Tubing – Great Fun for Boaters
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  • Post last modified:March 8, 2021

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Guide to Tubing

Tubing has grown to be on of the most popular water sports, and its popularity keeps growing. If you want to feel like you are actually doing something more than floating around aimlessly, there’s nothing better than towed tubing. This great family activity involves nothing more than attaching a tube to the back of your boat with your ski rope. Free-floating or towed, tubing is a relaxing and enjoyable activity for everyone to enjoy.

This article gives you an informative guide to tubing. It includes the essential things to know and the equipment you need to enjoy your tubing experience.

Equipment needed to tube

If you really want to enjoy the most that tubing has to offer, these pieces of equipment are the things you will need. While some are meant for increased performance, others are for your safety.


This goes without saying, I suppose. You would need the tube itself before you can call the activity “tubing.” The tube is the only equipment that is required for both types of tubing.

Tubes are made of rubber or PVC. These materials are flexible and thin, yet tough against punctures. They also inflate into different shapes, including donut, hot dog, or disc.

Here is an important warning: always make sure that your tube is well inflated, as an under-inflated tube could cause some safety issues for the tuber on the water.


If you’re looking to get involved in towed tubing, you can’t do without a strong rope. This rope attaches your tube to the boat. You should also consider the ideal rope length for your tubing. More on that in a bit.


Just like ropes, gloves are for towed tubers. You need something to help you get a firm grip on the rope. Also, gloves help to reduce fatigue from having to hold the rope for too long.

Life Jacket

Here is another towed tubing must-have. Your safety should always be the first thing you consider when you are tubing. And your life jacket is the first step.


If you plan to go towed-tubing, you might as well look like it. Unlike free-floating tubing, where you can wear next to nothing and still have a good time, wetsuits are indispensable for towed tubers.

Best boat for tubing

Often, a boat is towing more than one tuber. That is why you have to be sure that the boat you use is one that is powerful enough to pull the tubers.

Some boats are designed for the purpose of towing. They have all the necessary outfitting that make them perfect for towables.

Some of the most popular boat manufacturers in this category include Malibu, Nautique, Tige, and MasterCraft.

Some things to consider before tubing

As eager as you may be, you should resist the temptation to just head out to the water without considering these important factors.

Rope Length

Choosing a tow rope for tubing isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

Before you select a rope length, you first have to know how many people the rope can tow at once. For example, a two-person tow rope should never be used to tow more than two tubers.

The next thing to consider is where you are tubing. If you are tubing on a narrow river that has a lot of bends, a long rope is not recommended. This is to avoid situations where the tube is hitting the riverside at every turn. A 35 to 45-foot long rope should do just fine. In an open water-space, however, you can use a rope as long as 60 feet. This could, in fact, be more exciting, as the tube is being thrown around at every turn.

You should also look at how busy the water is. Are there many people in the water? You don’t want a boat to come in between your own boat and the tuber you are towing. So, on busy waters, use short ropes. At the same time, you don’t want to have a too-short rope that causes you to be in the wake of the boat, getting splashed with water and thrown every which way.


Your safety can never be overemphasized. Apart from wearing all the necessary protective gear, you should also make sure that you communicate with the boat driver. You want to be sure the boat is not going too fast, especially if the tubers are kids.

Be aware of the weather forecast. You don’t want to be out tubing in foul weather. You should also be cautious of the wakes. A tube that is being towed on a short rope by a fast boat increases the risks of injuries, as the tube keeps bouncing on the wakes.

In addition, always check the conditions of your tow rope and your tube before heading to the water. And it is a nice practice to have a spotter on the boat. The spotter can be on the lookout for potential dangers and alert the boat driver.


How fast should tubing boats go?

Ideally, a tubing boat should only go as fast as 12 MPH when towing kids. Anywhere from 8 to 12 MPH is safe enough. For adults, anything from 15 MPH to 20 MPH is sufficient.

How do you ride a tube behind a boat?

The very first thing to do is to fit yourself with all the necessary equipment. Also, make sure that there is a spotter on the boat at all times.


You can then attach the tube to the boat with the tow rope. Make sure that every connection is tight. There is no room for looseness. Finally, make sure that there are communication signals among those that are involved: the driver, the riders, and the spotter.

How to connect the tube to a boat?

Different tube brands have various tow ring designs. These tow rings are what the ropes are attached to. To ensure that you are installing everything correctly, check out the manuals to know how to connect the rope to the tube.


Tubing is always fun when there is no compromise to your safety. Stay safe, and have fun!

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.

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