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Thread: Towing an Inflatable?

  1. #1

    Default Towing an Inflatable?

    If I got to spend at least multi hundreds of dollars to have a decent aluminum rack to carry an inflatable instead of putting wear and tear on the soft top (see separate thread on that question....) Then I might as well spend a few hundred more and have a partial hard top made and avoid the future replacement cost of the soft top roof and stick a few rod holders on it to boot....... Since I don't want to spend that kind of dough right now..........

    The only option left seems to be to tow the inflatable behind the power boat? Anybody have experience doing this? How does it work in the rain or rough? Perhaps an inflatable with self bailing floor would be critical so it does not get weighed down? Where do you want it relative to the rooster tail from the main (jet) boat?

    I assume you would need an inflatable with an upturned bow like a Zodiak for the thing to track properly. The reason for the inflatable is for anchoring up overnight, and in case the aluminum pig gets swamped and sinks.....

    Seems like it would be easier to grab and cut one rope (could even have a caribiner in line near the transom to clip the inflatble lead onto someone before they get outl. This seems easier in an emergency than to trying to get one off the roof of a sinking boat anyway?

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    We pulled a 8' Zodiac on a bear trip last spring. There was a learning curve to be sure. We learned that the boat pulled best a long way back. I think we had 70-100' of line out by the time it was done. If it was too close to the boat it would jump the wake occasionally and get really squirrely. We were pulling just the empty boat without a motor. If the boat was a bit bigger (aka heavier) it might track better as well. Once we got the length worked out, we made it to cruising speed (~25 kts) without much problem. The water wasn't very choppy either. I'm not sure how it would do in 3-4' + seas.

    A word of warning though, if you have ANY patches on the bottom of the inflatable, don't expect them to survive! Our little dinghy had several patches that were 1/2 way pulled off and water got inside the tubes.
    AKmud
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  3. #3

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    When we towed an inflatable, it seemed to do better when we pulled the outboard out of the water. With it in the water, it seemed to zig zag all over.

    The best thing is to just pull the motor off, empty your inflatable, and go like hell. Just don't flip it over while towing. You need at least 150' of rope.

  4. #4

    Default Very easily done.

    I touched on this in an earlier thread so you may look it up. I'll try to recap.

    Your tow line should be long enough so that your inflatable is climbing your stern wake and not cresting it. Make a bridle for the stern of your inflatable. (note- you'll tow from it's bow.) The bridle on the stern is to drag in the water behing the inflatable. This acts like a drag and will keep the inflatable straight at all times. I like to use 5/8 line. Tie one end to your inflatables starboard side and loop it back (about 5 to 6 feet) and tie other end to port side. For added drag I like to tie a four foot line with a big knot on one end for drag and tie the other to a snap or metal ring and put on the stern loop you just made. The complete drag should look like a half moon with a straightline out the back.

    With this setup you can tow through most anything.

    I hope I explained it good enough. If not, let me know.

  5. #5
    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltsryd View Post
    I touched on this in an earlier thread so you may look it up. I'll try to recap.

    Your tow line should be long enough so that your inflatable is climbing your stern wake and not cresting it. Make a bridle for the stern of your inflatable. (note- you'll tow from it's bow.) The bridle on the stern is to drag in the water behing the inflatable. This acts like a drag and will keep the inflatable straight at all times. I like to use 5/8 line. Tie one end to your inflatables starboard side and loop it back (about 5 to 6 feet) and tie other end to port side. For added drag I like to tie a four foot line with a big knot on one end for drag and tie the other to a snap or metal ring and put on the stern loop you just made. The complete drag should look like a half moon with a straightline out the back.

    With this setup you can tow through most anything.

    I hope I explained it good enough. If not, let me know.
    I like this idea. Will do it this spring bear hunting. Last year I couldn't tow my 8 foot inflatable because it would get so squirrelly that it would end up swamping even 100' back.
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  6. #6

    Thumbs up

    Hey, I like that idea! Sometimes I switch coves or move around over a weekend and not having to "rack" the dinghy would be nice sometimes. Thanks for the info, I shall try it.

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