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Safety Tips for Pulling Towables From Your Boat or Personal Watercraft
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Safety Tips for Pulling Towables From Your Boat or Personal Watercraft

Although it may seem simple, towing requires a bit of planning and safety precautions before you board your first passenger. By following a few guidelines for properly towing tubes by boat, your day on the water will be more enjoyable. Whenever towing anyone behind your boat, you should have at least one spotter who can keep track of the passenger and relay any necessary information to the driver.

Tip #1: Keep Your Distance

Whenever towing someone behind your boat, always remember is to keep a safe distance from docks, other boats, bulkheads, and shorelines. Also, be aware of the water depth at all times avoiding shallow water. The length of the rope is the other important aspect when towing. Whether for tubers or water skiers, you want it to be around 100 feet at a minimum to keep your distance. Ski ropes are normally available at 75 feet, but it's best to have 100 feet at a bare minimum. The reason for the extra distance is that when a spill occurs, you want adequate distance for the rider or skier to tumble across the water without coming in contact with your motorboat or personal watercraft.

Tip #2: The Tube and the Boat Don't Go the Same Speed

The speed of the boat and the tube will differ especially during turns. Most likely, all of us have experienced the thrill of getting whipped around the water at high speeds. During these transitions, the tube will often travel much faster than the boat. If you turn the boat at 20 miles per hour, the tube will most likely be speeding along at double the speed of 40 miles per hour. Understanding this, keep your distance from any objects because it will be even harder to slow down the tube than what it will be the boat.

Tip #3: Keep Awareness of the Other Boats

Outside of colliding with the dock, the other grave danger comes from other boats on the water. In particular, the danger increases when the individual falls off the tube and are not clearly visible to other boaters. Waiting to be picked up in the water can be dangerous even when wearing a bright-colored Airhead life jacket. Many times, the other boats won't expect swimmers so far from the shoreline. Because of this danger, some states have passed a law that an orange flag must be erected whenever a tuber has gone into the water. While wakeboarders and water skiers were taught to hold a ski above the water, tubers don't have the same option. Keep a close eye on the boats that are closest and pay attention to erratic movements from other drivers.

Tip #4: Returning the Tow Rope to a Downed Skier

Getting the rope back to the skier may not be as straightforward as it looks at first glance. Since a  skier doesn't have the ability to swim to the rope, you need to perform a tight U-turn and have the skier near the U. In addition, you don't want to turn too much because you don't want to run over the rope. Keep an eye out for other boaters while you are maneuvering your boat into position.

Tip #5: Awareness Saves the Day

Practicing safe watersports should always be the goal of any day on the water. Some of the most common injuries that people get on the water include head injuries, sprains, strains, muscle and ligament injuries. Collisions with another tuber have become one of the greatest sources of head injuries. This is even more common with children, and you should teach them the risks and dangers of the water. Awareness can save you from having a bad day on the water.


When towing anything behind the boat, it's important to take the right safety precautions to ensure that you have a positive experience on the water. You can have many good memories, but you should still always be careful and be aware of the negatives that can happen so that you can avoid those dangers. Through taking the right precautions, you can drastically lower the risk so that you will have a better experience. Follow the guidelines outlined above about tubes pulled behind by boats, and you are guaranteed to have a good time.



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