How To Attach A Towable Tube To A Boat – The Best Methods!

Going tubing with friends and family this upcoming summer for a fun experience on the water? If so, That’s fantastic! But hey, safety comes first.

Before you start tubing, you must ensure your tube is well-secured to your boat to have a smooth riding experience and prevent any accidents. There are different methods to do this, and if you don’t know them, you can get into trouble.

So, in this article, you’ll find the best tips on how to attach a towable tube to a boat so that you and your buddies can have fun while staying safe on the water.

Where To Secure A Tow Rope On A Boat?

Compared to wakeboarding or water skiing, tubing puts a lot more stress on the boat. Quite often, the towable catches on the water. Add to this the weight of the riders and the heavy tow rope. That’s a lot of weight to pull.

So if you connect the rope to a high ski pylon or tow bar, and the towable generates a significant amount of drag, it can pull the boat over, tear the tow bar, or rip off the pylon and cause severe damage to the boat and the riders.

So, for maximum safety, your best bet would be to attach your tow rope to a ski pylon that is not above 70cm (2ft) off the floor. You can also attach the rope to a center-mounted tow eye.

Another great method is to connect a harness bridle to the starboard transom rings. Or you can also use transom tie-down eyes, but then you should ensure they are strong enough to support the weight of the towable with the riders on it.

Select A Suitable Tow Rope

When choosing a tow rope, there are four things you need to consider, the material, weight capacity, length, and color.

Weight Capacity

When selecting a tow rope for your towable tube, it’s important to consider both the weight of the rider and the tube, as well as the rope’s tensile strength. The Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) recommends choosing a rope with a suitable tensile strength based on the total weight of the riders and the towable, as well as the recommended number of riders for the tube.

  • For a single rider below 170 lbs, you should use a rope whose tensile strength is 1500 lbs.
  • For three riders not exceeding 510 lbs, you should use a rope whose tensile strength is 3550 lbs and above.
  • For 5-6 riders with a weight between 810 and 1020 lbs., a tow rope whose tensile strength is 6100 lbs would be a great choice.


The length of the tow rope for tubing is extremely important. If it’s too long, the tube will get whipped side to side, and you’ll lose control.

On the other hand, if it’s too short, the riders will be too close to the propeller, putting them in danger. And not to mention that they’ll get plenty of water spray on their face and, on top of that, inhale carbon monoxide, which is not healthy.

So what’s the right length?

Well, the WSIA suggests that tow ropes should be at least 50 feet long and not exceed 65 feet. So always make sure you get the proper length for pulling tubes so that the riders can have a fun and safe ride.


Polypropylene is a popular choice for tow ropes because it’s lightweight, floats on water, and is generally affordable. It also resists rot and mildew, which makes it perfect for water-based activities like tubing. However, be aware that polypropylene can deteriorate faster over time when exposed to UV.

Nylon, on the other hand, is a more robust and long-lasting material that provides exceptional shock absorption and can endure exposure to the elements better than polypropylene. It may cost a little more and weigh slightly more, but the additional durability it offers is a worthwhile investment.


Bright color is your best bet when choosing a tow rope for tubing because it allows the rides and the boat to be spotted from a long distance, which increases safety.

Steps To Secure a Towable Tube to Your Boat

Before attaching the towable tube, make sure you have gathered the necessary equipment like the tow rope, quick connect device, and a Y Harness (Optional). Here are the easy steps to secure your towable tube to the tow rope:

Step 1 – The first step is to decide where you are going to attach your towable. Some boats come with a tow bar or ski pylon, but if you don’t have one installed, you can secure the towable to the transom eye.

Step 2 – Get a quick connect and place it on the tube. Note that a quick connect doesn’t come with the towable; this is a part you will have to get separately and install on your towable. But don’t worry; it’s simple; the short video below shows how to do it in the most simple way.

Once done, secure the tow rope to the quick connect like in the video below.

Step 3 – Secure the tow rope to your boat

Once the tow rope is connected to the quick connect, the only thing left for you to do is to attach the other end of the rope to the transom eye or tow bar of your boat. If you attach the rope to the tow bar, remember the attachment point should not be above 70cm (2ft) off the floor.

Can You Secure A Towable To Cleats?

Cleats are specifically designed to secure your boat to the dock, not to tow any load. Some boats use wood or nylon cleats, which are not strong enough to handle a lot of pressure.

Other boats use sturdy stainless steel cleats, which are fixed into a backing plate, making them extremely robust. But even if the cleats are durable, it wouldn’t be a good idea to secure your rope to them because it could rip out and injure the riders, especially if you ride the boat aggressively.

However, if you decide to tow a towable from the cleats, ensure that they are through-bolted and backed with washers, preferably made of stainless steel, as mentioned above. To prevent putting too much pressure on the cleats, the best is to use a harness bridle. This will help distribute the load between the two cleats.

Towing a tube from a transom eye is much safer than towing from cleats. Before using transom tie-down eyes, it is important to check with the boat manufacturer that they can withstand the towing force specified on the tube’s label. Keep in mind that some tubes can generate a large amount of drag.

However, wherever you decide to secure your towable, your best bet is to use a (Y )harness bridle to have a smoother ride on the water. When towing with a harness, you must use a shorter tow rope of 50 ft, 55ft, or 60ft.

Can You Use a Waterski Rope to Pull the Tubes?

Some people use waterski rope for pulling a towable tube, but honestly, it’s not recommended. Waterski ropes are typically thinner and less stretchy than ropes specifically designed for tubing.

This can create a less comfortable ride and put more strain on the tube and riders.

Additionally, using a rope that’s not designed for tubing could potentially break, as it may not have enough strength or durability to handle the stresses of tubing.

Therefore, you are better off using a rope that’s specifically designed for towing tubes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Tips To Reduce Drag When Tubing.

To reduce drag and water spray, you can either use a booster ball or a turbo swing. Both options work well if the tow point is very low on the boat. The ball and turbo swing will keep the tow rope out of the water, which helps reduce significantly water spray.

These also help absorb shock, providing a more enjoyable ride on the tube. You can mount a Turboswing on the transom and then attach the tow rope to the EZ Pulley system with a hook.

Generally, the booster ball comes with loops, and most towable have a loop too. Thus you won’t have any issue attaching it to your boat.

To Wrap It Up!

Tubing is fun and exciting, no doubt about it, but as I mentioned earlier, safety comes first. However, If you choose the right rope and attachment point, you’ll be able to well secure your towable tube to your boat, which will give you a thrilling tubing experience.

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6 thoughts on “How To Attach A Towable Tube To A Boat – The Best Methods!”

  1. This seems so much fun! Now, with your guide, I will be able to know more about where to start if I want to try this and how to attach it to my boat securely.

    Would this be fun with a pontoon? You mentioned in your article that you had the tow bars on the pontoon, but will it be fast enough and secure enough?

    • Hi there,

      As long as you tie the tube securely to the tow bar, you are good to go!

      I hope it helped, and if you have more questions, I’ll be more than happy to assist.

      Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a great day!

  2. One of the best water activities you can take part in is tubing. With friends and family, the activity is enjoyable, so fun to do. It does, however, come with safety precautions that you must properly follow, and thank you very much for guiding us through with this post. Great content

    Awesome post;)

    • Hi Katherine, you are most welcome!

      I am glad you found the article useful. If you have questions, please feel free to ask, I am always happy to help.

      I wish you a great day!

  3. Make sure your pontoon boat is equipped for towing activities. Ensure that it has a sturdy towing point, like a tow bar or a pylon, specifically designed for pulling tubes or skiers


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