How to Tow A Tube


Tubing is a popular lake activity in the summertime, and for good reason. It’s safer than some water sports and doesn’t need professional training or certifications. Tubing is also a great lake activity for families. From loading up the boat to whipping around on the water, the memories your family will share during tubing will last a lifetime.

Getting started is easy. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment, at least two other people, and a day on the water. Keep reading for our totally tubular guide for towing a tube:

Towing A Tube

  1. Check to make sure you have the proper equipment on board before starting your adventure. You’ll need:
    • A towable tube: Towable tubes are available at many outdoorsman shops and sporting goods stores. They’re sold according to the number of riders you plan to tow on the tube.
    • A boat: Unlike some water sports, tubing can be easily done with almost any kind of boat. Runabouts, pontoon boats, bowriders… You name it. If it has an engine and a place to tie off the tube, you’re in for a great adventure.
    • A tubing rope: This rope will likely have an eyelet on one end. These are also sold based on the number of tubers you’ll tow. Some of the tubing ropes have a stretchy, bungee-like effect to them, which can be a rush of adrenaline for your riders.
    • An orange flag: An orange flag is a universal symbol for a person being in the water.
    • Life Jackets: Falling off the tube happens often. Make sure your tubers are wearing brightly colored, well-fitting life jackets.
  2. Designate who will drive the boat and who will act as a spotter. The driver should be able to drive the boat smoothly. Safety is their responsibility. Therefore, the driver needs to be cautious of their surroundings. It’s also important to keep in mind that the tube will swing the opposite way of the turn, so the driver will need to have a keen awareness of everything happening within 360 degrees.

    The spotter will keep an eye on the tuber. If the tuber falls, the spotter will alert the driver and raise the orange flag. This lets other boaters in the area know that there’s a person in the water. The spotter will also watch out for signals that the tuber is in distress and wants to stop, but we’ll get to that shortly.
  3. Secure the tow rope and the tube together.

    Your tube will likely have a plastic/nylon loop on the end. It will have a hole in the center and two rounded off prongs. This is where you’ll attach the rope. Insert the rope’s eyelet through the hole and secure on the plastic prongs. Pull tightly.
  4. Attach the other end of the tow rope to the stern (back of the boat)
  5. Discuss and agree upon safety hand signals for the tuber and spotter.

    Sometimes the tuber’s arms will get tired. Sometimes their foot will scrape across something in the water and needs to be looked at. Sometimes they get scared that the driver is going to quickly and needs them to slow down. Sometimes they want the driver to kick it up a notch. However, it’s really hard to communicate the nuances of that while gripping a tube and getting sprayed in the face with the wake. This is where hand signals can be helpful.

    For example, a thumbs-up might mean increase the speed and a thumbs down might mean slow down. Gesturing at one’s throat might mean stop. Keep the hand signals easy to remember and easy to do while on the back of the tube.

Time to Start Tubing

  1. Make sure the boat and motor are completely turned off.
  2. Drop the tube into the water.
  3. Have the tuber get in the water before climbing onto the tube. In case they fall off the tube, they won’t be as shocked by the water’s temperature.
  4. Once the tuber is on the tube, push it away from the boat and give them some distance between the boat and tube.
  5. Start the boat and slowly move away from the tube.
  6. Once the rope is straight behind you start applying speed.
  7. Get excited! You’re going to have a blast!

Get Out and Try Tubing!

Are you ready to try tubing? Resort Boat Rentals has all the watercraft rentals you need to get started, from the boat to the tubes, and even life jackets. Book your rental and we’ll have everything ready for you at your reserved timeslot. We’ll see you on the water!