There is more than one type of marine rope; not all of them can be used for the same activity and vice versa. There are ropes for water skiing, ropes for waterboarding, and ropes for tubing. So, what kind of rope do I need to pull a tube behind a boat?
This post will give you the answer to this question and show you what qualifications to look for in a rope used in tubing. If you are confused about finding the right rope for this sport, dig in.
What Kind Of Rope Do I Need?
You should use tow ropes specifically designed for tubing. It’s best to use ropes made of Polypropylene or Dyneema.
According to the Water Sports Industry Association (WISA), a tow rope for tubing must not be shorter than 50 feet and no longer than 65 feet. The goal is to maintain a proper distance to protect riders.
If the rope is too short, it will whip more violently and may throw splashes on riders. If the rope is too long, it will be harder to control its movement, increase the risk of tangling, and eventually the rope will whip violently too.
The ropes for towing tubes behind boats look like regular ropes but have features supporting water tubing such as floating ability, an inbuilt hook and handle to conveniently mount on your tubes and boat, or multiple sections for different towing lengths.
How to Choose Tow Rope for Tubing?
One of the most common materials for tubing tow rope is polypropylene. It’s essentially plastic but stretchier than polyester. The material is flexible but tough and economical.
Plus, it floats due to a gravity lighter than that of water, making it a popular choice for watersports.
The downside, though, is that it’s not as strong as some other materials. It’s not very resistant to UV rays or sun exposure, either.
This material is the newest type of synthetic fiber. It’s incredibly strong, it floats, and it features low stretch. Dyneema is the material you need for heavy-duty jobs.
However, at a quite high cost, one should consider the budget before choosing this material.
There are a few other materials for marine ropes like nylon and polyester but they have characteristics making them not good options for tubing.
For example, nylon is resistant to abrasion and rotting, but it’s weaker when getting wet, which surely happens when you go tubing. Meanwhile, polyester offers resistance to UV rays and abrasion, high strength, low stretch, but submerges due to larger gravity.
The way a rope is braided or twisted affects its durability.
In a single-braided, there are 8-12 strands. They are braided in a circular pattern, a half going in the opposite direction to the other. This construction is the weakest of all.
A double-braided rope, on the other hand, features a braided sheath wrapping the braided core. This way, the rope offers exceptional strength.
There’s also a three-strand twist rope that basically has three strands twisted, creating a strong core. Plus, this construction doesn’t harden even after years of use.
The floating ability is vital for tubing. If the tow rope sinks, it will result in splashes on the riders’ faces.
Also, a rope that sinks is also harder to retrieve when necessary.
A rope’s capacity matters because it determines how much load it can tow. If you tow more load than a rope’s rating, it may break easily, causing danger and taking the fun away.
When checking this factor, you need to look at the tensile strength, from which you can find out the max weight it can handle.
For instance, a rope with 1500-lb tensile strength can tow one rider of 170 lbs max weight. The more riders or the more weight you aim at, the larger tensile strength you should seek.
- When there are two riders or the load reaches 340 lbs, you need 2,375 lbs of tensile strength.
- For three riders or 510 lbs of load, you need 3,350 lbs of strength.
- For four riders or a 680-lb load, look for 4,100 lbs of strength at least.
- For five to six riders or a load of 850-1,020 lbs, you need 6,100 lbs of tensile strength or higher.
Higher quality tow ropes come with a coating that adds protection and prolongs their lifespan. Such coating can be weather-resistant, water-proof, UV-resistant, and more.
With a large budget, you can even get a coating that can strengthen the rope, making it more durable.
Top Tow Ropes For Tubing
The Airhead AHTR-42 can tow up to four riders
The Airhead tow rope is a 16-strand rope that can support up to riders. It features 16 strands braided together, offering a tensile strength of 4,150 lbs.
Notably, the rope consists of two sections that allow for 50 or 60 feet of towing length. It’s extremely useful to raise the stake or play it safe when tubing while maintaining the recommended rope length.
