There are few things more fun to do with a boat than dragging your kids around the lake while they sit on an inflated inner tube or other soft and bouncy platform. If you doubt that’s true, just ask any kid aged about four to fourteen!
What else matches the feeling of the wind and sun in the hair as you skim across the sun-dappled water, the thrill of launching the tube off a wake or wave, and, yes, even the great fun of falling off, arms and legs akimbo, getting a noseful, popping back up and asking “can we do that again?”
Like all things that are great fun, a little thought about safety first is always a good idea and highly recommended. So before gathering up the clan and heading out onto the water for an hour or two of screaming enjoyment, here is a list of safety tips that will make sure everyone comes home happy and safe.
- Personal floatation devices. It should go without saying that everyone on board a boat should have an approved PFD. This is especially true when it comes to climbing on an inner tube or tube-like device. Falling off is not only likely, it is part of the fun. So everyone–especially kids under ten–should be zipped into a good PFD.
- Don’t overload. All the kids will want “dibs” on the first ride. But your tube device will come with the manufacturer’s suggested weight limits. Don’t overload for safety’s sake.
- Check the tow line. First, make sure the line is securely fastened to the boat before setting off. And take a few minutes to inspect the rope to make sure it isn’t frayed or showing signs of wear and tear.
- Know your riders. Teenagers can hang on better than toddlers. Know who you’re towing and adjust speed and route accordingly.
- Use a spotter. Someone drives the boat. Someone else needs to keep a constant eye on the riders. If one of the kids falls off the tube, the driver needs to know instantly.
- Slow starts. Make sure your riders are securely on board, have a good hand-hold, and are ready to go before starting up the boat. And start slowly and gradually increase speed as your riders get used to the movement and sensation of riding.
- Wake Up. Yes, blasting over wakes on a tube can be exhilarating. It can also be dangerous and might cause injury if your rider is unprepared or in the wrong position. So exercise care when approaching wakes and waves.
- Drive responsibly. Operating a boat at speed with passengers being dragged behind calls for a different level of awareness for the captain at the helm. Watching for boats crossing either forward or aft, looking out for rogue waves or things floating or submerged, and keeping well clear of rocks, shoals, sandbars and shallow places are all imperative when tubing.
There’s no doubt…tubing is a blast! Just make sure you do it safely and responsibly.
And stop in to see us at Colorado Boat Center…we’ve got a great selection of tubes, skis, boards as well as ropes and other gear you can use to create wonderful memories this season on the water.