Everything You Can Pull Behind A Boat

Everything You Can Pull Behind A Boat | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

May 25, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Some things you can pull behind a boat are tow ropes, water skis, wakeboards, tubes, kneeboards, and air chairs.
  • The Affordura Towable Tube is my favorite thing to pull behind a boat.
  • Always use safety gear like life jackets and utilize hand signals when towing anybody behind a boat.

Summer is here and you can't wait to hit the water with your boat. But there’s more to do, including some fun things to pull behind for a better adventure.

The best things to pull behind a boat include tow ropes, water skis, wakeboards, tubes, kneeboards, and air chairs. Some of the best items we recommend include:

  1. Affordura Towable Tube
  2. ZUP Kneeboard
  3. Airhead 2 Section Tow Rope
  4. O'Brien Celebrity Combo Adult Water Skis

In this article, I will share some top towables I've discovered during my search, highlighting their unique features and making it easier for you to decide which one suits your needs best. Prepare to elevate your boating experience to a whole new level and create unforgettable memories this summer!


Table of contents

Things To Pull Behind A Boat: Everything You Can Try Today

Boating is more than just riding the waves. It's a window to many water sports, fishing, and even a unique exploration method. Towing, essentially pulling something behind a boat, adds an extra dimension.

The right equipment and safety measures transform a peaceful boat ride into an adrenaline-fuelled adventure or a serene scenic tour, depending on your preference.

Whether you're new to the boating world or a seasoned sailor looking for more exciting ways to enjoy your time on the water, it's always fascinating to explore the numerous possibilities that come with a boat and the vast, captivating waterways.

Here’s what we believe are the best things to pull behind a boat.

Tow Ropes

When I go boating, I always bring tow ropes because they are essential for almost every water sport I can think of. They come in different lengths, materials, and strengths.

Choosing the right rope for a specific activity, such as water skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing, is essential. Some ropes even have special features like low-stretch or no-stretch properties for better performance.

You’ll need one of these for most activities, but the exact type varies. For example a tube rope will need a bit more strength to support the extra weight capacity compared to only towing two skis.

Water Skis

Water skiing is a classic water sport that I enjoy pulling behind a boat. I love the exhilaration of gliding across the water's surface on a pair of skis. There are different types of water ski options, like a combo ski, slalom ski, EZ ski, and even a trick ski for more advanced skiers.

Having the right ski for your skill level and the type of skiing you plan on doing. Slalom skiing or barefoot skiing is more common among experienced, but it’s not the best thing to try with multiple riders.

This is a fun but more advanced activity. Slalom skiing is done with one ski and two bindings. Typically, the heavy duty nylon binding straps are secure to ensure maximum balance. This is a fun but more advanced activity.


Wakeboarding is another thrilling water sport pulled behind a boat. I often choose wakeboarding to catch some air and perform tricks while riding the boat's wake.

Wakeboards come in various sizes and shapes, with distinct rocker profiles and fin configurations. As a beginner, I found that choosing the right wakeboard with beginner-friendly features was vital to my progression and enjoyment.


I often use tubes when I'm in the mood for a more leisurely ride or when I have friends or family who want to join the fun. They come in all shapes and sizes, from single-rider donut-shaped tubes to multi-person sofas or even towable tubes.

Tubing is a great group activity, and it doesn't require any specialized skills. Expect to get big air when the boat picks up speed. Always buy a tube with knuckle guards and grab handles for improved safety.


For those new to water sports or looking for a unique experience, I like to introduce kneeboarding. Kneeboarding is similar to wakeboarding and water skiing, but riders kneel on a specially designed board.

I find it easier to learn and less intimidating for beginners. Plus, the low center of gravity on the board allows me to perform tricks and spins more effortlessly. It takes time to gain confidence as a boater too.

Air Chair

Lastly, the Air Chair is a lesser-known but incredibly fun water sport I enjoy. In this activity, I sit on a lightweight hydrofoil board with a seat and foot straps. Expect to get some air time despite being in a seated position too.

The hydrofoil lifts me out of the water, allowing me to "fly" above the surface while being towed behind the boat. It's a unique and thrilling sensation that offers a whole new perspective on water sports.

4 Best Things To Pull Behind A Boat

The art of towing requires the right balance of speed, direction, and control of the boat, while ensuring the safety and enjoyment of the individuals or objects being towed. With that in mind, here are four fabulous things to bring out on the water today.

1. Affordura Towable Tube

Affordura Towable Tube
Affordura Towable Tube

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled ride or just want to relax, a towable tube is one of the best options for summer fun on the water.

Among them all, it’s hard to beat the Affordura Towable Tube. It promises an unforgettable experience that adults and kids will be talking about long after June, July, and August have gone.

This tube features adjustable rope lengths so you can choose whether your riders sit more tightly in the center or at the sides depending on how much thrill you're chasing. It’s big enough for three passengers.

Overall, this is a high-quality, comfortable, easy-to-set-up tube for boating fun. It has a maximum rider weight capacity of 510 pounds. There are two easy-access air bladders too. Overall, this is a high-quality, comfortable, easy-to-set-up tube for boating fun.

2. ZUP Kneeboard with Adjustable Padded Strap

ZUP Kneeboard with Adjustable Padded Strap
ZUP Kneeboard with Adjustable Padded Strap

If you're not quite ready to waterski or wakeboard, the ZUP Kneeboard with Adjustable Padded Strap is a must-have. With its innovative adjustable padded strap, every size person can get comfortable when carving through the water.

