You can double the fun of a boating trip by including water tubing, but only when you follow the right safety steps! Before you climb aboard an inflatable vessel, make sure you’re prepared – make sure everyone and everything is in top shape for a fun day on the lake or at the beach!
Inspecting Your Equipment
- If towed by a boat, make sure the captain is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Check ropes and lines for fraying or damage. Only use ropes designated for towing.
- Inspect the tube for any rips, punctures, or thin areas.
- Ensure the tube is inflated to the proper standards as indicated by the manufacturer.
- Check your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for rips, frayed straps, and loose closures.
- Make sure all equipment is the proper size for the rider.
Prepare For Your Tubing Excursion
- Wear all recommended safety gear such as a PFD and goggles.
- Put on secured clothing like close-fit bathing suits or wetsuits to avoid snagging loose clothing during the ride.
- Make sure riders are comfortable with the speed at which the captain will be driving – younger children may need to be towed at lower speeds.
- Designate hand signals for riders to use to notify the captain that they need to stop or slow down during the ride.
- Agree on the ride course and avoid swimming areas or areas with obstacles like rocks or buoys that may pose collision hazards.
Questions to Ask Before You Begin Tubing
- Are there more than the maximum number of riders on the tube? If so, take turns rather than overloading the inflatable.
- Are any participants under the influence of drugs or alcohol? No one involved in the tubing ride should be intoxicated while driving or riding.
- Are the riders comfortable with the speed the boat will be going? Inexperienced riders may need to take things slow until they are comfortable.
- Did you check the weather? If storms or choppy waters are expected, your ride may need to be postponed.
- Do you have an emergency plan? Have spotters out to watch for passengers who fall off and someone on shore ready with a first aid kit and a phone to call for help if an injury occurs.