Plus, the Airhead AHTR-42 is UV-resistant and comes with a rope keeper for easy storage.
SEACHOICE Heavy Duty Tow Rope
The Seachoice heavy duty is fixed at a 60-foot length
While the Seachoice tow rope features the same 16-strand construction as the Airhead product, it allows for one towing length only at 60 feet.
Nevertheless, the rope offers 6,000 lbs of tensile strength, which is suitable for towing up to 6 people. If you have a large group or a big family, this rope will surely meet your needs.
Apart from the super strong polypropylene material, the Seachoice heavy duty rope also features a UV-resistant coating to increase its lifespan.
AIRHEAD Kwik Tek AHTRB-50
The bungee-style tow rope is for thrill-seeking riders
For those who seek more thrill in tubing, Airhead’s bungee-style tow rope is definitely worth considering. Measuring 50 feet, the rope meets WISA’s length standard for tubing.
Besides, it has a tensile strength of 4,150 lbs, allowing for up to four riders at a time. The ⅜-inch bungee cord at the core of the rope creates brief speed surges, making the ride much more fun and thrilling.
How To Pull A Tube Behind A Boat?
To pull a tube behind a boat and fully enjoy the fun of this sport, you should closely follow this instruction.
- Step 1: Inflate the tube. Make sure it’s in good condition and properly inflated.
- Step 2: Tie the rope. Inspect the rope first to see if it’s good for use. Follow the manufacturer’s manual and tie it securely on both ends.
- Step 3: Get ready. In this step, both the equipment and the riders have to get ready and double checked before tubing. Also, everyone must put on safety gear like helmets and life jackets.
- Step 4: Drive. Towing a tube is not tricky as long as you are sober, focused, and stay alert. It’s recommended to communicate with riders using hand signals and get a spotter.
Rope Maintenance Tips
There’s no point in buying high-quality, expensive ropes if you don’t maintain them properly. Good storing conditions and maintenance will ensure your tow rope functions well and last long.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Check the rope before each use and twice a year if you don’t use it regularly. For ropes that are no longer in good condition, it’s best to look for a replacement.
- Protect the rope if you store it near sharp objects or edges. Use a flexible garden hose or a PVC pipe to cover the rope in areas prone to damage.
- Clean the rope with proper materials. Avoid harsh chemicals as they degrade the fibers, decreasing the rope’s quality much quicker.
- Avoid direct sunlight. Even UV-resistant ropes will break if it’s exposed to the sun for too long. You should keep it somewhere away from sunlight or cover it to block sunlight.
- Get a rope keeper, coil the rope and store it there when you don’t need it. A rope keeper prevents twists, knots, and kinks.
Tow Ropes for Tubing FAQs
Can you use any rope for tubing?
No, you can’t. You should only use ropes designed for tubing to ensure performance and safety.
Tow ropes created for this sport are made from materials that float and can endure the dragging force from the boat. They must also be water-resistant and UV resistant.
What speed do you pull a tube behind a boat?
Depending on the age of the rider and the tubing conditions, you should pull a tube at 8 to 25 miles per hour. Driving too fast raises the risk of accidents and injuries for the riders.
How do you keep a tube rope out of water?
The best thing to do is get a rope that floats. But if your rope doesn’t float by itself, you should get a booster ball or a bobber.
These are floating air balls that can be attached to your rope to help it stay on the water surface. They also come in highly visible colors so you can see them more easily, increasing safety for riders.
As of now, we hope you have got the answer to your question “What kind of rope do I need to pull a tube behind a boat?”
Remember, don’t tie a random rope to your tube. You must always make sure it’s a tow rope for tubing.
That involves the proper length of 50-65 feet, the right tensile strength for your riders, a strong construction, floating ability, and a useful coating to ensure its performance.
- What Kind Of Rope Do I Need?
- How to Choose Tow Rope for Tubing?
- Top Tow Ropes For Tubing
- How To Pull A Tube Behind A Boat?
- Rope Maintenance Tips
- Tow Ropes for Tubing FAQs
- Final Thoughts