How Do Snowmobiles Work On Water

How Do Snowmobiles Work On Water? Complete Guide

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Snowmobiles are motorized vehicles designed to operate on snow and ice. They are not meant to run on water but with a little bit of physics and mechanics, you can ride a snowmobile on a water body. There is also a sport for it called Watercross. Let’s learn how do snowmobiles work on water.

How Do Snowmobiles Work On Water?

Can A Snowmobile Work On Water?

There is a way to drive a snowmobile on water, believe it or not, called Water Cross. You might think how come a steel vehicle weighing more than 400 pounds can float in water? Do Snowmobiles float? If you’re fascinated by this topic and want to learn more, let’s start by deconstructing it.

The ability of a snowmobile to move across the surface of a body of water is referred to as skipping. The snowmobile is designed in such a way that it offers both grip and float.

The broad track is also a plus point since it allows a snowmobile to contact water. Snowmobiling on water does not require any additional equipment. You only need to be moving fast enough to avoid sinking.

However, before you drive your snowmobile into a lake or river, you need to understand more about how this is possible and the constraints of doing so.

You can’t drive a snowmobile on water indefinitely, and you can’t steer as easily as you do on snow. You must also travel quickly enough and keep your nose up so that you do not sink your snowmobile and have to fish it out.

What Is Snowmobiling On Water Called?

What Is Snowmobiling On Water
Credit: Explore Minnesota

Water crossing refers to snowmobiling on the water. This name is derived from a variety of comparable vehicle sports, including motocross, snowmobile cross, and even boardercross. It is not an official name, but it is what most people refer to it as.

Skipping, snowmobile skipping, water skimming, snowmobile watercross, and snowmobile skimming are all terms for riding a snowmobile on the water. There isn’t much of a distinction between these words, which all refer to riding a snowmobile on water.

Watercross is referred to differently depending on where you are in the world. There are several names for this version of the sport, just as there are for snowmobiles.

So How Do Snowmobiles Work On Water?

Credit: Youtube/Stunt Freaks Team

A snowmobile weighs between 400 and 500 pounds. It may come as a surprise that such a large automobile, or mechanical monster, performs so effectively even in water.

So, how does a massive metal-made automobile stay afloat on water? Inertia and surface tension are the solutions. Inertia is the idea that an object will continue its current motion until some force causes its speed or direction to change. While surface tension is a property of a liquid surface displayed by its acting as if it were a stretched elastic membrane.

Drifting is possible due to the moving inertia of the snowmobile, the steady movement of the track, and the lack of damage to the surface tension with the water.

Let us simplify it even further. Have you ever thrown a smooth, flat rock into a lake or pond? The rock will avoid the water if you throw it at an angle.

The throwing force and rate will undoubtedly aid the rock’s miss in the water. A snowmobile operates in a similar manner. You can avoid water if you maintain the proper speed on your snowmobile.

Does Water Degrade Snowmobile Parts?

Some components of your snowmobile are waterproof, while others are not. The majority of the equipment is meant to function in the snow, therefore much of it is waterproof. The polymers and body sections are impervious to water.

However, your sled’s engine is not watertight. It can become wet from snow or rain, but if it becomes completely submerged, you won’t be able to start it unless you perform some maintenance and dry it off.

If your engine gets wet or if it sinks while trying to watercross, you must drain all of the water before restarting it. Dry out the carburetors, spark plugs, and exhaust system. You’ll also have to refill all of the petrol.

So the truthful answer to this question is both yes and no. Many snowmobile parts are waterproof, but the most crucial ones, which keep the engine going, are not.

Is Using Snowmobile On Water Safe?

While professional watercross racing is generally considered safe, you should not ride your snowmobile on a lake if you are unfamiliar with the rules. You can damage your machine and get yourself into problems if you don’t have the necessary abilities and experience.

You should not ride a snowmobile on a lake if you don’t know how to swim. You don’t want to drown if your boat begins to sink or your engine quits. Even if you can swim, it is recommended to wear a life vest as a precaution.

You should also never attempt watercross alone. If you fall down, it’s usually a good idea to have a spotter to help you or your sled out of the water. You don’t want to end up in a horrible position, which is easier to prevent if others accompany you.

Riders have died while attempting to watercross, so always keep safety in mind when riding your snowmobile on a lake. It is not the most dangerous sport on the planet, but there are risks involved.

Tips To Run Snowmobile On Water

How To Run Snowmobile On Water?
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The basic formula for calculating how fast you need to go on a snowmobile to water skip is 5 miles per hour for every 150 pounds of weight.

It is not difficult to get your snowmobile moving on the water. This is due to the fact that how snowmobiles work in the snow is identical to how they work on water. The main difference is that you cannot stop or slow down when moving on water. This is due to the fact that slowing or halting will cause the snowmobile to sink.

When you slow down too much when moving on water, your snowmobile will sink. After stopping in the water, it may take up to five seconds for a snowmobile to begin sinking. This means that if you wish to use your snowmobile on water, you must keep it moving at all times.

