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How to Tow a Tube Behind a Boat? Here’s How to Do It Right

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

The manner of how to tow a tube behind a boat originates from someone’s idea of tying an old tire to a boat. It became popular in the past even without the safety features and standard equipment that tubers use at the present.

How to Tow a Tube Behind a Boat

Advancements are inevitable and just like what happened with tubes these days. Tubes are now deployed in fascinating water sports like water skiing and kneeboarding. Since it’s been associated with several sports, everyone is eager to know how to tow a tube to enjoy the activities.

There’s a lot to know about how to successfully tow a tube behind a boat, such as selecting the right pieces of equipment, knowing the regulations, and getting proper help from experienced riders. Hence, just read our guide to do this properly to create exciting water escapades while practicing safety measures!

The Boat for the Tube


Fortunately, any boat with an engine is capable of pulling a tube. Even pontoons can do it as long as they have an engine. However, a pontoon’s capacity is limited to a single tube that accommodates only one person.

You have to familiarize how your boat pulls a tube. An even throttle is important to prevent unintentional acceleration and jerking of tubes.

Before you pick the boat that you’ll use for towing the tube, know its weight and towing capacity. As an example, a big one is ideal for the use of a group of people.

Just take it slow when it’s your first time doing this activity. For safety purposes, it’s recommended to pull only by an experienced rider. Don’t ignore these precautions because they will save you from frequent spills and delays.

You may also consider joining a boating club to gain more fun and knowledge.

The Right Pieces of Equipment

After you’ve done the trial run of the chosen boat, it’s time to buy the right pieces of equipment for tubing. As expected, there are numerous manufacturers of towable tubes that produce various styles.

When buying a towable tube, remember these things:

  • The number of riders

As advised, it’s best to take a single rider for the first try. Later on, you can handle a bigger tube that can accommodate four people. You can also go bananas and have a party if you have a tube that is big enough for six people.

  • Age and experience of the riders

If it’s for a family activity, it’s best to get the regular style as there will be children’s participation. Otherwise, it’s fine to get a stylish one for a fun ride for experienced tubers.

  • Purpose of the ride:

Consider your purpose for getting a tube. Is it for comfort or leisure? Or is it intended for a fast ride with tricks?

Several riding positions are allowed on some tubes if you want to be more adventurous. Some individuals can be seen standing or riding on their stomachs.

Don’t forget about the rope. Since it plays an important role, a thorough inspection is necessary. Make sure there are no tangles, knots, frayed, or torn sections.

Have sharp eyes when you tie the rope to connect it to the tube and boat. Double-check the tightness to know if you’ve done it properly or not.

Some tow ropes have the bungee effect, which is enjoyable for some adventurous riders. However, this is not for everyone, especially for children and newbies, considering it will give them creeps instead of excitement.

Reading the Manual and Knowing About Water Regulations


The manufacturer’s instructions will make things easier for you as you can avoid making mistakes. Therefore, you should spend some time reading it in exchange for special instructions. By doing so, it ensures security for everyone on the tube.

Better research about water regulations in your area before you indulge in a fun-filled tubing experience. Do this before anything else. It’s one way to ensure that nothing will interrupt you when towing a tube.

There may be required fees and permits. Better comply rather than being surprised and notified that you fail to acknowledge the rules.

Things You Need to Learn

  • Let the Experienced Driver Take the Lead

You must know well the way to tow a tube behind a boat. If not, be responsible for having an experienced driver do it for you.

The driver is expected to know a lot of things about tubing. This is the reason why they are the most suitable to lead the activity. They are well aware of the tube’s position and can watch out for nearby or coming watercraft all at the same time.

Furthermore, an experienced driver can watch out for different circumstances. For instance, a tube might swing out in an indefinite range and suddenly glides past the boat. You can deal with it if you’ve gone tubing many times.

Other boaters may create waves and wakes which cause concerns when pulling a tube. If this happens, there’s a possibility that the tube will bounce too high. The consequence of this scenario is throwing the riders off.

If a driver has encountered those circumstances beforehand, he or she can prevent them from happening.

  • Using a Spotter

A spotter should be in the boat on every ride. This person has a role of assisting the driver who can’t constantly watch nearby tubers and the water situation ahead.

Spotters have a lot of responsibilities. They keep an eye on riders and inform the drivers if some issues arise. In addition, they are also on the lookout for any logs or debris that can block the way and cause injuries.

Erase the thoughts in your mind that a driver and a spotter shout at each other to communicate. Instead, hand signals are their way of exchanging messages.

They have their ways of saying when to slow down, stop, or go faster. It will be great that the riders know about the hand signals so they have ideas on what’s happening when the tube is on the move.

  • Knowing the Riders

Excitement is not the basis to determine the rider’s experience. That’s why the driver must have a short discussion with the tubers.

Before tubing, talk to your riders and try to know about their experiences. For example, some prefer a slow ride because they worry about the speed while still needing to feel a grip when tubing.

On the contrary, you’ll find some riders who are so energetic. They’re the experienced ones and know so much about tubing. Be cautious when children are around. Only allow them to join the trip if they have permission from their parents.

Experienced drivers have a good judgment over the riders. They are skilled in keeping the passengers safe and making them enjoy the ride.

  • Safety Precautions

This is the last thing on the list but it doesn’t mean that it’s less important. Once all the tube, equipment, driver, spotter, and riders are set, you need to remind yourself of the safety precautions.

Every tuber should wear a life jacket in the right size and even those experienced ones. Despite how many times you went tubing, some mishaps like being unexpectedly thrown into the water can happen.

Tubes are inflatables so they can pop, inflate, or rupture. So it’s best to put on some protective gear. Inexperienced tubers and children should have a helmet to protect their heads. Even if you’re an experienced one, you’d better wear it too.

The tube can go past choppy waters or hit obstacles so you can’t tell what happens next. Some wear goggles to see things underwater if ever the tube is submerged.

Also, be conscious of your clothing. You may think that wearing a bathing suit is enough but you have to add another layer of clothing. For instance, a shirt or a tank top and board shorts can protect you from rash resulting from the tubing. You also can care to the maximum power of the boat to adjust to a suitable speed.

Ready to Tow a Tube!

It can’t be denied that tubing gives you an exciting ride. To make it happen, you should know how to tow a tube behind a boat. When you know everything about it, you can set up a water activity without delay, restriction, and hazards. You won’t only make it enjoyable for you but the others as well.

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