Waterskiing behind a boat on a pristine Northern Michigan lake is true Up North outdoor experience—yet it takes time and a good teacher to become a confident, carving skier. Whether you’re an adult looking to strap up one more time or a parent looking for an expert instructor to help get your Northern Michigan kid on the slalom course, there are a variety of instructional options for the aspiring skier or wakeboarder who either lives here or is visiting from elsewhere.
For those already getting up on one ski and looking to rent a boat in Northern Michigan, scroll down for a comprehensive list of boat rental companies in Northern Michigan.
Northern Michigan Watersports Lessons
The physics of waterskiing and wakeboarding are a bit deceptive: after you’ve gotten above of the water—which takes disciplined muscle control and good timing by itself—steering your board or skis on the water is a little loosey-goosey, even for people who have experience snow skiing, snowboarding, or even skateboarding. Between the pull of the boat, the friction of the water underneath and a new rider’s lack of experience, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Fortunately, the worst case scenario is a soft splash and a little freshwater down the hatch. Still, getting up on a set of skis can be exhausting work—especially for a kid—and the best way to avoid a disappointing skiing experience is to go to the pros for a lesson:
- Action Water Sports in Traverse City: $50 half-day clinics on July 23rd and Aug. 7th. Perfect for beginning boarders or skiers. Call 231.943.3434 to register.
- White Birch Lodge in Elk Rapids: For about $100 an hour, you’ll get one of White Birch’s Mastercrafts a professional boat driver/instructor. Available Sunday–Monday in the mornings. Call 231.264.8271 for more information.
- Edge Watersports near Alpena: On Hubbard Lake south of Alpena, with both hourly lessons and 3–8 day stays. Call 989.747.8888 to learn more.
Where to Rent a Ski Boat
Rent a boat from one of the following Northern Michigan companies and set your own course on one of the dozens of Northern Michigan lakes.
Traverse City and Leelanau County
- Break’N Waves: Jetboats and parasailing services; located on East Grand Traverse Bay.
- Sunset Watersports: Boats and skis, delivered “anywhere there is water in Northern Michigan.”
- American Boat Rentals: Featuring beautiful Glastrons; servicing Northport to Torch Lake.
- Sail and Power Boat Rental: 25 years in the biz, with 40+ boats.
- Blue Sky Rentals: Also on East Grand Traverse Bay, with 5 hubs to rent from.
Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet Counties
- Torch River Marine: On the south end of Torch Lake.
- Northern Michigan Boat Rentals: Located in Charlevoix.
- Windjammer Marina: Near Harbor Springs and Petoskey.
- Dewitt Marina: In Bellaire; pontoons only.