By tilting the front of the sled upwards while traveling at high speed, snowmobiles may hydroplane across lakes and rivers. To stay afloat, simply go so fast that you practically glide on top of the water.

A speed of at least 15 miles per hour is sufficient to keep your snowmobile moving on water. You will not drown if you reach such speeds.

It is important to note that when “skipping” or moving on water, you cannot change the direction of your snowmobile. You can only move in one direction. Trying to change directions will cause your snowmobile to sink.

How Far Can You Drive Your Snowmobile In Water?

How Far Can You Drive Your Snowmobile In Water
Credit: UPI

Snowmobiles can travel vast distances on bodies of water. The longest distance traveled by a snowmobile on the water is 250.8 kilometers. This was accomplished by a Finnish man named Aki Pesonen.

Based on the longest documented distance traveled by a snowmobile, it is clear that snowmobiles may be used to go vast distances on water. However, your snowmobile cannot travel indefinitely on water. You can only travel in one direction.

Aside from the distance that snowmobiles can traverse on water, they can also travel at high speeds. As a result, they can quickly transport you across bodies of water.

How To Get Your Snowmobile Out Of Water?

So your snowmobile has become a sinking boat in the water. What are your options? How do you pull it out of the water, and what do you do after that? Let us investigate.

Turn Engine Off

  • You must close your snowmobile whenever you believe it is about to sink. If your snowmobile is soaked while its electricity is turned on, the potential for damage increases dramatically.
  • In the presence of water, both electrical and mechanical installations will surely be harmed. Shutting down the engine will almost probably keep the harm to a minimum.

Remove It From The Water

  • It’s going to be difficult to get a 400-pound snowmobile out of the water. It is not recommended to use a guidebook or link to another snowmobile to draw it down. 
  • So it’s preferable to use a pulley or crane to pull the snowmobile out. Pull it out of the water as soon as possible. The longer it is submerged, the more damage it will sustain.

Remove Water From Machine

  • Your first objective should be to get the water out of the system. There are a few draining ports on the snowmobile that will come in handy to remove the water from its system.
  • If your Snowmobile does not have a reliable system, you can remove the side panel or the hood to gain even more gain access. Remove the spark plug and drain the gas and other oils.
  • Turn the snowmobile on its side and draw the starting mechanism many times. It will, without a doubt, remove the water from the system. After that, add new gasoline and oil. To reduce dampness, try starting the engine and running it for an hour or two.

Additional Tips

  • Remove the seat because it will almost probably absorb water and drop into the system. When the seat has completely dried, you can install it.
  • If you frequently avoid water on your Snowmobile, you can install a water-resistant guard, or silicone to completely seal off any possible passage for water to enter.

This concludes our article on How Do Snowmobiles Work On Water? We hope you found this article informative and knowledgeful. Make sure to like and share this article and comment down your suggestions.

You may also like 15 Best Snowmobile Places In Michigan.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How does a snowmobile go on water?

It features a hull, floats, is propelled by two tracks rather than a water engine, and is outfitted with retractable skis or wheels. Snowmobile skimming is a type of snowmobile racing in which competitors hydroplane their sleds across lakes or rivers.

Will a snowmobile sink in water?

The sled will sink if the rider backs off the power or the sled bogs or floods out. A sinking sled can be resurrected by cleaning the carburetor, exhaust, and spark plugs, and changing the fuel.

How fast does a snowmobile need to go on water?

Dan Bartczak of Hagaman, N.Y., the watercross pro, said the sleds need to be running around 15 mph to stay on top of the water. Dan Bartczak of Hagaman, New York, is a snowmobile watercross pro.

How far can a snowmobile go on water?

The answer is 212 kilometers! Surprisingly, this is Morten’s snowmobile skipping record. Antti Holmberg of Finland held the previous record for the longest distance traveled on the water by a snowmobile, which was 180 kilometers.

Do snowmobiles sink in snow?

If the snow is loose, light, or deep powder, your hefty snowmobile can easily sink. In these snow conditions, keep your engine RPMs and power high enough to maintain progress, but don’t overload the machine to the point that the snowmobile’s track spins out, causing you to become stuck.

How can a snowmobile suit help if a rider falls into water?

A snowmobile suit will keep you floating if you fall into frigid water in addition to keeping you warm. It functions as a flotation device because it retains the air. Flotation material is sewn into the lining of some suits, while others have unique air pockets that you may inflate by blowing into a tube.

How do snowmobiles catch on fire?

Electrostatic discharge inside the fuel tank can ignite vapors and cause the tank to burst, providing a fire hazard.

Is it safe to snowmobile on a lake?

Snowmobiling over frozen lakes and rivers may be a gratifying and enjoyable experience that adds a whole new dimension to your rides. Snowmobiling on ice, on the other hand, increases the chance of an accident, and drowning is one of the major causes of snowmobile fatalities.

About the author
Rahul Gupta


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