How To Mount Oars To Your Float Tube

Have a river close by? Float tubes were designed for still-water, as propulsion comes from raw fin power. Going upstream or against the current with fin power alone would be a grueling task for even the most athletic of anglers. I have a river less than a minute away, with the lake 20 minutes away. I figured I could fit in more fishing trips and get to fishing holes unreachable from the bank if I could adequately navigate the river with my tube. Oars were the answer. I had seen some anglers mount oars to their float tubes in Asia and I was determined to try.

Here’s what worked for me:

Step #1 – Buy Oar Locks

It was difficult finding the right mount via Google, the keyword that brought up the correct results was ‘oar locks for inflatable boats. These can range anywhere from $20-$25 (for a set). Here’s one online retailer that has them.

float tube oar locks

Step #2 Buy adhesive/glue

Make sure you buy the type that works will with your float tube material. I got the glue below from Home Depot and it did the trick:


Step #3 – Deflate Float Tube

I deflated my float tube so I could glue the mounts while on a flat surface. This seemed to work well to glue all parts of the mount, as well as the edges. After i glued the mounts, I put textbooks on top to weigh them down against the tube material and let them sit overnight.

And the end result?


float tube with oar mounts

I was happy with how it turned out and the mounts have been stable as I’ve tested them the water. Another benefit is that the oars allow you to propel forwards, instead of backwards only from fins. Because most float tubes don’t have foot rests, you’ll have drag from your legs and fins in the water, so don’t expect to go very fast. You may also notice that you’ll slide slightly forward when you row because of the lack of leverage from a footrest. Overall, I’m very happy with the end result and the possibilities that are opened up from having a ‘pontube’.