There’s more to towing a tube than raw horsepower. You need to think about laws, regulations, and the rope itself. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about towing a tube or wakeboard with a Sea-Doo Spark.
Can a Sea-Doo Spark tow a tube?
A Sea-Doo Spark 3 UP jet ski can tow a tube, be legal, and do a great job at it. As the Spark only has 90 horsepower, it may be best to only tow kids as with the driver, spotter, and the drag from the tube, it may not provide the fastest ride. Towing with a Spark 2 UP is not recommended.
However, it’s not as straightforward as you might hope. There’s more to consider when you’re deciding to tow anything with your Sea-Doo Spark.
What You Should Know About Towing with a Sea-Doo Spark
One of the first things you should know is that there have been reports of the hull cracking when towing. While it does have the horsepower to tow someone on a tube, it was not made for this use.
Replacing or repairing a broken hull will set you back a couple of thousand dollars. So, is it worth the risk? That’s up to you.
Another factor to consider is the legality of towing someone on your Sea-Doo Spark. It will vary wildly from region to region, so you’ll have to investigate the laws in your area. Some regions will flat out say you can’t tow someone with any jet ski, while others will say you can if you have a spotter on a 3 person ski.
Most laws will say that you will need a seat for everyone involved. That means you’ll need a Seadoo Spark 3up in order to fit everyone, including the spotter. Other laws allow you to pull someone as long as you have rearview mirrors.
Even with all of the above issues aside, it can be dangerous for everyone involved if not done properly. A universal problem with towing someone from a jet ski is the potential for the rope to be caught up in the engine, and the drier needs to understand that he/she can whip around the tuber which can be very dangerous.
You see, some jet skis have more power than a compact car. They are constantly sucking up water and anything else near it. Some owners say it’s not a matter of if you’ll suck up the rope, but when. Fortunately, you can lower the odds of this happening by purchasing a shock tube. This is a little tube that helps keep the tow rope away from the jet ski.
I have sucked up a rope before and trust me, you don’t want to do it. It will leave you stranded on the water, and to get it out you will have to remove your ride plate, intake grate, and cut the rope out. All of this has to be done out of the water, so expect to pay for a tow as well.
Absolutely avoid reversing when you have a tow rope attached. That’s a sure-fire way to suck up your tow rope.
It Might Be a Lackluster Experience
Let’s say you are okay with the risk of hull damage, you buy the shock tube, and you make sure you’re complying with all the laws in your area. You set out to tow someone in a tube on your Sea-Doo Spark. You might be surprised to discover that it’s generally going to be a lackluster experience.
You see, most jet skis, including the Spark, are made to carry all their weight within on the jet ski itself. Once you start towing weight behind it, it starts to struggle. You should absolutely not have any big expectations of it being on par with a full-on motorboat unless you are on a more powerful larger jet ski.
So, yes, it can do the job. However, the person being towed is not going to have the same experience as if they were being towed by a boat. The weight of two passengers, the drag from the tube with a passenger, and the smaller 90 hp engine just won’t provide a white knuckle fun experience.
If you are going to tow kids, then it can do a great job and provide for an exciting day of tubing.
If you are buying something to tow someone on a tube, you’d be better off buying a boat or one of the larger jet skis on the cheaper end of the spectrum instead of buying a jet ski. Jet skis are meant for sporty play on the waves, not towing someone on a tube.
All that being said, if you find all the risks acceptable, comply with local laws, and make sure everyone stays safe – you can certainly tow a tube from a mechanic perspective.
How Do You Know If You’re in A Good Area for Jet Ski Tubing?
If you’re still reading, chances are you’re still interested in towing with your Seadoo Spark. Another factor to consider is the body of water itself.
In theory, tubing can be done in the ocean, rivers, and lakes. The question is more about your particular body of water.
You’ll need to make sure that the space is big enough to maneuver around while towing someone. Just because you can ride a jet ski there doesn’t mean it’s a good place to tow someone.
The second thing to look for is hazards. There are many types of potential hazards that can seriously harm the person in the tube, or even everyone involved. Sand bars, trees, buoys, other boats, the shore itself, rocks, docks, and logs are all common types of hazards that you’ll need to be on the lookout for.
A good general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t tow anywhere that you’re not familiar with, as there could be unexpected hazards that you can see with a scan from the shore. It’s always a good idea to take a few solo rides in a new area to get a good understanding of the area before you start towing anyone.
Lastly, make sure your spotter knows what to do when someone falls off the tube. They should have an orange flag that they raise and keep in the air until the person is safe. This signals to other boats that there is someone in the water.
What About the Rope?
You need a strong, durable rope that won’t break under pressure. Another characteristic to look out for is a brightly colored rope. This type of rope will be seen easily by other boats and could prevent a seriously dangerous intersection.
Another thing to consider is if the rope floats. Most ropes are not buoyant by themselves, however, there are floating devices that you can attach to the rope to keep it above water. This will aid in keeping the rope from getting sucked up as well.
Keep in mind that there are specially made ropes intended for towing behind a water vehicle. You’d be wise to purchase one of these instead of a standard rope.
Keep Your Wits About You
Now you know all the risks and issues associated with towing a tube behind a Sea-Doo Spark. While it has the power to tow the tube, there are many other things to consider. Keep your wits about you if you decide to tow someone, otherwise, it’s better to not do it at all.