The cushioning of the pad gives you maximum support and security when taking on choppy seas and even big wave launches. It's constructed out of molded polypropylene material to keep it lightweight yet rigid.

It has an integrated tow hook, adjustable padded strap, and comfortable foam pad. The handles allow the rider complete control over the board too.

3. Airhead 2 Section Tow Rope

Airhead 2 Section Tow Rope
Airhead 2 Section Tow Rope

The Airhead 2-Section Tow Rope is an absolute must-have for anyone who loves to waterski, wakeboard, or tube. This tow rope features two sections, giving you the ability to adjust resistance and pull the rope as needed without having to switch out to a different length.

The 16-strand polypropylene rope ensures maximum safety during all your watersport activities on the water. In addition, its soft floats provide it won't get snagged in trees or bushes while cruising around your favorite lake or river.

It has a 2,375-pound break strength. It can also be purchased in multiple sizes, supporting 1-2 riders at a time.

4. O'Brien Celebrity Combo Adult Water Skis

O'Brien Celebrity Combo Adult Water Skis
O'Brien Celebrity Combo Adult Water Skis

If you are looking for a highly versatile option for skiing, the O'Brien Celebrity Combo Adult Water Skis will be a great fit. Easy to use and incredibly durable, these adult water skis offer a smooth ride and great control while on the water.

The two-piece design with dual slalom handles makes it easy to perform tricks in any type of boat wake or swell. The adjustable heel plate also helps maintain stability at various speeds so you can ski confidently no matter what conditions you come up against.

The performance side cut and padded rear toe plate are my favorite features. Expect better control and stability using these skis.

Boat Types and Setup For Towing

As a boat enthusiast, I'd like to share some insights on the different types of boats and their setups, mainly when used for pulling inflatable tubes or other water sports equipment. Let's dive into the different boat categories and how they can cater to your towing needs.

Bowrider Boats

Bowrider boats are popular for watersports due to their versatile and open design. They offer seating in the front (bow) and rear, making them ideal for a day out on the water with family and friends.

One thing that always strikes me when using a bowrider is how easy it is to navigate through tight spaces and perform towing activities precisely.

The rear tow eye or low pylon is great for attaching the tow rope, and a spotter can easily monitor riders while seated in the back of the boat.

Deck Boats

Another option for towing water sports equipment is deck boats. They are designed with more deck space, making them great for larger groups or those who need extra room for gear.

I usually appreciate that deck boats have a larger seating capacity compared to bowriders, so I can bring more friends along for a day of fun on the water. When setting up a deck boat for towing, it's essential to ensure the tow rope is securely fastened to a tow eye or pylon.

Remember that having a spotter is always a good idea to ensure the safety of the rider and effective communication between them and the driver.

Crossover Boats

Crossover boats are designed to combine the best features of multiple boat types, making them a versatile option for towing water sports equipment. From my experience, these boats typically excel in catering to various activities like skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing.

They often come equipped with features like a wakeboard tower, which provides a higher tow point for aerial tricks, and adjustable ballast systems to help create the perfect wake.

When setting up a crossover boat for towing, it's crucial to adjust these features according to the specific water sport. For instance, when pulling a tube, I'd recommend keeping the tow line closer to the transom and using a tow eye or low pylon instead of the tower.

This will help ensure the rider's safety and maintain better control while on the water.

Water Sports Safety Tips

Safety should always be a priority, and by following these guidelines, you can ensure a fun and enjoyable experience on the water. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Life Jackets

In my experience, wearing a life jacket is essential to water sports safety. No matter what activity you're participating in, having a properly fitting life jacket is crucial.

State laws also require it. Every person on the boat must have a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

This not only keeps you afloat, but it can also protect you from impacts. When selecting a life jacket, I always consider the following:

  • Ensure it's appropriate for the water sport activity
  • Choose the right size for the wearer
  • Adjust it for a snug and secure fit
  • Check that it meets the U.S. Coast Guard safety standards

Spotter Requirement

Another indispensable aspect of water sports safety is having a designated spotter on the boat. I've found that their primary responsibility is to monitor the person being towed and communicate any issues to the driver. It's essential that they:

  • Remain vigilant and focused on the person being towed
  • Inform the driver of any falls, hand signals, or obstacles in the water
  • Maintain constant communication with the driver to ensure everyone's safety

Hand Signals

I've learned that effective communication between the person being towed and those on the boat is crucial. Hand signals are a common method for conveying messages in water sports, and they help prevent misunderstandings and accidents.

Some standard hand signals I often use include:

  • Thumbs up: Speed up the boat
  • Thumbs down: Slow down the boat
  • Hand slashing across the neck: Stop the boat
  • Patting the head: Return to the dock or shore
  • Fist in the air: I'm okay after a fall

By following these water sports safety tips, including wearing life jackets, having a spotter, and using hand signals, you can enjoy your time on the water while minimizing risks.

Keep in mind that the specific safety requirements may vary depending on your location and the water sport activity. It's always essential to familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations to ensure a fun and safe experience.

Everything You Can Pull Behind A Boat
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

Read more articles

by this author

Home /

Everything You Can Pull Behind A Boat

Everything You Can Pull Behind A Boat
7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat >>Can You Live On A Sailboat Year Round? >>

Most Recent

Important Legal Info

Similar Posts

Popular Posts

Get The Best Sailing Content

Welcome aboard! Check your email...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

(866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing
Email: contact@lifeofsailing.com
Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244
DisclaimerPrivacy Policy