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How To Safely Tow A Tube Behind A Boat

On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing like getting out on the water with your friends, and tubing is one of the most exhilarating activities you can try.

If you’re interested in tubing, you might be curious to find out how to safely tow a tube behind your boat. In this article, I will cover some key information about safely towing a tube from a boat. So, next time you’re planning a day out on the water, you’re prepared.

Let’s get into it.

What Is Tubing?

Tubing, commonly known as inner-tubing, is a sport or recreation that involves floating down a stream or river on an inner tube.

Although tubing is primarily done on water, you can also tube down slopes and can make the most out of the activity in the snow, too.

What Clothes Should You Wear Tubing?

Typically speaking, the most important item of clothing to wear when you’re on a tubing excursion is a life jacket.

However, as you will be riding face down, many people also like to wear rash vests, as this will limit friction between your skin and your life jacket and will thus protect your skin from becoming irritated the longer you’re out in the water.  

While bathing suit bottoms or board shorts are fine for tubing, simply wear what you feel the most comfortable in for a day out on the water.

You should also bring layers to keep on the boat if you’re prone to getting cold easily!  

Where Can I Buy Water Tubes?

A variety of sports shops stock tubes, or your local Target or Walmart is bound to have them during the summer months.

However, if you know you’re going to be tubing a lot throughout the summer season, you will want to make sure that you invest in a high quality tube to get the most out of your purchase.

You will also need to make sure that whatever tube you purchase, that you can easily and securely attach it to your boat for your tubing excursion. To get a better feel for what you need for a tubing excursion, I’ve covered the main tubing essentials below.

Tubing Essentials

Before you get started, you will need to make sure that you have the appropriate equipment for tubing. The tubing essentials include:

Life Jackets 

When you’re out on the water, the importance of a good quality life jacket cannot be overlooked.

You need to respect the water, and ensuring that everyone onboard is wearing a life jacket is  a must when you’re headed out tubing, regardless of your age or your swimming ability.

If you’re used to taking your boat out on a regular basis, it’s likely that you already have reliable, United States Coast Guard Approved life jackets onboard.

A Towable Tube

You can’t go tubing without an inner tube! You will need to make sure that you invest in a towable tube that you can attach to your boat safely and securely.

Not all tubes are made equal and for the same purpose. Make sure that you invest in a tube that is designed for tubing, and not one that is simply designed to float. 

You will want to aim to get a tube that is made out of puncture-resistant material to ensure it can withstand tubing and all of the rides you’re going to be taking it on.

A Tow Rope

When it comes to tubing behind a boat, you’ll be thrown around a tonne, and need to ensure that your tow rope can withstand this type of tension without any problems.

It’s essential that you invest in a tow rope that is designed for that very purpose, as it’s not safe to use any old rope that you find in your garden shed.

Improvising with a tow rope can increase the danger of towing, and could jeopardize the safety of the person that you’re pulling in the water.

An Orange Flag 

Last, but by no means least, you will need to make sure that you have an orange flag onboard. Safety should be your number one priority when you’re doing any water sport, and tubing is no exception.

You never know when you can get into trouble on the water, and having an orange flag on board can be incredibly useful in case of an emergency. If you get into trouble, you can wave the flag for assistance.

How To Tow A Tube Behind A Boat

Step One 

Before you get started, make sure that your rider is completely ready and is securely fastened into their life jacket.

You will also need to make sure that you have established the hand signals that you are going to use to communicate before they get into the water.

Step Two

Once the driver has clarified these hand signals with the rider, it’s time to choose a spotter. A spotter is essential when it comes to tubing, as you need someone to be watching how the rider is getting on at all times whilst you are driving the boat.

In the majority of states, it is a legal requirement to have a spotter on the boat.

Step Three

Next, you will need to attach the tow rope to the tube. Securely fasten and tie the rope to the tube.

Step Four 

Following this, you will need to tie the rope to the back (also known as the stern) of the boat.

Step Five

Communication is key once the rider is in the water. Before you set off, make sure that you have checked and waited for the rider to lie down on the tube on their stomach and for them to signify that they are ready to go.

The easiest way for them to communicate this is through hand signals, such as a thumbs up.

Step Six

Set off and enjoy yourself! 

Always remain safe. When the rider is new to tubing or has limited experience, the safest option is to start slow without any sudden turns that could easily throw them off. You need to allow them the time to get the hang of holding on.

Although you should always build the speed gradually when it comes to tubing, the more experienced the rider gets, the more of a fun and exhilarating experience you can make it.

However, it’s important that you always use the rider’s experience as a benchmark to start.

Tips For Towing A Tube Safely 

Don’t Set Off Until The Rider Informs You They’re Ready

Before your rider is in the water, make sure that their life jacket is securely fastened and that they’re ready to go.

Once they are in the water, make sure that they gesture to you that they’re ready before you set off.

If everyone is communicating properly, either verbally or with hand signals, this will significantly reduce the risk of accidental injuries from occurring.

Never Accelerate The Boat Suddenly

Tubing is a super fun activity, and accelerating is what makes it such an exhilarating ride for the person being towed.

However, you will need to make sure that you accelerate gradually, not suddenly. Accelerating suddenly can catch the person being towed off guard, and can result in them being thrown off the tube if they’re not expecting it.

This can increase the chances of injury, so it’s essential that you build up speed at a gradual pace and don’t go from 0 to 100.

Don’t Pull More Than One Tube At A Time

The golden rule to safe tubing is to stick to one tube at a time. While it might seem like an efficient idea to pull more than one tube at a time, you can run into trouble fairly quickly if you do.

Towing more than one tube at a time is going to increase the risk of collisions and injuries that would otherwise be easily avoidable if you’d just stuck to one tube. 

Avoid Crowded Waters 

This might sound like an obvious one, but you should never tube in a crowded area where there are swimmers, fishers, and other boaters.

Tubing in crowded waters is highly dangerous, especially when you’re travelling at high speeds.

Therefore, avoiding crowded waters will ensure that you have the safest experience tubing possible.

Ride Stomach Down

During your tubing excursion, the riders should always ride on the tube with their stomach down. 

This will not only ensure that the rider is comfortable, but also safe. If the rider is in a sitting or back position, there is a much higher chance that they will smash their heads into their knees when the tube hits any kind of bump.

In Summary

So, there you have how to tube behind a boat! After reading this article, hopefully you know how to safely tow a tube from a boat, and you have a few handy tips to take with you on every tubing excursion.

Have fun and more importantly, be safe in the water!

Lucas Jones