We understand how incredible it is to be out on the water for a beautiful day of exciting watersports or just relaxing in the sun. While having a blast on the water is your focus, safety should always come first. For the convenience of our customers and all members of the boating community, we have provided some important safety tips listed below. We would like to encourage all boaters and drivers to adhere to the rules and guidelines to ensure that your family and friends enjoy an exciting, but safe time while on the water!
General Safety Tips
Be aware of all safety recommendations or requirements and always read warning indicators on the tube. This includes age, weight and speed limits. Drivers must ensure that all tubers position themselves and hold on correctly. It’s important to do this so that all tubers have a safe and exciting ride.
Ensure that the rope being used is made specifically for towing inflatable ski tubes. Make sure that the rope is in good condition. Each time swimmers enter or exit the boat from the ladder or swim platform, the engine should always be turned off.
A United States Coast Guard Approved Life Vest should always be provided for ALL tubers riding behind the boat. This life vest should be snug fitting. All children under the age of six should wear a life jacket at all times.
Always make sure your vessel is equipped with necessary safety equipment. This includes paddles, marine first aid kit, jackets, fire extinguisher and a working VHF radio.
All rules and regulations governing the body of water where tubing is taking plae should be followed. The driver must make sure he/she is fully aware of these rules and regulations. It is also important to keep a safe distance from the shore whether you or towing a tube or not. At all times the driver should be aware of any and all reefs, sandbars or other obstacles that are in relation to their boat and/or tube. You should say at least 50 yards away from potential hazards as well as any other boats in the water.
Maneuvering the Tube
For basic maneuvering you should steer the boat gently in a zigzag pattern, side to side, so that a natural force created by the turn will whip the tube back and forth across the wakes. As you turn the boat right, it will force the tube to the left and vice versa. Always take extra caution when completing full turns. When doing so, the force of the whip can double or even triple the speed of the tube compared to the speed of the boat.
Always be aware of your surroundings and more specifically of oncoming boat traffic. You should never begin a zigzag pattern if there is another boat approaching yours. Keep in mind that the oncoming boat driver may mistake you for an out-of-control driver and not even realize you are towing a tube. Make sure to allow the boat to safely pass you before you begin your pattern and start turning side-to-side.
Operating at a Safe Speed
If an injury occurs the driver is ultimately responsible, so always watch your speed and be aware of your surroundings. There are many variables that determine a safe towing speed. These variables will include regulations for the specific body of water. They will also include overall water conditions and the size, weight, age and physical ability of the riders. Most tubes are not designed to be used by children under six years of age; therefore, be extra cautious and maintain a slower speed while towing a child.
Please note these general guidelines:
When towing tubers 12 years of age and younger keep your speed under 15 mph, for teenagers 13-16 years under 20 mph, and for older teens and adults under 25 mph.
Always slow your speed when driving in choppy conditions or over boat wakes. This is especially necessary if your tuber is lying stomach down on the tube. Injuries can be caused by abrupt and excessive bouncing.
You should always have a designated “spotter” onboard. This “spotter” should always alert the driver if a rider falls off the tube. The spotter should also be aware of the swimmers location in the water at all times. When and if a tuber falls, the spotter should hold up a safety flag letting other boaters know that a tuber / rider is down in the water.
Your spotter should also alert the driver if there is any slack in the tube line. Drivers should slow down immediately if there is ever lack in the line. Reducing your speed significantly will avoid possible injuries to the tuber.
Before the driver restarts the boat’s engine and throttling up, always make sure with the spotter that the rope is clear and that the riders are ready.
The driver should also check to see that the towrope isn’t around anyone’s hands, arms, legs or head, etc. before towing any tubers.
Always take special care to prevent the towrope from becoming entangled with the boat’s propeller. If this does occur, turn off the engine immediately and take the key out of the ignition before trying to remove the rope. It is a good idea to always keep a toolbox on board, which includes a knife to cut lines and ropes. This is necessary if the ropes become entangled in the propeller.
***The above is just a brief review of important safety and operation tips for boaters. Happy boating and enjoy the fun and exciting world of tubing. Always have fun and ALWAYS remember to be SAFE while on the water!