Wakeboard Boats and Wakeboarding on Lake Mohawk NJ. How to Select an Appropriate Boat

Selecting a wakeboard boat for Lake Mohawk New Jersey is not an easy task. There are many factors to take into consideration, especially Lake Mohawk’s stringent boat size rules, that can scupper the best intentions that any wakeboard boat skipper may have.

Lake Mohawk NJ Wakeboard Boat Restrictions:

Assuming you have already passed the strict homeowner requirements, the boat restrictions on Lake Mohawk can be somewhat frustrating given that even though the rules are somewhat clear, there is still some degree of interpretation required. For boat owners, or prospective. purchasers, there are many conditions to take into account. To even have a boat on Lake Mohawk, the owner must be a fully paid up member of the country club and own property at the lake. Before the boat can be launched on to Lake Mohawk, boat owners will need to provide proof of boat insurance, a boat drivers licence and evidence of passing the NJ boating exam. The boat must then be checked for seaworthiness and boat length, which must not exceed 20 feet. Also, the boat cannot have a cabin. If all those tests are passed then the boat owner can then apply to the country club for a boat sticker. This red tape is meant to ensure that no miscreant boat can can end up on the lake, upsetting the delicate balance of Lake Mohawk harmony.

Having said that, in June 2015, a local man, Alex Majors, then 23 years old, crashed his fathers boat into a pontoon boat at 1 AM, injuring a number of people and then allegedly absconding from the scene. Majors was charged with five counts of endangering an injured victim by leaving the scene of a vessel accident with serious injuries, one count of assault by vessel in the fourth degree, and four counts of disorderly assault by vessel. Despite having a rule book eight inches thick, bad things still happen on Lake Mohawk.

What Is The Best Wakeboard Boat For Lake Mohawk?

General Considerations:

So, now it is time to buy a wakeboard boat. Gone are the days when you could just buy a boat for a single sport. Most boat buyers now want a boat that is versatile, that can produce a flat wake for water skiing, some small wake for trick skiing and a bigger wakes for wakeboarding. Some boat owners just want to tow inflatables at high speed, so the occupants can fly off at the turns. A boat that can do all these things are often referred to as a three-event or three-sport boat and any boat that does this, gets a much higher resale value when it comes time to part with it. Boats with outboard engines and I/O drives are quite dangerous for any of these waters ports. These boats  are just not suitable when anyone is in the water and should be avoided as a ski, wakeboard or towing boat. Even towing inflatables from these boats is tempting injury or death in so many ways. With a prop sticking out at the back of the boat, safety becomes a big issue and boat buyers who intend to put anyone in the water behind them should do well to avoid these types of boats. Also the wake produced by outboard and I/O drives is messy and inconsistent ruining any chance of good skiing or wakeboarding behind them.  Lake Mohawk does not care what kind of boat you use for towing, but they really should care, as every year hundreds of people across the US are injured by boat propellers. While Lake Mohawk does not care too much about safety, the do care about the wake of the boat. The rules stipulate that boats cannot use any wake altering devices like water bags and pumps. No word yet if fat people will also be disallowed on the lake, as a boat full of lard-asses will greatly improve the wake and the fun, of which Lake Mohawk may also have a rule about that too.

Lake Mohawk’s Stringent Wakeboard Boat Length Requirements:

Given Lake Mohawk’s strict boat length rule of 20 feet (not including any removable swim platform) the choice of ski and wakeboard boats is very limited. The boat length calculation does not include the swim platform and also excludes any bumper rail attached to the hull. The method they use to calculate the boat length is where they will drop a plumb line at the bow and the stern of the boat hull and mark the dimension in chalk on the floor below the boat. It is those measurements that are then taken, the distance between the marks is taken as the length of the longest part of the hull. A wakeboard tower on Lake Mohawk must be collapsible, as the gas pump at the Marina has a low bridge on exit, making it impossible to pass through without taking it down. Many ski boat owners with towers will try to reverse their boat out of the Marina after getting gas, but it is very difficult to do with a good ski boat, especially bad with Mastercraft boats. Lake Mohawk also has stipulations that the boats are not modified in any way to alter the wake.

Appropriate Pre-2007 Boat Models

The following three brands of Legacy and older AWSA ski boats are already approved for use on Lake Mohawk. We have limited this first list to pre-2006 models, as they will generally cost less than $30k

mastercraft 190 with closed bow
Mastercraft 190 with closed bow

Mastercraft 190 and 197

The MasterCraft Proline series comes in many lengths, but only two lengths of 190 and 197 (which are 19″ and 19″7′ respectively) are acceptable for Lake Mohawk. Both these smaller versions of the Proline have very flat wakes which makes them great for water skiers, but disappointing for wakeboarders. The addition of some bags may help, but that would be against the Lake Mohawk rules. In 2000 MasterCraft introduced the MasterCraft Training Systems (MTS), which is a ballast tank under the observer’s seat in the storage area and holds up to 185 pounds which can be controlled from the dash (to simulate the weight balance of tournament conditions); reworked air intake vents (which deliver 25% more air to the engine box and boost fuel efficiency by as much as 10%); introduced a honeycomb core to the rear seat (to reduce weight); and a teak swim-platform transom-saver (to guard the boat transom from accidental scratches by skis and wakeboards). It is unclear if Lake Mohawk requires these features to be disabled. In 2000 the transom decal also became “World Record Towboats” for the first time, The words “Towboats” replaced the words “Ski Boats” as MasterCraft realized that wakeboard market was the growth market.

