Beginners Guide to Buying a Towable Tube Tow Rope
Source: Action Sports International (http://www.actionsportsinternational.com)
Welcome to our article on buying Towable Tube Tow Ropes. We literally live and breath Towable Tubes as we spend every summer providing Ringo Rides to the public at Goring Gap in Worthing, West Sussex. As a result, we have an immense amount of first-hand experience of using all manner of towable tubes and we have become experts on how to get the very best out of each one.
Using the wrong type of rope with your Towable Tube can cause serious injury, even death, so please read this article carefully.
Towable Tube Ropes are designed to take heavy stresses as the line repeatedly gets loaded and then goes slack again. They are also designed to pull the combined weight of multiple riders at high speeds, which puts a huge amount of strain on the rope. The characteristics and tensile strength of a Tubing Tow Rope are therefore highly specialised and the type of rope you can buy by the metre in DIY and hardware stores is not the same thing.
Towable Tube Ropes are typically 60 feet long. However, we recommend that young children (under 10) should be towed with a shorter rope (say 40-50 feet) to prevent them from gaining excessive speed as they pass across the boat's wake (longer ropes create more momentum, a bit like a swinging pendulum). However, remember that excessive boat speed is dangerous and will make rope length largely irrelevant so please ensure that speed is always kept to an appropriate level - 20 knots maximum for adults, 10 knots maximum for under 10s. For more information on how to drive a speed boat please read our free article.
Never tow with a rope shorter than 20 feet as the tube occupants will be exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide from the boat's exhaust, plus the risk of coming into contact with the boat or it's propeller is dramatically increased.
The most important factor when buying a Towable Tube Rope is deciding on its "break strength". Choosing a rope with too low a strength could cause it to suddenly break and recoil back into the boat at high speed. The table below will help you decide which rope you need.
Recommended Tow Rope Break Strengths
3 person or less
- 3,350 lb. break strength
4 person or less - 4,100 lb. break strength
6 person or less - 6,000 lb. break strength
If you have a RIB or your boat has an outboard motor and twin D-Rings then you will need a Tow Bridle or a Towing Harness. Tow Bridles simply connect to the two D-Ring tow points on the stern of your boat and form a "Y" shape from which the tow rope is then attached. Most tow harnesses have an integral float to prevent them from sinking and coming in contact with the boat's prop. Some also have a pulley to spread the load evenly between the two D-Rings. See our full range of Tow Bridles & Hanesses here.
If you have recently purchased a Towable Tube for the first time then please read our Towable Tube Inflation Guide which will give you some invaluable hints and tips on how to remain safe and prolong the life of your tube. Also consider getting a Ski Mirror so that you can always see what's going on behind you.