Towing a tube with a pontoon boat is more than just throwing the tube "over the side" and jumping in. Leaving a boat at any time other than when it's tied up is potentially dangerous under the best of conditions. Something else that should be remembered is that, because of a pontoon boat's inherent stability, the sea conditions should be assessed before the tube is launched. Once the tube is occupied, the pontoon boat operator must exercise particular caution because of the pontoon boat's handling characteristics.
Secure the tow line to the pontoon boat's ski pole.
Bring the pontoon boat to a full stop. Launch the tube and take note of the height of the waves or the chop. Do not embark passengers to the tube unless the waters are calm.
Transfer the tube's passengers to the tube, using the embarkation ladder at the stern. Do not disembark the tube's passengers over the pontoons. Ensure the passengers are seated or otherwise secured.
Shift the boat into forward. Pull away from the tube, slowly. Visually monitor the tube's condition at all times.
Increase the pontoon boat's speed. Tow the tube at no more than the speed recommended by the tube's manufacturer.
Tips & Warnings
- Some states' boating laws require a person other than the boat operator to monitor the status of persons under tow on water skis or water toys. Check with your local boating organization, the local branch of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the division of state government that polices boating operations to determine whether or not you are boating in one of those states.
- Do not embark passengers to the tube unless the waters are calm.
- "Chapman Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling"; E.S. Maloney, et al.; 1996