What to Look For: Tow Points

How to choose the right tow point for water sports.

There are almost as many ways to tie a tow rope to your boat as there are ways to enjoy yourself at the end of that rope. Here’s what to look for, whether buying a tow point as part of a new boat or from the marine accessories aftermarket.

1. Tow Eye Look for oversize fender washers or, even better, a wide metal or plywood backing plate on the studs. Ensure that the center "barb" is mounted in the up position. Those with larger-diameter rings are easier to use and have stronger fasteners.

2. Tow Pylon Tow pylons are available in fixed and adjustable height models and should enable the tow line to clear the outboard or the transom. A center/cockpit-mount pylon lessens the effect of the pull from the skier on the boat.

3. Tow Harness Make sure the clips will fit on the transom's D-rings. Ensure that there is a float included. Models with swiveling pulley tow-rope connections ensure an even pull. Harnesses are used with outboards, as well as ski boats, when tubing.

4. Tow Tower Look for heavy-backed and bolted mounting, with smooth welds and a durable powder-coated or anodized finish. A roller with smooth action on the tow point is essential. Many fold, making trailering and storage easier.

Quick Tip: Don’t tow a tube, stranded boat or parasail from a wakeboard tower or ski pylon due to the great stress that develops. Skiers and boarders will let go under stress; an object tied on cannot.