2016 Water Sports Gear Guide: Towables | Boating Magazine

2016 Water Sports Gear Guide: Towables

This year's top towables for behind the boat.

If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘‘towablesʼʼ is clinging to a doughnut-shaped tube while being whipped at high speeds across the water, let us reshape your perception of modern-day towables. Of course you can still get as extreme as you want on a tube, but towables also hit a segment of the population that no other towed watersport reaches. For most towables, there really is no skill involved, so all ages, from infants to senior citizens, can enjoy the experience of being pulled behind the boat.

Towables come in all shapes and sizes, from the standard two-person tube to eight-person party loungers, meaning there’s definitely a towable out there that meets your family’s needs. If your friends and family get tired of being pulled around the lake, many towables double as sun loungers; tie it off on your dock or boat, or pull it up on the beach and relax in the sun.

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Here are a few factors to consider the next time you’re headed out on the water with a towable.

Tow Point
While towers or center-mount pylons are perfectly suitable for pulling wakeboarders or skiers, never attach your tube’s tow rope to either of these points. If the tube became submerged while towing, the amount of stress on the boat would be tremendous and potentially damaging. Attach your tow rope to the transom ski tow or use a bridle.

Air Pressure
Towables should be inflated to their maximum air pressure. An underinflated towable can lead to a loose cover, which can catch on the water instead of skimming over it. All tube valves are easy to use and allow for quick inflation or deflation from either a manual or electric pump.

Safety
It goes without saying that boat drivers and all participants in towed watersports need to be constantly aware of other boats, buoys and other large floating objects. This doubly applies to towables, which do not have the same maneuverability as wakeboarders or water-skiers. Be extra cautious when pulling someone on a towable.

Tow Rope Your tow rope should match the capacity of your towable. Single-rider towables require a rope rated at 1,500 pounds. Select a rope rated at 2,300 pounds for towables with a two-person capacity. Towables with a four-person capacity need a rope with a 4,150-pound rating, while six-person tubes require a rope rated for 6,000 pounds. Many higherend towables feature a quick connection point that makes it easier to hook up to the boat.

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