Pontoons may still be the best party boat for a sunset cocktail cruise, but boat manufacturers are now creating pontoons with deeper V-shaped toons, large motors, and triple-tube models that can turn on a dime so they are also able to provide fun water sports entertainment. With the trend in pontoon boats becoming a “One-Size-Fits-All” boat, most of today’s pontoons have the speed and power required for tubing. Here are some of our best tips on how to successfully pull a boat tube behind a pontoon:
May the Force Be with You: Your tubing success will be impacted by the horsepower and size of your pontoon boat, how much weight is on the boat (i.e., how many passengers and their size), and how much the person (or persons) on the tube weighs. For example, if your pontoon is a 22-foot boat with a 150hp motor, there are two people in the boat, and you are pulling a few kids on the tube, their ride will be fast and thrilling. But if your pontoon is 16 feet long and has a 115 hp motor and it’s loaded with passengers, the tube ride will be slow and leisurely. As a general rule, you can pull a tube behind a pontoon as long as it has enough horsepower relative to the weight it is hauling. Using a tube created for pontoon tubing, such as the RAVE Sports Escape™ or Getaway™, will also help because they feature a Skim-Fast™ slick bottom to help create speed and glide.
Consider the Connections: As with any power boat, you’ll need the right ropes, harness, or tow bar or pylon to pull the tube. Pontoon manufacturers are now offering ski tow bars and pylons that are for this purpose, but most wakeboard towers are not designed to tow inflatables because the tubes have a tendency to become airborne with this set-up. If your boat does not have a tow bar or pylon, pontoon manufacturers recommend using a standard harness with carabiners on each end to hook to the eyelets or U-bolts at the end of the pontoons.
Use a Tow Rope for Tubing: Ropes designed for tubing had a very high tensile strength, while ropes designed for skiing, wakeboarding, or knee boarding may not be strong enough for tubing and may snap and injure someone.
Be Safe: Boating laws differ from state to state, but in any case it just makes common sense to have another person in the pontoon with the driver to keep an eye on the riders. Other safety considerations are to keep your speed relative to the age and ability of your riders (i.e., keep it under 10 mph for children). Wakes generated from pontoon boats have less shape or depth than wakes created by ski boats, but the tube will still have potential to “whip” at high speed. Also remember that pontoons aren’t as maneuverable as other boat types, so if someone falls off the tube, it will take a bit more time to circle around to pick them up, so instruct them to keep an arm raised so other boaters will see them.
FINAL WORD: Tubing is a great way to have fun on the water and create memories at the lake with family and friends. It’s likely that your pontoon can be used for tubing, after you factor in these considerations. Above all, safety is the most important consideration, so always tube responsibly, away from other boaters, and according to local and state boating laws. As long as you boat within these guidelines, you will enjoy tubing behind your pontoon.