There’s a reason that watersports towers now seem to dominate the recreational boating horizon. Tow sports are the hot ticket, a way to greatly expand the enjoyment of your boat and get countless family and friends in on the action. And towers make enjoying those sports all the more fun, not just for the participant but also for the other passengers enjoying the boat.
Why? For sports that emphasize big air, a tower anchors the towrope high off the cockpit floor, encouraging lift and height off the wake rather than immediately yanking the rider back down to water level. Adding a tower to your boat also provides a solid tow point, gets the towrope away from passengers in the cockpit, and thanks to its added real estate, provides a means to unclutter the cockpit by moving wake and surf boards off the floor and onto tower-mounted racks.
Should your boat not have come with a factory-mounted tower, don’t fret; you haven’t missed out. Thanks to the aftermarket, virtually any boat can now have a watersports tower. Not all towers, however, are created equal, so it’s imperative to do your homework before simply buying and bolting.
For starters, consider just how you will attach the tower to your boat. Look for universal mounting options with adjustable feet that will accommodate top or side mounting locations, and the curved, angled, or flat mounting profiles necessary to match your boat’s deck. Verify that your tower of choice can be adjusted for width to properly match your boat’s beam. Look for styles and profiles that will flow, blend and complement your boat’s lines, rather than look like a bolted-on afterthought.
And make certain that tower will fold – easily — when required. Whether it’s for storage, trailering, or just to squeeze under that local bridge, the ability to drop your tower is a must so don’t be caught unaware or with a design that requires extensive tools and time. Today’s best designs, like Roswell’s Aviator or Cam RT, feature simple handles to release a portion of the tower and beefy hinges to allow it to easily fold while maintaining its structural integrity. And remember, just because the tower can fold doesn’t always mean it’s an easy job. Towers can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds; the best manufacturers include some means of lightening that load, such as springs, so that a tower can be lowered and raised by a single person. Roswell, in fact, holds a patent on a “weight-assist” tower design. “It makes folding the tower, making adjustments, or doing service work virtually effortless,” notes the company’s Ben Smith.
Lastly, take advantage of the added real estate a tower provides not only to add board racks, but also numerous accessories that will make your time on the water more fun and enjoyable. A Bimini or shade makes an excellent addition, as do speakers, rearview mirrors, or even lights. Better tower designs will even include pull strings within the tower’s tubing to easily fish electrical wiring. Some models may also come fully wired for lights and speakers.