Pulling tubers may seem easy, but there are safety considerations unique to tubing. Unlike wakeboarding and skiing, a tuber has no control of the tube which makes the boat driver completely responsible for their safety.
-Know the capabilities and limitations of the tube. Before towing an inflatable, read the warning indicators on the tube. Follow the manufacturer’s limits and specifications regarding the number of riders, maximum size/weight, and top towing speed.
-Know the capabilities of the riders. Tube riders have differing levels of coordination, physical strength, and swimming ability, so speed and driving adjustments should be made accordingly.
-Tube riders should be taught how to position themselves and hold on correctly for a safe ride. They should be aware of the rules and conditions on the particular body of water on which
they are tubing.
- Boat drivers must be informed and alert. A solid understanding of safe boating rules and regulations is necessary when pulling tubers. The driver should keep a constant lookout for oncoming boats, traffic congestion, and fixed obstacles or floating debris that could present a hazard.
-Drivers must avoid the temptation to increase the speed of the boat when riders ask to go faster than is advisable.
- Each boat should have a designated “spotter” onboard to alert the driver if anyone falls off the tube and to keep track of that person’s location.
-ALWAYS wear a life vest when tubing.
- Tow ropes should be no longer than 50 feet. Longer tow ropes increase the speed of an
inflatable in a turn, thus increasing the possibility of injury to riders. The driver has much more control over the path of the inflatable with the shorter tow rope and risk of injury
is drastically reduced.
-All boats and the tube need to maintain a minimum distance of 50 feet from other vessels,
the shoreline, or any fixed structures at all times, except when operating at no wake speed.
- Speed is the most important factor in controlling inflatables. Most manufacturers recommend a speed of 15mph, but not over 20 mph. A safe towing speed will depend upon several variables including the age, size, weight and physical ability of the riders and the overall water conditions. When towing young children, (most tubes are not designed for use by children under six years of age), maintain a slower speed. As a general guideline, keep your speed under 10 mph when towing those 12 years of age and younger; under 20 mph for younger teenagers (13 to 16); and under 25 mph for older teens and adults.
Keep the nose of the tube up until the tube is on plane.
- Speed should be reduced when driving over boat wakes to avoid back injury to the rider, especially if the rider is lying in a stomach-down position on the tube. While riding in a
sitting position their knees may bounce into their heads at faster speeds.
- Drop the speed to idle when turning. Do not give the boat throttle as this will sling the inflatable further out and increase the risk of injury.
- Driving in a zigzag pattern should only be done in wide areas of the lake with no approaching boat traffic.
-When pulling multiple riders, take extra caution.
Multiple riders on a single tube require a few extra safety precautions. Making sure that the weight in the tube is distributed and balanced properly becomes even more important when it comes to safety and performance. Multiple riders in a tube also means additional arms, legs, and hands, making it more challenging to ensure that tubers are not entangled with the tow rope. Riders in multi-person tubes should remember to communicate with each other at all times out on the water. Working together to reposition and shift weight while underway is especially important when making turns or crossing over wakes. Never load a tube with more riders than intended.
-Don't overlook the important connection between the tube and your boat tow rope. Before getting out on the water, check the tow rope carefully (as well as the connectors and tow tongues on the tube) for wear, cuts or fraying. Replace the rope if damaged. Also make sure the rope you are using is made specifically for towing inflatable tow tubes. Before you start towing any tubers, check to see that the tow rope isn't wrapped around anyone's hands, arms, legs, or any other body parts. Care should also be taken to prevent the tow rope from becoming entangled in the boat propeller. In the event this does occur, turn off the engine immediately and take the key out of the ignition before trying to remove the rope from the prop.
-Use Common Sense. Tubing can be fun and exciting for kids and adults alike, but safety should always be the primary concern. Don't attempt to do any tricks or stunts out there that require dangerous activity or improper use of your tube. Also, never operate or use a tube while under the influence of alcohol. You'll need to be able to act quickly and decisively if anything unexpected occurs. Follow the rules, use common sense, and you'll have a great tubing experience without any mishaps or injuries.