Do you drive your boat at the same speed when towing children as when towing adults? If this is the case, you may want to reconsider your boat speed.
To start with, children and adults have different tolerance of drag on the water as well as tubing risks, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more factors to take into account when determining what is the best speed for tubing, which will be revealed in this post.
What Is The Best Speed For Tubing?
Before discovering what is the best speed for tubing, it’s worth noting that speed is relative.
It means a slow speed in one case may be too fast in another. Consequently, there isn’t a single right boat speed for everyone, you have to adjust based on reality instead.
Nevertheless, the proper boat speed for tubing is between 20 and 25 miles per hour, but depending on the riders’ age range, you need to slow down.
- Young kids with little to no tubing experience: 8 miles per hour
- Older kids in ideal conditions: 12 miles per hour
- Teenagers and adults with possible obstacles: 15 miles per hour
- Teenager and adults in ideal conditions: 20 miles per hour
Why Does Boat Speed Matter?
A boat moving at high speeds knocks the riders into the water repeatedly, which takes the fun out of the sport; and riders may never want to try tubing again.
More importantly, speeding likely results in injuries due to crashing, collisions, and falling into the water. There may be other subjects, other boats on the water, and high speeds make it harder for you to change direction when trying to avoid them.
The higher the speed, the higher the risk; the faster you drive, the worse the impact is on the riders.
What Other Factors Determine Boat Speed?
The rope has to be at a certain length to maintain a distance between the tube and the boat. As a result, when the boat makes a turn, the tube will likely travel at a distance twice that of the boat, which doubles the tube’s speed.
For instance, when you turn at 20 miles per hour, the tube may skim at 40 miles per hour. The longer the rope, the harder it is to control the tube.
If you have a banana tube, which riders have to straddle instead of sitting or lying down, you should never go fast.
On the other hand, if you have a deck tube, increasing speeds is easier and safer. If you want to go fast, make sure the tube gives riders secure positions.
Water and weather conditions
You should always adjust the boat speed based on the real condition of the water and the weather.
In rough conditions, you should always slow down to ensure safety for riders. Going at 15 miles per hour or higher in choppy waters can cause the tube to go airborne, putting riders at risk of falling into the water.
Also, in bad weather, the riders’ visibility and the driver’s field of view are significantly decreased, so it’s hard to keep an eye on them and watch out for other potential dangers.
Ideally, you want to go tubing in an undisturbed area not to worry about other boats and people getting in your way. However, this is not always the case.
There are certain times when a lot of people choose to have fun on the water as you do, and the waters will be quickly filled up with all types of boats, tubes, skiers, boarders, and more.
Hence, it’s best to drive slowly, trying to keep your riders and other people in the water safe.
Number of riders
It goes without saying that towing more people raises safety risks compared with towing one. Moreover, towing more than one tube requires extra effort to prevent the tubes from colliding.
The proper way to deal with multiple riders is to keep the speed low and drive in a straight line.
Tubing Safety Tips
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Both the riders and driver must wear life jackets before tubing, or before getting on board for the best. The life jackets need to fit everyone as well, which calls for thorough preparation beforehand.
Plus, make sure all of your riders know how to use the PDFs properly in case they fall into the water.
Assign A Spotter
The driver cannot focus on driving and watching the riders all the time. That’s why there should always be a spotter on the boat, who can observe the riders.
This way, the driver can navigate the water body safely while the riders are well taken care of.
Playing on the water doesn’t mean you won’t get dehydrated, especially if you stay on board all day under the sun. You can get dehydrated anywhere if you don’t drink enough water.
Therefore, remember to bring enough drinking water for everyone when going tubing.
Before tubing, the driver and riders must agree on hand signals to use during the ride. These hand signals should allow for fast, convenient communication with commands like keep going, stop, etc.
Hand signals are extremely helpful when riders are tens of feet away from the driver and the boat motor is too loud.
Overall, what is the best speed for tubing? In ideal conditions, you can drive your boat at up to 25 miles per hour when tubing but not faster than that. The boat speed must go down depending on the riders, weather, water conditions, among other factors.
Regardless, the point is to maintain safety for both the riders and everyone else involved in the ride. Be careful, stay alert, and never speed!