The next time you or your family decide to go out boat tubing, keep these boating safety and water sports tubing tips in mind to make sure your experience is safe and enjoyable:
- Always wear a PFD
While it’s always a good idea to wear a PFD (personal flotation device) when onboard, it should go without saying that you should wear a life jacket when water tubing. This is especially important in the event that the rider should become separated from the boat.
- Know your equipment
Be familiar with the capabilities of your water sports tubing equipment. It’s important to follow to the manufacturer’s recommendations for water tubing capacity in terms of size and weight, number of riders, age limits, and maximum towing speed.
- Know your rider
It’s also important to use common sense when it comes to the capability of your rider, especially when water sports tubing with small children. While sharp turns, high speeds, and big waves can be fun, these should never come at the expense of rider safety.
- Use a spotter
Designate one person onboard as a “spotter”, who can keep a lookout for water tubing accidents or see if anyone has fallen off the tube, while the boat driver concentrates on oncoming obstacles.
- Be aware of water regulations
Make sure you are familiar with the specific regulations governing the body of water you’re boat tubing on, in particular towing speeds.
- Drive Responsibly
While enjoying a day of water tubing, the driver should be alert, sober, and have a solid grasp of boating rules and regulations. Be respectful of and keep your distance from other boats in the area when water tubing, and always keep an eye out for additional water hazards such as rocks, docks, and buoys.
- Use a secure tow line
Another important safety aspect of water tubing, it’s important when water tubing to always make sure that the tow line is securely tied before take off. Also be sure to check for signs of wear, tear, and fraying, and replace as needed. Be sure to only use rope that is specifically designated for towing inflatables.
- Check before you start
Never start the boat without first making sure that your rider is ready to go. This means that they have a firm grip on the line, are properly positioned on the tube, and that the line is properly and safely positioned. When water tubing with multiple passengers, riders should understand how to balance their weight correctly and work together to safely stay on the tube.
- Handle wakes with care
Slow the boat speed when crossing wakes. Bouncing off wakes at extremely high speeds has been known to cause back injury, especially with riders who are water tubing stomach-down.
- Exercise caution when pulling more than one tube
It’s especially important to travel at slower speeds and keep an extra careful eye out if you are boat tubing with more than one tube. Dual water sports tubing can often result in large crashes and serious accidents, should the tubes happen to collide.