Keeping a towable tube afloat is probably one of the most fundamental things you need to ensure when going tubing.
However, there can always be unexpected problems such as when your tube submarines right at the beginning of the ride but you don’t know what you did wrong.
In this case, you should inspect every aspect relating to the tube, find any potential error, and fix it as soon as possible. So, how can we keep towable tube from submarining? The answer for you is in this post.
What Is Submarining?
In tubing, submarining means the front of a towable tube dips into the water or even submarines under the water. When this happens and isn’t fixed right away, riders can fall into the water.
This can happen due to some reasons such as the rider’s sitting position, the tube’s inflation state, and how the tow rope’s tied.
If you have this issue when tubing, no worries, there are multiple ways you can use to stop this and enjoy your ride.
How Can We Keep Towable Tube From Submarining?
Make sure the tube is fully inflated
You should inflate a tube until it is ultra-firm, showing no wrinkles on its cover. It’s the sign of a fully inflated tube. Another way to test this is by standing on the tube, an adult must be able to stand on the tube without sinking more than an inch.
Besides, it helps to read the instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer for proper inflation.
It’s worth noting that the hot sun or water temperature can change the inflation level of your tube. Therefore, if you are not using the tube, deflate, fold, and store it in the shade, keeping it away from direct sunlight.
To properly inflate your tube, you should know your tube’s valve:
- Boston valve: It’s a one-way valve that consists of two caps. To inflate, you need to pop off the top one as it lets air in, not out. To deflate, you have to untwist the whole valve.
- Speed valve: The key to inflating a speed valve is finding an electric pump that fits it. Then, all you have to do is place it in the valve and start inflating. When it comes to deflation, just pull the entire valve out, the air will escape quickly.
- Stem valve: To inflate this valve, simply put an electric pump deep inside. To deflate it, pinch the valve and force the air out.
On top of that, a good pump will help you inflate your tube efficiently. We recommend that you opt for an electric pump of 12V power, either a medium volume pump for single/double tubes or a high volume one for larger towable tubes.
A 12V electric pump can fully inflate 3 to 4 towable tubes on one charge. It means you can rely on it when going on long rides and need to re-inflate your tubes.
Compared with manual devices like hand pumps and foot pumps, electric pumps are easier and more convenient to use, which doesn’t call for physical strength from users. They also come with a deflating feature that sucks the air out from tubes for quick deflation.
Tie the tube properly
When the tow rope is tied too low to the water, it may sink into the water, causing a drag on the tube. As a result, the tube may nose-dive.
The best positions to attach a tube tow rope is a transom eye or a low transom tow point. Moreover, never tie your tube to a tower as the drag force can rip it off your boat.
In addition to that, on the tube’s end, you should attach the rope to the lower part of the tube’s front or slightly under its front edge. This way, when you start towing, the rope will lift the front of the tube up a little, preventing submarining.
On a side note, do not tie a knot on your tow rope because towable tubes have inbuilt attachment points for tow ropes or connect clips for tying the rope. Plus, knots can make the rope degrade and break more easily, so don’t tie a knot unless it’s the only option left.
Riders should sit properly
If riders get up too close to the rope when you start pulling, the tube will likely submarine.
Therefore, if your tube has a backrest, riders should lean back or sit towards the back of the tube. It will help prevent the tube from nose-diving.
Depending on the tube design, make sure riders choose the proper sitting position: seated, kneeling, or lying.
For donut-style tubes with one hole, a single rider can either sit in the hole or lie on the front while multiple riders should sit on the sides and keep their feet in the hole.
For donut-style tubes with multiple holes, riders can either sit in the holes with their feet outside or lie on their front.
For deck-style tubes, riders should kneel or lie on their front.
For sofa-style tubes, riders can be seated or kneel.
For banana tubes, riders must always sit in a row.
Pay attention to the load
This is not likely a problem in many cases but you should make sure the load on your tube is within its limit.
Each towable tube is designated for a certain number of riders or maximum load. As a rule of thumb, the larger the tube is, the more riders it can handle. When buying a towable tube, make sure its capacity is enough for the number of riders you intend to pull.
If the total weight of the riders exceeds what the tube can handle, the tube will submarine even before you start pulling.
If the rider load is smaller than the tube’s capacity, it’s still possible to avoid submarining if the total weight is distributed evenly and the tube is kept balanced all the time.
Drive at proper speeds
In some cases, a tube not fully inflated can still stay afloat if you drive at certain speeds. You don’t have to drive very fast, just maintain the safety standard of 20-25 miles per hour, but don’t drive too slowly because it won’t create enough force to drag the front of the tube.
On the other hand, don’t drive too fast or the tube will likely go airborne and flip over.
Use support equipment
For boats whose towing points are too low, you can use aiding equipment to keep the rope afloat. It will reduce the drag on the tube, keeping its front from submarining.
- Booster ball: It has a tow rope connected to both ends and keeps the tow rope elevated.
- Bobber: It’s used the same as a booster ball but comes in a bullet shape.
How can we keep towable tube from submarining? Figure out the cause first.
The most likely cause of a tube submarining is that it’s not fully inflated. Fixing this is easy as you just need to inflate it until it’s ultra-firm, shows few to no wrinkles, and feels hard to the touch.
If that doesn’t check the total load, make sure it does not exceed the tube’s capacity, and check the rope to see if it’s tied properly. Submarining is not a serious problem; as long as you pay attention to every detail, you can fix it and get back to tubing in no time.