People love spending time on the water in part because there are so many activities available. If you have a boat, you can simply relax on the waves, go sun tanning, fish for your dinner, enjoy cocktails with friends, or participate in something much more active and exciting – like boat tubing.
Boat tubing has been a favorite activity of boating industrialists for decades. But what exactly is it, and how do you practice it safely?
Boat Tubing: The Basics
In short, boat tubing is the act of towing an inflatable “tube” behind your boat, using a rope that connects the tube to the vessel. One or more people ride on the tube, getting pulled all around the water as the boat adeptly navigates. It’s an exhilarating experience – but a relatively safe one, and one that almost any type of boat can manage.
Necessary Equipment for Boat Tubing
What types of equipment do you need for boat tubing?
· A towable tube/inflatable. Towable tubes come in many shapes, sizes, and functional designs. Some of them are equipped for only one person, while others are designed to hold multiple people simultaneously. Some are smaller and more compact, while others are larger and sturdier. Whatever type of experience you’re hoping to get from your boat tubing activity, there’s probably a tube perfectly suited to those needs.
· A suitable tow rope. You’ll also need a tow rope so you can successfully tie this tube to the back of your boat. Tow ropes are designed to be both flexible and durable, giving you an enjoyable towing experience without ever compromising safety. Some tow ropes are designed to be somewhat elastic, allowing for more push and pull and a more unpredictable, exhilarating ride.
· A boat. Almost any type of boat can be used to tow a tube, but some are better suited for the activity than others. Thrill seekers want to go as fast as possible, so fast and powerful boats are often prioritized.
· Safety equipment. It’s also important to have proper safety equipment. Every person tubing and on the boat should have a life jacket that fits them properly. You should also have flotation devices and other equipment to rescue anyone who might fall overboard.
How to Pull a Tube
Pulling a tube is relatively simple if you’re already familiar with boating.
· Designate a safe area for boat tubing. You need to choose an area that is going to be safe for you, your passengers, and your towing passengers. The less populated the area is, the better.
· Check all your equipment. Before each boat tubing adventure, it’s important to check all your equipment for points of damage and flaws. If there are any issues with your equipment, fix them before heading out.
· Choose a driver and a spotter. It’s important to have both a driver and a spotter for this experience. The driver should be responsible for maintaining awareness of their surroundings and piloting the boat safely. The spotter should be responsible for monitoring the tube and its passengers, alerting the driver if anyone falls off or requires assistance.
· Attach the tow rope. The tow rope needs to be attached to both the tube and the back of the boat. Tie this rope securely and check it twice.
· Review hand signals. You won’t be able to communicate verbally when towing people, especially if the boat is moving quickly; hand signals are much more reliable as a quick communication method between both passengers and tube passengers. Review these hand signals to ensure a clear line of communication.
· Go! At this point, you’ll be ready to go.
Important Safety Tips for Boat Tubing
These tips can make sure your boat tubing experience is a safe one:
· Consider age, weight, and maturity levels. Younger and smaller riders are at greater risk than their older and larger counterparts. Also consider the maturity levels of the people you intend to tow. You need to be sure that all these passengers can ride safely and responsibly.
· Check all equipment carefully. Never use damaged or flawed equipment.
· Start slow. Start the experience with slow movement, and only scale up when everyone feels comfortable doing so.
· Keep watch. Maintain 360-degree awareness of your surroundings at all times – and proactively avoid potential hazards.
· Be ready to act in the event of an emergency. In the event of an emergency, you need to be prepared to act responsibly. Having an emergency kit onboard is a prerequisite, and you should have multiple means of signaling for help if necessary.
Boat tubing remains one of the most popular ways to enjoy the open water, and it’s relatively easy to get started with this activity. Stay safe and feel free to experiment with a wide range of different towable tubes so you can learn how each performs under different conditions.