Towing tubes from your boat can be regarded as a benchmark for extreme fun.
The crashing water, the sound of inflated plastic dragging after you, and the ecstatic screams of humans having the fun of their lives are some highlights of this experience that you will always remember. If you haven’t tried out this towsport, you definitely should.
As fun and exciting as pulling towable tubes sound, however, it can go wrong really fast. As such, you will require a bit of planning and safety precautions to have a successful day out.
Here are some tips and guidelines we’ve listed out to help you tow successfully. If you follow these tips, you should have an enjoyable day.
1. Everything Starts With The Tubes
The towable tubes should be in perfect condition to limit the risk of injuries. Get to know the types of tubes available to be able to make a choice that suits you.
If you think you would run into a space issue, consider purchasing a single-person tube or a two-person tube.
If you would be towing two people, a two-person tube is the best option because it is usually smaller than two single-person tubes and bigger than one single-person tube; othere are big two-person tubes also. As well, there are other tube variations like the 3-person and 4-person tubes.
If you would be towing kids, a single-person tube is not advised. Keeping children together helps them feel safe; go for a multi-person tube.
2. Know The Ropes
The Water Sports Industry Association suggests that a tow rope between the range of 50-65 feet is appropriate for tube towing. Your choice of ropes can impact the riding experience.
If a shorter rope is used, the tube will get pulled in the crest of the boat’s backwash, spraying your tube passengers in the face. On the other hand, using too long a rope will make it harder to keep the tube under control.
Tow ropes are also tube-specific. This means that, while it might work, you should not use a two-person tube’s tow rope for a three-person tube. The ropes are designed for different sizes, and using the wrong one can cause serious problems; the rope could break.
Inspect a tow rope before proceeding to use it. Never use a rope with knots in it if it has been sun-damaged (you’ll know by the discoloration of the rope), or frayed. Also, always use the appropriate tow rope. Do not use ropes meant for kneeboarding or wakesurfing; they don’t have the structural integrity to handle heavyweights.
3. The Spotter
Have a spotter on-board. A spotter is someone whose job is to watch the tube riders during rides. Having a spotter on-board is vital, especially if you are towing kids or beginners. Driving the boat will have you facing away from them.
A spotter can quickly communicate messages from the tube riders to you. If there is debris you and the riders can’t see, a spotter is in a better position to spot it and notify you.
Before taking off, you can teach the spotter and tubers to communicate via hand signs. They can have a hand sign that tells you to stop, speed up, or slow down.
4. Water Regulations
You don’t want to pick out a day, get your gears ready to go tubing with friends and family only to discover there is a fee to pay, and you have to end your plans for some other time.
It would help if you acquainted yourself with the regulations governing the use of whichever body of water you decide for tubing. This way, you can enjoy your day without the fear of negative surprises ruining all your plans.
5. Safety Measures
The US Coast Guard has reported tube towing to be the most accident-prone watersport so far. As fun as pulling a towable tube is, it is dangerous not to follow all the safety guidelines and precautions to keep you and other riders safe. Some essential safety tips are:
Tubers must wear a safety lifejacket before going on a ride. Ensure the lifejacket fits appropriately. A loosely-worn lifejacket is as suitable as not wearing any. The boat driver should wear a life jacket, but it depends on how large the body of water used for riding is.
You should not wear a worn or ripped lifejacket.
Please inflate the tube according to manufacturer regulations. Before inflating your tube, bear in mind that its level can change while riding due to the sun’s temperature.
Inspect the connection point of the tow rope and inflatable before each use.
While towing an inflatable, the driver should never exceed 20 MPH.
Do not tow inflatable riders alongside a kneeboarder, a water skier, a kneeboarder, or other tow participants at the same time.
6. Same Ride, Different Speed
The tube and the boat do not travel at the same speed. The speed of the vessel and tube will differ, especially during turns.
When turning, the tube can speed up to double what the boat is moving at; this is called whipping, and while it is fun and exciting, tubers are at their most vulnerable.
During these transitions, the tube’s speed goes up double of the boat’s speed. If a driver were going at a safe rate of 20 MPH, the tube would clock a speed of 40 MPH.
If a driver was moving at an unsafe pace of 50 MPH, the riders would go at 100 MPH! This can prove fatal if there are other boats or any object around.
Have your tube riders put on a helmet before going into the water. Other than the possibility of crashing into a dock, if you carry multiple riders on multi-person tubes, they are at risk of crashing into each other.
A helmet protects riders from elbowing each other and hitting heads. It also saves them in case of a fall.
Be responsible out on the water when pulling inflatables from your boat. Keep a safe distance from the dock and other boats. If you follow these tips, you can rest assured that everyone will have a swell time.