Mastercraft makes many other longer boats that cannot be used on Lake Mohawk and they include the Mastercraft 206 and 216

ski nautique 200 closed bow
Ski Nautique 200 with closed bow

Correct Craft Ski Nautique 196 and 200

Measured at 19 1″ 1/2 and 19 9″ 7/9 respectively,  the Ski Nautique squeezes into the Lake Mohawk restrictions with little room to spare. Unfortunately Correct Craft has been producing many models that do not confirm to the Lake Mohawk specifications, making it hard for boat purchasers to decide what features they can live without, which is never a good thing. Older versions of the Ski Nautique (prior to 2002) did come with an open bow, but with many of these boats were getting swamped when they go over their own wake (due to the very low bow height). Correct Craft ditched the open bow design for this size in 2003 and only offered the open bow in larger configuration boats (that do not meet Lake Mohawk strict length specializations). With the closed bow design, the boat can now only hold six people and when a skier is using the center ski pole, then only three people can safely be on board. This limitation is impractical for boat owners with family and friends. In wakeboarding mode, using the rope on the tower, the complement goes back up to six people, but is still far less than a comparable boat with an open bow like the Malibu, that is rated for eight people (two of them being up front). The Ski Nautique is well known as being a great ski boat, but its hull design has been optimized to make the wake as flat as possible for water skiers, so the wake is often too flat for wakeboarders.

In 2005, Correct Craft introduced a mechanism called a Hydrogate that allows the driver to adjust the size of the wake on-the-fly and makes a slightly bigger wake for wakeboarders on this boat. This technology was introduced in 2005 and is now standard on all Ski Nautique’s of this size. For the Nautique customer, it’s often Sophie’s Choice because a newer boat will have a closed bow with less seating, but will be fitted with hydrogate for an improved wake and the older boat has an open bow, but no hydrogate – and its old, so reliability can be a problem. Controlling the boat with the hydrogate up in wakeboard mode makes the boat very difficult to control. Later versions of this boat came with a V drive, that improved wake and control issues, but also cost a small fortune.

Malibu Response-LX 19″9′ with open bow

Malibu Response LX 19″ 9′ and Sportster 20″

With an open bow format and tons of power, the Malibu brings a more flexible solution to the lake boat owner, as now eight people can be on this boat. Even in center ski pole mode, this boat can legally seat five people, but six is also reasonable. This boat usually has the climb-over dash format, but there are some rare unicorn versions of this boat that will have a walk-through into the front open bow. What is unclear is that Malibu has a built-in option of a wake wedge that marginally increases the size of the wake, but this option has not yet been outlawed on Lake Mohawk, despite innuendo that they may do it soon,  as it the wedge is an integral component of the boat, much like the hydrogate on the Ski Nautique and even the trim setting on a common I/O boat like a Cobalt. On the downside the Malibu suffers from reliability issues as the boat gets older and the brand subsequently does not retain their market value the same as the other market leader ski boats do. The Malibu Sportster is a fine wakeboard boat, but it has very little free-board. This means that if the water turns rough and the boat is loaded with people, the boat will most likely get swamped by any errant wave that will come over the bow with little effort (powering through the waves will keep the bow up and will avoid getting swamped). Although this boat will not actually sink, it can be a mess to clean it up and the water may short out the battery rendering the boat unstartable and in need of a tow, the ultimate road of shame to get back to the dock.

Other Malibu wakeboard boats that cannot be used on Lake Mohawk due to length restrictions include the Malibu Response LX 20″ 6′  and the Sunsetter 20″8″

The wakeboard boat models descriptions were provided by Off Shore Marine, located in Branchville NJ

Appropriate 2008 – 2017 Models

If you have more than $30k burning a hole in your pocket, then a whole new batch of ski and wakeboard boats awaits you that are just perfect for Lake Mohawk. The following brands of AWSA approved ski boats are already OK for use on Lake Mohawk, even though the boat police will still put every boat through the stringent measuring process, just in case some wiseguy puts a fake make/model number on USS Titanic and tries to launch it onto Lake Mohawk causing a Tsunami the likes of which have never been seen before.

Boat 1

Boat 2

Boat 3

The boat models descriptions were provided by Off Shore Marine, located in Branchville NJ

Other Unapproved Boat Brands

Other brands of ski and wakeboard boats that could fit into this category, but are not approved for Lake Mohawk are Moomba, Tige and Supra.

Boats To Avoid

Salt water boats with 500 hours or more are often deemed to be wrecked because of the damage that  salt does to every single component on the boat and should be avoided at all costs.

Boat Rentals On Lake Mohawk

Boat rentals of any kind are not allowed on Lake Mohawk as written in the bylaws of this private community. You have to be crazy to think that this community would ever allow that.

Mike Fowler

Mike is a business writer for hire. He is available to do business writing projects with little notice! Rates are as low as 10c per word. If you like what you see, please contact Mike for an estimate. He specializes in tech and business writing and has a MBA in Business from Kellogg.