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Can Snowmobiles Go on The Water? (Read This First!)

It may come as a shock to you but it’s a quite popular sport in some places. How come a metal vehicle weighing more than 400lb can go on the water? If you are curious about this matter and want to know more then let’s begin to demystify this.

Can snowmobiles go on the water?

Snowmobile skipping or water skipping refers to the ability of a snowmobile to move across a water surface.  The snowmobile is designed in such a peculiar way that it has both traction and flotation. The wide track also comes with a great advantage & helps a snowmobile to go through water. 

The capacity of a snowmobile to move across a water surface is referred to as skipping. The snowmobile is built in such a way that it provides traction as well as float. Skipping in water will need a lot of force because a snowmobile weighs nearly 400lb to 500lb or more.

The floating is made possible by the moving inertia of the snowmobile, the continuing movement of the track, and the lack of breaking the surface tension with the water. To operate a Snowmobile in water, you must be quick and precise with your decisions.

Morten Blien of Norway holds the record for the longest distance skipping over water by a snowmobile, at 212 kilometers.

How do snowmobiles work on water?

A snowmobile weighs almost 400lb to 500 lb. It may be a matter of great surprise that such a heavy vehicle or you can call it a mechanical beast performs so well even in water.  So how does a heavy metal-made vehicle stay floating on water?

The answer is inertia and surface tension. The moving inertia of the snowmobile and the constant movement of track and not breaking the surface tension with the water make the floating possible. 

These physics terms might be a little bit hard for some to understand, let me explain them in simple words. Have you ever thrown a smooth flat rock in a lake or pond? If you throw it at an angle, the rock will skip in the water.

The throwing force and speed will help the rock to skip in water. A snowmobile kind of works in the same way.  If you get the right speed on your Snowmobile you can skip in water.

How far can a snowmobile go on water?

You know that snowmobiles can move in water, you also know about the inertia and surface tension and the science behind snowmobile water skipping capabilities. Now the question may emerge: how far can you go on the water with your Snowmobile? 

The answer is 212 km! Surprisingly this is the snowmobile skipping record by Norwegian Morten blien. Before that, the record of longest distance travel on water by a snowmobile was 180km done by Finland’s Antti Holmberg.

So it kind of proves the point that Snowmobiles can be used to travel a long distance even in water. You can modify your Snowmobile for keeping the water out of the system other than that no extra modification is needed for skipping in water.

How fast does a snowmobile have to go to go on water?

Snowmobiles weigh almost 400lb to 500lb or more, So skipping in water will require lots of effort. You will need speed and precise decision to operate a snowmobile in water.

You will need to keep your Snowmobile at almost 30mph to 40mph skip on water, and you can increase the speed as much as you like after that.

There might be a huge drawback when you are in the top speed range, as the difficulty level of controlling the snowmobile increases as you increase its speed. Keep in mind that it will be hard for you to change direction when you are skipping on water.

A snowmobile will move on a straight path so staying in the minimum speed range to skipping is highly recommended.

How do you skip water on a snowmobile?

Make it waterproof:

Before going in water make sure you have sealed all the possible ways from where the water might get into the system. 

You can use silicone or specific water-resistant installation to achieve your goal. Even if you sink the snowmobile the waterproofing will keep the damage at a minimum.

Do the required modification:

Snowmobiles are made for moving in thick ice. When you are taking your Snowmobile in water it’s not gonna perform that effectively. A few minor adjustments and modifications will help you achieve better performance.

Strip off as much extra weight as possible from the snowmobile. You can also add a flotation mechanism to enhance the floating capacity of your Snowmobile.

Maintain the proper speed:

It will take lots of force to skip in water for a 500lb Snowmobile.  Keep your speed at or more than 30mph to skip in water.  Losing speed may result in sinking and losing the vehicle for good.

Also, keep in mind that if you are skipping too much speed then you are sure to lose control over the snowmobile.

You can’t make turns while skipping, the snowmobile will try to stay in a straight line so it’s gonna be quite hard for a beginner to get used to water skipping.

Don’t just abandon your Snowmobile on water:

when you are stuck in the water and your Snowmobile is sure to sink then don’t just abandon it. Turn the engine off and stay with your Snowmobile as long as you can.

Remember the exact location or the GPS coordinate to future rescue missions. After getting sunk the snowmobile might need a few minor repairs to get in optimal condition.

How do you get a snowmobile out of water?

So your Snowmobile is stuck in the water and it’s sinking down. What should you do? How to get it out of the water and what to do after that? Let’s find out 

Shut it down: 

Whenever you feel like your Snowmobile is sure to sink down, you should shut it off. If your Snowmobile gets drowned while its power is on then the chance of getting damage increases drastically.

The electrical and mechanical installation will surely get affected in the presence of water. Shutting the engine will keep the damage at a minimum.

Pull it out of water:

It’s gonna be pretty hard to pull a 400lb Snowmobile out of water. Manual or attaching another Snowmobile to drag it down is not recommended at all. So it’s best to pull the snowmobile out with a pulley or crane.

Pull it out of the water as soon as possible, the longer the snowmobile stays underwater the more it will get damaged.

Get the water out of the system:

Getting the water out of the system should be your first priority. You can find a few draining plugs on the snowmobile, it will come in handy to remove the water from its system.

If there isn’t any effective mechanism in your Snowmobile, you can remove the side panel or the hood so that you get more access. Remove the spark plug & drain the fuel and other oils.

Tip the snowmobile on one side and pull the starting mechanism a few times. It will surely get the water out of the system. Then inject new fuel and oil. Try to start the engine, keep it on for an hour or two to get rid of moisture. 


Remove the seat as it will be soaked in water and will be leaking water into the system. You can install the seat when it’s fully dried up.

If you are frequently skipping in water with your Snowmobile, You can install a water-resistant guard, silicone to completely seal off any possible pathway for water to get in.  

Can Ski Doo snowmobile go on water?

Ski-doo is a product of Canada. It’s a well-known name in the snowmobile industry. It may have started as a brand name for Snowmobile but it got so popular that it became the norm to call a snowmobile a ski-doo in Canada.

Ski-doo will work great in water skipping. You may need to do a few minor adjustments and make your ski-doo waterproof and as light as possible.

What is the snowmobile crossing sign? – Water Crossing sign

You would find snowmobile crossing signs on ice. It will tell you if the route is suitable or totally off-limits for riding a Snowmobile. When it comes to water crossing signs, you might find a warning!

Low water crossing or high water crossing is written on a yellow board. Skipping in low water may seem safe, but it comes with a high chance of hitting hard on the land and getting major damage to you and your vehicle.

Can you use a snowmobile on sand?

Snowmobiles can be used on the sand to move from place to place. You might need to install a few parts such as an air filter, radiator, idler wheels, and many more.

You would need the air filter and radiator to keep your engine cool and the idler wheel will give you efficient performance on the sand.

Hope you got a widespread idea on water skipping on snowmobiles.  Before getting into snowmobile water skipping you should improve your knowledge and skills. You should also be prepared for the worst-case scenario too. Best of luck with your water skipping adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Snowmobiles Float?

Do Snowmobiles Have Brakes?

Do Snowmobiles Have Power Steering?

Do Snowmobiles Have Reverse?

Does Snowmobile Oil Go Bad?

Does a Snowmobile Run on Gas?