How to make sure your boat towable tube is properly inflated

Whether you are new to boat tubing or remember “the good ‘ole days” being pulled behind a boat on a tire inner tube, it is good for all boaters to know how to inflate their boat tubes correctly. Poor inflation will affect performance as well as safety, so we have created these tips to ensure your day on the water is not only fun, but as safe as possible.

Under-inflation causes the tube to ride low and drag through the water, which creates stress on the bladder, cover, tow rope, and boat / watercraft. With a “soft” tube, water may collect inside the cover, which will add extra weight that the tube is not designed to manage. This stress may cause the air in the tube to become displaced and the tube may rupture and / or the fabric cover may tear. Also, an under-inflated tube also makes it difficult for the boat / watercraft to plane, burning up extra gas and wearing out the tow rope.

A properly inflated tube is taut with no or very few wrinkles in the fabric cover. RAVE Sports boat towable tubes are designed to skim over the waves and boat wakes when fully inflated and will put little stress on the product or your boat / watercraft.

How to inflate a boat tube:

  1. Lay the boat tube on a flat surface free of rocks or other objects that may puncture the product.
  2. Locate the inflation opening(s) on the product and the black Boston Valve / air plug which is included inside the clear poly bag with the Owner’s Manual in all RAVE Sports boat towable tube boxes. Flat, round deck tubes will have one inflation valve, while couch-style tubes will have additional beach-ball style inflation valves for the seats.
  3. If the valve opening in the bladder is not lined up with the opening on the fabric cover, shake or tug the tube bladder into place. Be mindful of this positioning during inflation, as sometimes it is helpful to inflate partially, lift the tube and shake the fabric cover to keep the inflation valve and the fabric cover opening lined up.
  4. Screw the valve into the threads of the opening to secure tightly, and then twist open the top cap of the valve. This valve is designed to allow air in, but not out, with a protective layer inside the valve to prevent air leakage.
  5. Insert the pump’s hose connector into the main valve and inflate the main deck first. When the tube reaches optimal inflation pressure and is firm to the touch, stop inflation and screw the cap of the Boston valve tightly. Close the Velcro flap over the valve.
  6. If your tube has couch-style seating with back rests or other additional bladders, continue inflating those sections, following the same steps. Rather than a Boston valve, these bladders will typically use a beach-ball style inflation valve.

More Tips:

  • Use a pump designed for inflating boat tubes, as an air compressor may blow up your tube and a small 12-volt compressor for bicycle or car tires will not have enough power. Our 12V High Pressure Inflator / Deflator or High Speed Inflator / Deflator are designed for this purpose. (Plus, they have a deflate option that makes getting the air out a quick and simple task.)
  • Your boat tube should be very firm when inflated with few or no wrinkles in the fabric cover. If it is under-inflated, an adult standing on the tube will sink into the tube. If it is properly inflated, an adult will just barely cause a dent in the tube when standing on it. The fabric cover should be snug all around the PVC bladder.
  • Always monitor the inflation level of the boat tube, as heat will cause the bladder to expand and potentially cause damage to the seams or I-beams inside the bladder. Do not leave a fully inflated tube sitting in the sun for extended periods of time, but rather store it in a shady area or let a bit of air out if you cannot find a shady area for storage. On the other hand, cool air and cool water will compress the air inside the bladder, so check and adjust the tube’s inflation level every time you use your tube.

Proper inflation ensures a longer lifespan for your new boat towable tube. Follow these tips, and you will be able to enjoy your new boat towable tube for a long time.

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