Many boaters find choosing new aftermarket wakeboard towers to be confusing. There is a lot of conflicting information about what’s ideal for your boat, plus a lack of models on the market. To aid in your search I wrote this article.
In this article you will learn everything you need to know for selecting a new wake tower in 2021. If you want to skip to a specific section, there’s a navigable table of contents. First let’s start by answering a couple questions. Followed by 5 simple steps to consider for buying your new wake or ski tower.
Related: The Best Aftermarket Wake Towers In 2021
What Is a Wakeboard Tower?
A wakeboard tower is a frame mounted to the hull of an inboard boat to elevate a tow point. Wave surfers and wakeboarders get towed via the tower. An elevated tow point is crucial for completing aerial maneuvers while wakeboarding. Most people know about wake-specific boats, but these are very expensive. For customers who can’t afford this special style of boat, there is an alternative, an aftermarket wakeboard tower.
Factory OEM Versus Aftermarket Towers?
As I mentioned, most boaters don’t have the high budget to pay for a wake-specific boat. In contrast, a standard new or used inboard boat for leisure use is much more budget-friendly. Unfortunately, these boats won’t have a factory made OEM wake tower. So savvy buyers choose an aftermarket wakeboard tower and any other accessories they prefer. Universal towers are bolt-on wake and as a result are much more affordable, plus they come in a variety of styles.
One thing to remember, you get what you pay for, it’s ideal to “pay now, save later.” By spending the extra money for a quality product, you’ll get the best solution in the long run. Now it’s time to learn how to select a new tower for your boat.
5 Steps For Selecting Aftermarket Wakeboard Towers
First, understand what you want to get out of the equipment. Whether you’re a pro or a weekend warrior, wake towers are more than a secure point to attach a tow-line. Many have the ability to add music, lighting and more components. To find the best for you, follow these steps:
Step 1: Measure Beam Width & Length
To determine the right size of tower to shop for you need to measure the length and beam width of your boat. Measuring your beam width is easy, recruit a second person to help, next grab your tape measure.
At the widest point of the boat, take the beam width measurement. Keep the measuring tape taut and flat, try to avoid any obstructions. Next, record the measurement from the outer edge of the hull to the outer edge of the other side.
Take this measurement and research aftermarket models. Many brands advertise their towers as adjustable. Keep in mind though, it’s best to ensure your beam width falls within advertised min to max widths. Otherwise, you could end up ordering a tower that doesn’t fit.
For boat length, you can measure with a friend or check out NADAGuides based on a boat’s year, make and model.
Consider Your Boat’s Style:
Also, important to the selection process, is choosing a model that will suit your boat. For example, pontoon boats need a special designed tower for this style of vessel. Most manufacturers will have a way to check which models will fit your boat.
STEP 2: Determine If You Want Shade
Next, figure out if shade is important for your guests and yourself. Protection from the sun separates a fun day on the water and a nasty sunburn. To add shade to your boat, pick a boat tower that has an option to add a shade component, like a Bimini cover. Ideal types of Bimini’s use high-quality, marine-rated fabric, like Sunbrella covers.
There are two distinct styles of wake towers, either forward arch or backward arching. If you have a fabric cover already, be sure to consider which style will allow you to attach this cover. Pay special attention to the board rack placement, as it can impede some fabric tower covers.
Step 3: Decide If You Want To Add Audio Speakers
Moving on, let’s discuss audio components. Aftermarket boat towers add more than the ability to tow, they also let you add the sound of audio. Unlike car audio speakers, wakeboard tower speakers are directional, large, and waterproof. Plus, the overhead mounting of this audio type maximizes deck space while enjoying your tunes. Look for models that add speakers via clean installations in the hollow frame tubing.
Keep in mind, marine audio speakers vary in quality, audio output, appearance and some include LED’s. Buy speakers that are marine-rated for durability and from a reputable speaker brand.
Step 4: Consider Models With Wakeboard & Accessory Racks
Beyond audio speaker considerations, the next big decision is for board racks. Extra space on your boat is often limited, especially when you’re taking a group out for the day. To ensure max space select boat wakeboard towers with rack attachments.
Bear in mind, many aftermarket racks only work with a specific type or style of wake tower. So, a tower package might be a savvy choice to make sure you get matching equipment. Another factor, is matching the rack and tower finish. This isn’t only about cosmetics, but corrosion protection where the two components attach.
Next, select if you want racks with “fixed” or “rotating” capabilities. Rotating racks “swing” your boards into the boat for fast access when it’s time to ride. It’s ideal to get a rack with rubber grips on the hooks to lower rattling noise on the water. The top buying consideration for accessory racks is to pick one that fits your gear.
Step 5: Pick A Frame That Features Safety Accessories
Safety is paramount when out on the water for you, your passengers and fellow boats. Boat wakeboard towers are great for adding extra safety components to a vessel.
One such component is a drivers mirror, this is a must if you’re going to be towing users behind the boat. Reputable manufacturers use tubing for frames that you can add this type of mirror.
Second, is extra illumination from LED light bars and speakers with light combos. Being visible is crucial if you’re out on the water for a night cruise.
Another reason to add components like extra lights is that some states requires them by law. So ensure the tower you choose comes with a tow point light or offers an easy upgrade.
Finishing Up : Selecting Aftermarket Wakeboard Towers
By following the steps above you now have everything you need to know for selecting aftermarket wake towers. Remember to first measure your boat, next choose a style, material and finish. Then you can pick components like racks, lights, audio speakers and safety.
Thanks for letting us help with your research. We do it, so you can spend less time indoors and more towing on the water.