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So you have a regular boat, maybe an outboard, or I/O, your wake is pretty good, and you loaded it up with 12billion pounds of everything to get that extra inch of height. You are only going so high, and want that extra height, well then Einstein, we thinks you need a pole. Yes a pole, long cylindrical thing the is hollow, trust us it will help!!!

Below you will find a write up and pictures of how I built the pole for my 20' Sea Ray bow rider. It is not the greatest thing in the world, (no poking fun) but this thing worked from 1996-2000. Got lots to talk about so let's get to it!!!

The Base
The base plate is a marine fitting base plate for a 3" aluminum pole. I attached the base to the floor of the boat with stainless steel screws 3/4 of an inch, so that they didn't go all the way through and puncture the gas tank. I then drilled a hole through the pole and base plate to put a pin thru so that it won't come out of the plate.
I my boat here, I was lucky enough to have a rear bench seat that had two equal size cushions. I was able to separate those cushions, install the pole, and place the cushions back in their place, with only a 3" gap between them. Occupants of the boat were still able to use every aspect of the seats, and neither the Pole or support poles got in the way.

The Pole
The pole is a 3" galvanized steel pole cut to 7 1/2 feet high, putting the rope around 8 feet off the water. I used 1" support poles that attached about 5 feet up from the bottom. This measurement is not exactly a measurement, I eyeballed the angle of the poles, versus where they were going to be mounted at the other end, and came up with this position for mounting the support poles on the Pole. Again I used stainless steel hardware for bimini tops, and SS screws. (ok ok I know this may have sounded sketchy about the eye balling thing, but all that I can say is that I am really good at Physics and spatial relations and I'm fairly mechanically inclined. (I did build this thing, and it works!)

Support Hardware
Using more of that Bimini top hardware, I attached a set of brackets to the top of the gunnel of the boat. Make sure to get the Stainless Steel hardware, anything else will break. Stainless Steel is super strong, so even though it might look like these things wouldn't hold a carpenter ant, guess again. I used 1" Galvanized steel poles, and got 1" Stainless Steel bimini top connectors for the poles. As you can see in the pictures, I drilled a 5/16 hole thru, to allow the passing of a bolt. (DO NOT USE THE SET SCREW THAT YOU WOULD NORMALLY USE IN THE BIMINI CONNECTOR)
It does not have the holding power, and I wouldn't trust it anyway. Go with the bolts, they are a sure thing.

Hidden Support
When I drilled thru the top of the gunnel, I was careful to be sure that this was the EXACT position that I wanted, remember, it is always easier to measure again. I cut a small piece of foam to place between the connector and the hull. I also drilled out a 2X3 inch, 1/4" thick aluminum plate that helps support the hardware from underneath. Though it may look like rust on the bolt, it is not. I used regular washers on these bolts, and the flaked a little, btw, this photo was taken in Jan 2001, 5 years after these were put in!

Strap System / Bow Sling
We used a 1"X 20 foot tie-down strap from the top of the Pole down to the bow. I used a Cinch lock 1" tie-down that got wrapped around the bow, down thru the tow eyelet and back up. Cinch locked it in the bow area, and hooked it to itself. I then hooked the ratchet to the cinch hook, pulled tight. I was sure to get at least 2 wraps on the ratchet, to ensure that it would not pull loose. Lastly I hung a towel over all of the hardware up here for protection. Some things to note, Adjustability, I can get things dialed in pretty well and can adjust on the fly if needed. Most of the time we tightened the ratchet down so hard that you could hang off it, and it also came in handy when the water got choppy and you needed to get your balance.

Special notes about this boat!
For connecting the rope, I used a 1.25" eye one with a 4 inch thread, drilled thru the top of the pole, and bolted it into place. I used another eye for the support strap that goes to the bow, this one is 1" lower than the one that the rope attaches to.

The Pole is dead center in the boat, and fits between the rear seat cushions as mentioned earlier. I wrapped a cloth around the pole for seat protection.

Difficult / Hard Parts

  • Drilling the Stainless Steel hardware
    I went thru like 8-9 bits. just keep them cool, and drilling at the highest speed possible (I recommend a DeWalt corded drill, and a small spray water bottle, filled with ice water)
  • Aligning everything on the pole and boat
    I had to stagger the support poles 1/2" to allow the passing of bolts on the pole.
  • Rust
    After the first season, I replaced the support poles, after that I sanded everything, then painted it all in 3 coats of rust-oleum silver color
    paint. This is key, and has to be done if you are anywhere near salt
    water, which I am, but don't miss the connections of marine hardware and
    the support poles interior, spray in there good, you will thank me.

Personal Notes about the pole!
I have had this setup for 5 years, and held at least 285lbs. ( we had a 250lbs dude on it, and it didn't even flex, we were shocked) Take your time though, and MEASURE EVERYTHING, then do it again, then one last time. Pass your ideas by your friends and family for feedback. This was the final version of about eight that I dreamed-up!

This type of setup does require maintenance, please remember that in a salt environment, it will be two-fold.

Before you get started!
Think about your boat, study the interior, and get a feel of what you are looking at and usable within the boat. I can totally remove the pole so that you don't even know it was there, except for the support pole hardware, but these connectors are not even in the passenger area anyway.

  1. I spent about five hours and $110.00 in total, four years ago, and I still put people in awe, they can't believe it works, and to tell you the truth, this pole setup site the rope higher than an Air Nautique tower! (me 96" Nautique 84")

Good luck!!

Note: A BIG Thanks to Wakescene (www.wakescene.com)
for this article, make sure you check out there site!

Disclaimer: WakeScene.com and www.wake.co.nz do not endorse the building of such devices. If such devices are built, they are done without the knowledge of WakeScene.com or www.wake.co.nz and are on a built and used on an "at your own risk" basis. WakeScene.com and www.wake.co.nz cannot not be held responsible for anyone who builds such devices, and causes injury, and or death to themselves or others due to malfunction of such device. WakeScene.com Inc, www.wake.co.nz.