tubing... it's a simple as that. If
you have a boat or PWC (and kids) or fun-loving friends, then tubing is your ticket to a
great time on the water! There are several great places to go tubing on the Loxahatchee
Loxahatchee River -
Tubing has to be our top pick when it
comes to a single, family-oriented, boating watersport that the entire family can enjoy.
Nowadays, tubes come in so many different shapes and sizes that you no longer have to be
constrained to "one-size fits all". The new tube designs can accommodate persons of all age and
skill levels. Of course, be sure to read the warning labels, and follow the tube
manufacturers' recommendations for safe towing, proper inflation, and maximum speeds in order to
assure safe use and full enjoyment.
The big "donut style" inflatable tubes still exist,
but there are many new, advanced designs such as large flat circular tubes that 2 - 3 adults can
lay on; as well as some with seat backs (like a big couch) for the ultimate in comfort. They
even make tubes that fly in the air like a big manta ray when they hit a boat wake. Some can
be used as a floating island during party time, yet can still be towed to various locations and
enjoyed along the way. There are big banana-shaped tubes; there are wave-runner (PWC) shaped
tubes; designs with flared-up sides; and even circular tubes that can spin while being
towed. We have even seen smaller, individual-sized tubes that can be daisy-chained together
in a line behind the boat!
Kids love tubing, especially when they can ride along
with their friends. The key to pleasure tubing is to choose your "tubing time" based on the
current water & wind conditions. Nobody (except for a few of us daredevils) wants
to be bounced and slammed over rough water and wild boat wakes in a tube, or during
extreme-wind conditions. But if you go tubing in the early morning or late afternoon hours on
calm to light-wind days you can expect to find glassy smooth waters that are perfect for your
towable tubes to slide back and forth across the boat wake. Smooth water is a tubers best
What will you need for
tubing? The basics include your choice of tubes (many of us own several); along
An air pump or compressor for proper
A tow rope - keep in mind that a tubing tow rope is often
much heavier, and stronger than a ski or wakeboard tow rope. There are several
different tow ropes designs available, check with your local water sports retailer for
the proper size tow rope for your particular tube design.
A tow-rope harness (optional) to center the tow-rope
behind your boat.
Ski-vest (PFD) - a USCG approved personal floatation
device must be worn by all riders.
Ski gloves (optional).
Ski mirror (optional, but highly recommended) to keep an
eye on the riders.
Another option is to double the fun. Buy two tubes and tow them behind the boat at
the same time. This is fun because you can pull up to two riders on each tube, depending on
the design, and they can bump into each other as your boat moves, and glide back and forth
across the wake during turns. When towing two tubes, you can generally attach each one to the ski
tow "eye" usually located on the left and right side of your boats' transom (that's port and
starboard in "boat talk"). If you're only towing a single tube, you may also want to invest in a
"tow harness" which can be connected to the ski tow "eyes" on your boats' transom; there is
usually a loop, or center pulley that you can use to attach the tow rope. This will
place the tube's attachment point to the center of your boats transom. Of course, if your
boat already has a centered tow eye or ski pylon, then a tow harness is not necessary.
Great tubing locations exist in the Loxahatchee
River, including most of the open bay areas surrounding Tequesta Country Club on the North and
NW forks of the river. There are other good tubing spots off Pennock
Point in the central embayment area of the river. These open areas offer great tubing, but please
check the local navigation aides as the speed rules could change at any time. Other areas
include the ICW, and even the ocean on a calm day.
When towing tubes always use good judgement; remain
alert, watch out for navigation markers and buoys, as well as pilings, boat docks, sand bars,
and other boats in the area. You should have a ski mirror, and "spotter" in your boat at all
times in order to let you know if one of your tube riders falls off. Teach your riders the
universal hand signals for water sports safety (ex. thumbs up=faster, thumbs down= slower, OK=hold
speed, draw line across throat=stop). Try not to let other boats follow close behind when pulling
tubers, and stay out in the middle of the bay areas away from the shore, and other vessels. Be
safe, have fun, and happy tubing!