Tubing & Watercraft Safety

The greatest safety risk posed to those tubing on water is the threat of drowning. Personal flotation devices such as lifejackets are a must in almost all situations. This is especially true while tubing behind a watercraft as riders who are ejected from their tube may become disoriented or knocked unconscious. Those who are not competent swimmers should never enter deep water without a flotation device.

Tubing behind or near watercraft carries additional safety risks as well. The operator of a watercraft that is towing tube riders must monitor the riders at all times to ensure their safety. This may include devising hand signals between rider and driver to communicate desired speeds and other information over the noise of the watercraft's engine. This is often facilitated by use of a spotter, a third person who watches the tube at all times and communicates hand signals to the driver.

Operators of watercraft considering towing kite tube riders should be aware of the safety risks assocaited with tube kiting.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC for short, has already issued a warning concerning the dangers of kite tubes and tube kiting. The warning followed reports of two deaths from tube kiting in only three months and several reports of serious kite tube injuries.

The operator of the watercraft must also ensure he or she does not collide with the riders being towed. This is especially important while retrieving riders who have been ejected from their tubes. Riders are encouraged to wear bright colors and should never submerge themselves below water. This ensures that they can be seen by all water traffic in the area. Watercraft with outboard motors have the additional danger of a spinning propeller that is a potential for injury. This should be turned off whenever riders are entering or leaving the water. Riders idling near the rear of a running watercraft also run the risk of succumbing to the engine's fumes.

Tubing on water should never be done at night or during conditions of low visibility.