1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics of tubing behind a boat.

  1. Jun 19, 2011 #1
    Physics of "tubing" behind a boat.

    I have noticed that when an inflatable tube (usually with a passenger on top) is being pulled fast behind a speedboat, and the boat turns (in a sustained sharp turn), it seems as if the tube and rider achieve speeds that are faster than that of the boat itself.

    Does the "tuber" actually reach speeds faster than the boat? If so, how? Can someone explain the physics of this to me? I think Im having trouble picturing the forces and their directions.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Re: Physics of "tubing" behind a boat.

    Unless the tuber or skier follows the exact same path and radius of a boat in a turn, the speed will be different, slower if the tube path's radius is smaller, faster if the tube path's radius is larger. In the case of the faster speed, the tube may end up geting a "sling shot" effect causing it to gain on the boat. In the case of water skiers and water ski jumpers, while being towed by a boat going in a straight line, they can increase speed by weaving side to side, gaining enough momentum to pass the boat.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook