

We recommend a minimum of 3/8″ of thickness for fiberglass hulls for tower                          installation.  If your hull is thinner than this, then reinforcement can be done by                    laying additional fiberglass on the interior of the hull or installing aluminum or treated plywood reinforcement.

3.  My boat hull is radiused, how can I attach a tower mount that is flat to the curved surface.

Some towers come with radiused rubber inserts to help conform to the shape of your            hull.   If this is not the case, then you can often use a belt sander on the supplied                    rubber insert to shape it to fit your hull.  Extra inserts can often be supplied by                      dealers upon request.

4.  My boat is an aluminum boat… Can I still mount a tower?

The answer is yes you can mount to aluminum boat gunnels.  It is recommended                   that you place extra aluminum sheet or plywood on the interior of the mount location to help spread the load out across the aluminum hull.

5.  There is restricted access to the interior of my hull.

This is not an uncommon situation.  Many of today’s boats use interior panels to hide any of the hull.  Typically you can remove many of the panels on modern boats by lifting upward on the panel, which will un-hook it from the hull.  Sometimes there maybe screws buried deep into the interior cushion..check closely for these.  Occasionally there will be no open access once these panels are removed.  In these cases you can use a large diameter hole saw to cut a hole in the area that the panel covers.   (Note: make sure you aren’t cutting in a critical support area or through wires or cables).

Pylons to Towers

For all those curious how this industry developed here is a short description.  Ski pylons had been on tournament inboard boats for decades.  In the ’90s pylon extenders for tournament boats came on to the market to enable boarders and skiers to get more air for tricks.  However at that time only tournament boats had this option, standard run-about or inboard/outboard boats had no option.

Universal Slip-on Pylon

Slip-on Pylon for Inboard Ski Boat

 

 

Then a couple companies realized that it wasn’t only tournament boat owners who desired bigger air when boarding.  Thus in the mid ’90s came the introduction of universal pylons that allowed users to put extended pylons in their I/O boats.  Big Air Pylons was incorporated in 1996 and began production of pylons in a single car garage in Duncan, OK.

Universal Pylon

Universal Pylon

One of the issues of a pylon is that it is in the center walk way of your boat and it was not easy to store boards or hang speakers on.

In the late ’90s the industry began to make the shift to wakeboard towers which allowed users to hang biminis, board racks, speakers and other accessories.   Once again the tournament boats had towers that were pre-fabricated and had to be shipped by freight truck.  In 1999 Big Air developed its UPS ship friendly tower that would fit virtually any boat.  The tower was made using stainless steel tubing to offer extreme strength and corrosion protection for harsh environments.

Today the market has gravitated towards towers nearly completely.  We see new designs and accessories continue to be created to work with and on towers.Big Air Waketowers H20 Tower

Who knows what the future holds for towers…but it looks to be an exciting future.