Updated: July 2, 2021
If you’ve spent any time near the lakes, rivers, or at the beach, we’re sure you’ve seen the boats pulling their squealing, laughing passengers behind them. It looks like fun doesn’t it?
Maybe you’ve been a bit envious, or maybe your kids are begging for a chance to jump on a tube… but you just don’t have the budget or space for a boat.
Well, you might be surprised to hear that you don’t have to have a boat to pull a tube. You absolutely can tube behind a personal watercraft (PWC)! Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Sea-Doos are much more affordable and compact than boats, and they’re a surprisingly great way to tow a tube.
Not convinced? Let’s jump into six reasons we love jet ski tubing (and why we don’t) plus how to choose the best tube for a jet ski.
See Also: 13 Tubing Behind a Boat Tips
6 Reasons We Love PWC Tubing
#1 – Jet Skis Are More Affordable Than Boats
If you want to buy a brand-new Jet Ski with all the bells and whistles, you’re probably looking at a $10,000 investment. But you really don’t need all of that for jet ski tubing.
Used models are easy to find for less than $5,000, and if you’re willing to refurbish one, you can find them for even less than that.
#2 – Jet Skis Are Easier to Tow and Launch Than a Boat
Jet Skis are much more compact than boats, so they’re lighter and easier to maneuver. They’re also easier to get on and off the trailer.
If the thought of having a line of impatient boaters waiting for you to pull away from the launch stresses you out, this is a huge benefit. In fact, many public boat ramps and marinas even have a separate ramp jest for personal watercraft.
#3 – The Ride
That’s what you really want to know, right? The great news is tubing behind a jet ski gives the tuber a fantastic ride! It doesn’t take away from the experience in any way.
In fact, it might actually be better since the ski has better maneuverability. As long as your jet ski has at least 110 horsepower, you can give two kids or one adult (up to 200 pounds) a fantastic ride behind your jet ski.
#4 – Jet Skis Are Easier to Transport Than Boats
Large boats can be a real hassle to tow, which is why most people pay to keep them at a marina. And, the sheer size of a boat means your maneuverability is very limited.
Since Jet Skis and trailers are smaller and lighter, you don’t need a full-sized tow vehicle, and you can launch them from almost anywhere.
#5 – You Can Explore Out of the Way Places
When you’re jet ski tubing, you can explore out of the way coves, narrow canals, and smaller rivers that you wouldn’t be able to navigate with a boat.
Of course, you’ll need to use caution and go slower so you don’t throw your rider off of the tube onto the shore. But, enjoying the beautiful scenery and getting away from the crowds is a fantastic trade-off.
#6 – You Can Navigate in Shallow Water
If you’ve ever run aground when you were boating, you know it can be a real pain. The thing about personal watercraft is that they do great in shallow water.
There’s no propeller to worry about, so you can pull right up to the beach when you want to take a break or do some exploring. It’s one of the greatest benefits of jet ski tubing!
Just be aware of obstacles in the water that could cause problems for your tubers, such as rocks, buoys, sand bars, and logs.
The Drawback of Jet Ski Tubing
The biggest drawback of Jet Ski tubing is capacity. If you want to spend the day on the water with the whole family and maybe a friend or two, you’re going to need a boat. That’s because the total number of people on the watercraft and on the tube can never exceed the seating capacity of the jet ski.
The maximum capacity for most jet skis is 2 – 4 people. However, most areas require a spotter by law, so you will need at least a three-seater if you want to tow a tube behind your jet ski. But that will only accommodate a driver, a spotter, and one person on the tube.
Tubing tends to be more fun when there are two people on the tube. So, we recommend choosing a four-seater. That way there’s room for a driver, a spotter, and two tubers.
Related: How to Winterize a Jet Ski
How to Choose the Best Tube for a Jet Ski
Towable tubes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Be sure to consider the age and size of your passengers when choosing your tube. Here are some key features to look for when choosing the best towable tube for a jet ski:
- Choose a one or two-seater, depending on the seating capacity of your jet ski.
- Sturdy grab handles make it easier for tubers to mount the tube and stay on board once the tube starts moving.
- Padded seat and sides for a more comfortable ride.
- Quick connect tow hooks for easy hookup.
- Boston valves for easier inflation and deflation.
- Reinforced PVC bladder.
- Multiple air chambers so the tube stays afloat if it gets punctured or torn. Do NOT attempt to use a standard river floating tube.
No matter which tube you choose, consider adding a Booster Ball to your tow rope. It will keep the tow rope from sinking and prevent submarining, which is no fun for your tubers.
And, as always, all passengers on the jet ski and tube must be wearing a properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jacket (PFD). Helmets are also a great idea to protect your tubers’ head and ears.
We love jet ski tubing for a variety of reasons, but most of all, it’s a great ride! Jet skis can reach high speeds and have excellent maneuverability, which can make the ride even more enjoyable than tubing behind a boat.
Just be sure to respect the capacity limits of your personal watercraft and tube for everyone’s safety.