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Can You Go Tubing Behind a Pontoon Boat?

A young boy and girl tubing behind boat.

Have you ever wanted to go tubing behind a pontoon boat? If so, you’re in luck, because there are many advantages to tubing behind this type of boat, and it’s easy to do. Let’s take a look at how tubing behind a pontoon boat can be so much fun.

Creating an Optimal Wake With Your Pontoon For Tubing

It’s no secret that when your boat hits plane (reaches top speed), it creates what is known as wakes, which consist of air bubbles and water turbulence. In order to have the best experience tubing, you’ll want to create the optimum wake with your pontoon boat.

Use a Pontoon over 22 Feet Long

A photo of pontoon boat beached at falls lake.

While it’s a common misconception that a pontoon’s size has something to do with how big of a wake is created, actually it’s all about length. A longer boat will create a better wake than one that’s shorter because of physics and nothing else.

At around 22 feet in length, most pontoons are capable of creating a wake that’s suitable for tubing behind; at 18 feet or less, the wake might just push your riders off the tube.

Speed

A pontoon boat moving o the bay.

A good wake on the water is also dependent on how fast the pontoon boat is moving. The faster the pontoon goes, the bigger the wake and the better experience you’ll have while tubing behind it.

Pontoon boats are generally faster than party barges and other types of water vessels, but still slower than an offshore fishing boat. This makes them perfect for tubing because you’ll get all of the fun without being in any real danger if your tubes do flip over.

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You can get a good tubing experience if your pontoon boat is moving at 18 miles per hour or more. This speed will create a large enough wake for you to have an enjoyable time, but it won’t be so fast that you need to worry about outrunning any large waves or tipping over.

Horsepower

In general, you want at least 75-95 horsepower for tubing. Although pontoon boats are not designed for tubing, they have enough horsepower to be able to move you along quickly and keep up with other tubers on open water.

All boat motors put out different amounts of horsepower, so it is important to understand what your pontoon boat can provide if you are planning on going tubing behind it.  Pontoon boats also have enough space for multiple people, which makes them ideal for tubing excursions.

Fewer Passengers More Speed

A family enjoying fun tubing on the lake.

When it comes to having fun on a pontoon boat, there’s no better way to create memories than tubing. But what about tube restrictions?

If you’re looking for some of the best ways to have fun on your next trip with family and friends, keep these tips in mind: when tubing behind a pontoon boat with just one other person, you can travel much faster. However, if you plan on bringing another guest along—or transporting more people—it may slow your boat down.

A maximum weight of 300 pounds per person is also recommended when tubing behind a pontoon boat. Consider all of these factors before you set off for your next vacation!

Attaching Point

You’ll need a tow bar to connect your boat’s docking system to a pontoon boat. Your tow bar will run into two hooks. The first hook is on your boat, and is where you’ll be attaching your ropes.

The second hook is on your pontoon boat and will pull it along behind you. That’s how tubing behind a pontoon boat works: when you attach your tow bar, use it to pull along a floating dock behind you.

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Avoid Sharp Turns

When tubing behind a pontoon boat, you’ll want to avoid sharp turns. Sharp turns disrupt the flow of the wake and knock passengers off. Just remember that every watercraft has its own speed threshold, so it may take some time before everyone gets comfortable with each other’s abilities.

Is it Legal to Tube Behind a Pontoon?

A signage telling people to produce no wake.

It’s legal to tube behind most boats in pretty much every state, but some have different regulations depending on the situation. Many states require that someone is watching tubers from the vessel at all times.

Although this may not be required in every state, it’s still important that people on board are paying attention to where the tuber is going and not just enjoying their own ride.

What You’ll Need to Start Tubing With Your Pontoon Boat?

Want to give tubing with your pontoon boat a try? If so, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment and safety gear before you head out on the water. Read on to find out what’s involved in getting started with this fun boating activity.

Tow Rope

A towing rope on a white background.

Towing a tube requires, of course, a tow rope. A pontoon boat will require a good, long tow rope. My recommendation is somewhere between 50-60 feet in length and 1500 lbs of tensile strength. The length of your rope will depend on how big your tubes are and where you launch from.

Towable Inflatable Tube

A towable inflatable tube is a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy floating on water.  Inflatable tubes are available in various lengths and thicknesses depending on your boat’s horsepower and water conditions.

If you plan on tubing in rough conditions, it’s best to go with a thicker model that can withstand more abuse from waves; lighter tubes will be easier to tow for novice tubers but may pop more easily. Thicker models are often slightly heavier and bulkier but will give you added peace of mind when floating in choppy waters.

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Life Jackets

A woman smiling wearing life jacket on the beach.

When a boat gets up on plane, it’s very easy for people on board to get tossed around. And with an inflated tube on your deck, there’s even more of a risk that you could get thrown overboard.

To keep your passengers and yourself safe from drowning if they get ejected from your boat, make sure everyone wears a life jacket when tubing behind a pontoon boat. This will help prevent some injuries and keep you afloat in case of an emergency.

Water Tubing Helmets

Whether you wear a bicycle-style or kayak-style helmet is entirely up to you; just make sure it fits comfortably, provides good visibility, and isn’t too heavy or bulky. If you’re concerned about hurting yourself if you fall off your tube, helmets can also help prevent injuries like head traumas and spinal cord injuries.

Sunscreen

The sun’s rays can turn a fun afternoon into an intense burn in no time. Don’t let that happen—or worse, get burned and ruin your trip. Instead, make sure you pack sunscreen before you leave.

First Aid Kit

A photo of first aid kits' materials..

Every pontoon boat owner should carry a first aid kit, and hopefully that’s already done. The best kits are comprehensive with lots of first aid basics as well as essential supplies like bandages, tape, gauze, and emergency blankets.

Final Thoughts

With pontoon boats, the main thing is to make sure you have enough horsepower to pull your passengers. Hire a boat with an outboard motor or use multiple engines if necessary; pulling a full load can be challenging for smaller motors.

With these points in mind, yes, tubing behind a pontoon boat is possible! But only with proper planning and preparation.

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