How to Tow a Tuber on Your Boat
Towing a tube is easy, and as long as boat drivers use common sense, they can create an exhilarating ride for tubers.
Start off by towing the tube inside of the boat wake. Once the riders are comfortable, and you get a feel for the correct speed to keep the tube from submerging, you can try some gentle S turns back and forth. The tube will then start moving over the boat wake, swinging from side to side.
Submarining is when the front of the tube dips into the water, sometimes diving all the way under the water. If this happens, make sure the riders position themselves a little farther back on the tube so their weight is on the back, accelerate, and once the tube pops up on the water or planes, you can turn up the speed. Also, check that your tube is properly inflated, you have the proper tow rope for your tube and that the tow rope is attached to your boat and the tube properly.
Making riders go over wakes at high speeds may cause them to become airborne. While this may seem like a lot of fun, it also has the potential to cause serious back injuries. Please use caution.
Know your riders and develop hand signals for speeding up, slowing down and zagging over the wake. This will help the riders communicate to you, ensuring that they enjoy their ride.
New riders and younger kids might not like a super-fast, aggressive ride while the older kids and adults will want to zip around at maximum speeds. Hand signals will help drivers make adjustments for specific rider’s wants and needs.
Fast turns swing the tube around at an even higher speed for a whip effect. WSIA says inflatables can reach speeds up to 55mph while towing at 20mph during a whip, and tubes can swing outside the boat wake to the full length of the tow rope.
This can be frightening for younger children and dangerous in areas of high traffic or near shores and obstacles. Pay attention to the tow rope slack as well.
If the rope goes slack and then you accelerate too quickly, the tow rope suddenly rips the tube forward causing the rider to fall off or if multiple riders aboard, causing them to bump heads.
Drivers should have a rear view mirror and a spotter at all times while towing riders on tubes. They should be aware of the tubes trajectory while the spotters should be alert to riders going overboard. The spotter should have a safety “tuber down” flag on hand for when the rider falls into the water. By signaling the flag in the air, other boaters will be alerted to the fact that a person is in the water.
When someone falls off of a tube, drivers should throttle down right away. Approach riders on the driver’s side of the boat so they are in view and never blocked by the bow/hull. Drivers should go slow enough as not to make waves and so they can talk to/hear the rider. Always shut the motor off before riders swim up to the boat and when riders are getting into the water or on the towable.