Preparation for tubing is not hard work but requires your attention to detail just like any other activities to make sure everyone has fun.
What if you are all set and depart to the water for tubing but end up being upset because your boat can’t tow as many riders as you want?
This likely happens if you don’t take the motor size into account before tubing. Your boat may either go really slow, taking all the fun away and ruining the trip.
So, prepare this beforehand, what size boat motor do you need to pull a tube?
What Size Boat Motor Do You Need To Pull A Tube?
The boat motor power needed to pull a single tube with one rider is at least 35HP (horsepower – the unit of measurement for a boat’s engine when towing a tube).
However, this power level may allow for one child only. When pulling a tube with an adult on it, you need about 60HP to move at 15 miles per hour.
As a rule of thumb, towing more riders calls for more horsepower and heavier boats need larger motors as well. But it’s more complicated than just multiplying the number of riders by the HP amount.
For instance, a 60HP may handle two riders instead of just one if they are lightweight.
Towing two or three riders at the same time requires a motor power of at least 90 HP because you need the right force to reach a satisfactory tubing speed.
What Determines Motor Power Needed For Tubing?
While 60 HP and 90 HP are the basic power levels you can rely on to determine if your boat can handle tubing, there are more factors that should be taken into account.
Type of boat
It’s safe to say that almost any boat can pull a tube as long as they generate enough power for the sport. However, the minimum level of power required may vary among different types of boat.
Take pontoon boats and deck boats for an example. At the same horsepower, a deck boat with its signature V-shape head cuts through water faster, hence accelerating better than a pontoon boat.
The reason for this is that deck boats and pontoon boats are designed for different uses. While pontoon boats are focused on creating stable, steady rides for family time, deck boats are more about speed and fun.
Therefore, if you use a pontoon boat for tubing, you should make sure it produces more HP than required for a deck boat.
The weight of a boat also determines how much horsepower you need for tubing. Heavier boats need a stronger motor to pull a tube because it has to drag itself, too.
For instance, a 20-foot boat with a 90HP motor power likely performs worse than a 10-foot one with a 70HP motor power.
Apart from the boat, the tube design plays a role in determining how much motor power you need for tubing.
In most cases, the tube doesn’t matter to the horsepower because its weight is negligible compared with that of the rider. Nevertheless, it’s not always the case.
Tubes are made of different materials, some are heavier than others, demanding more motor power.
In addition, different tube designs offer varied amounts of contact area with the water. The larger the area is, the more horsepower you need.
The weight of the rider(s) is an obvious factor to keep in mind when determining the boat motor size for tubing.
The power needed to tow two adults must be larger than towing two children; the power needed to tow one rider is smaller than towing two riders.
At the same time, you have to think about the load on the boat itself.
How many people are there on the boat when tubing? How much is the total weight by including the tubes, the riders, and everyone else on board?
These are the questions you need to answer to figure out the proper boat motor size.
While the recommended tubing speed is 25 mph or lower, it’s a big difference between this maximum speed and the minimum speed of 8 mph, which is applied to towing children. Hence, the motor power required varies.
Also, some people enjoy fast rides, some people don’t want to take safety risks, and others just like cruising. Each preference calls for a different motor power.
For speed, you need more horsepower; for cruising, you need less.
How To Know If You Need More Horsepower
In fact, you can estimate the amount of horsepower needed for tubing. The rule of thumb is that one horsepower is required for 25 to 40 pounds of weight.
By summing the boat’s weight, the tube’s weight, everyone’s weight, equipment and all personal items on the boat, you can make a simple calculation to find out how much power you need and know if your boat meets the need.
Can you pull a tube with a 50 hp motor?
Yes, sure you can. A 50HP motor is enough for towing one kid at a time. However, if you want to tow adults, opt for more power.
Can you pull a tube with an outboard motor?
Yes, you can definitely pull a tube with an outboard motor. The benefits of an outboard motor are easy maintenance and more room on board.
Can you pull a tube with a bass boat?
Yes, you can. In fact, you can pull a tube with almost any type of boat as long as it offers enough power for tubing.
For towing a single tube with a child, you need at least 35 HP, the requirement goes up to 60 HP for a single adult rider.
Overall, the definite motor power you need for tubing depends on multiple factors like the rider’s weight, the boat, the tube, and the rider’s preference. Estimation is necessary to determine how much horsepower is enough for your rides.
That said, you can pull a tube with anything less than 35 HP. Make sure to get a boat that can meet your needs with this fun watersport.
- What Size Boat Motor Do You Need To Pull A Tube?
- What Determines Motor Power Needed For Tubing?
- How To Know If You Need More Horsepower
- Wrap Up