Essential safety equipment for tubes and towables
started as a fun day on the water with your favorite tube or towable
could turn into disaster if you don't follow proper safety guidelines
and use the proper equipment.
A properly inflated tube, properly
attached harness and/or rope (with float to keep out of the way of the
boat's propeller), skier down flag, safety helmet and other
considerations are essential to insure you have a fun day with no
A boat in great condition, tubes or towables in great condition and
riders who have received the proper instruction all should be in place
before setting out for a day of fun.The Role of the Spotter:
All on-board should enjoy the experience of towing others, after all it can be pure entertainment to watch the jumps and tricks many perform on these towables and tubes. At the same time, it is important to designate a spotter to keep track of what is going on behind the boat. Should a rider go down or another boat approach your area they can make the driver aware of the situation immediately and also warn approaching boats with a skier down flag. The driver should not be the spotter as they need to focus on the water and their driving.
Basic Safety Equipment for Watersports Safety:
In previous sections we have talked about proper inflation and the equipment needed to inflate watersports tubes and towables. We have also reviewed the proper tow ropes and harnesses. Here are some additional types of safety equipment you should consider:
are as necessary in watersports as they are for bikers.
Skier Down Flags:
- For tubing, water skiing, and wakeboarding safety
- One size fits most
- Aerodynamic drain/cooling vents
- Impact resistant outer shell
- Adjustable impact absorbing inner shell
- Adjustable chin strap
Most of these are simple bright orange flags in a variety of configurations, but are essential communication with other vessels that someone participating in watersports is down in the water. Don't leave shore without one.WATERSPORTS SAFETY CODE:(courtesy of Sportsstuff/Kwik-Tek)
Watersports are fun and challenging but involve inherent risks of injury or death. To increase your enjoyment of the sport and to reduce your risks, use common sense and follow these rules:Before you start:
THE WARNINGS AND PRACTICES SET FORTH ABOVE IN THE WATERSPORTS SAFETY CODE REPRESENT SOME COMMON RISKS ENCOUNTERED BY USERS. THE CODE DOES NOT PURPORT TO COVER ALL INSTANCES OF RISK OR DANGER. PLEASE USE COMMON SENSE AND GOOD JUDGMENT.We, at First Choice Marine, have added a few additional thoughts on safety while using tubes and towables:
- Familiarize yourself with all applicable federal, state and local laws, the risks inherent in the sport and the proper use of the equipment.
- Know the waterways.
- Always have a person other than the driver as an observer.
- Skier/rider, observer and driver must agree on hand signals.
- Never start out until skier/rider signals he/she is ready.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning from engine exhaust may cause injury or death. Do not sit on the boat transom or swim platform while the engine is running. These activities may lead to excessive CO exposure which may cause injury or death. If you can smell engine exhaust while in the boat, do not stay seated in that position for prolonged periods. Never “Platform Drag” by holding onto the swim platform or be dragged directly behind the boat. An improperly tuned engine will produce excessive exhaust. Have your engine checked and corrected by a mechanic. Changing boat speed or direction relative to the wind can reduce or increase boat exhaust from accumulating near the boat and rider. Consult your boat Owners Manual, or the United States Coast Guard’s website: www.uscgboating.org for more information on how to help protect others and yourself from the dangers of CO poisoning
- Use caution and common sense.
- Do not exceed the weight guidelines of your boat. Only use water ballast and people for additional weight. Do not allow passengers to hang outside the boat or sit on the gunwales outside the normal seating area of the boat. Uneven weight distribution or additional weight may affect the handling of the boat. Never allow water to overflow the gunwales of your boat.
- Select a safe area to tow your passengers with plenty of free water on either side of your boat, free from hazardous underwater objects
- Discuss routes you plan to travel and speeds comfortable for your passengers being towed.
- Discuss safety with your passengers
- Review hand signals to be used and skier down flag use for communication
- Require all passengers and tube riders to wear life jackets
- Never allow riders to place limbs between tube and tube cover or attach themselves in any way to the tube which could result in possible drowning if the tube flipped over in the water at any time
- Always move at idol speed until the rope becomes tight and then pick up speed. Safe speeds should range between 20 and 25 mph
- Always make sure there is more than enough distance from your riders and solid objects such as docks and other boats. Most accidents occur from hitting objects
- For ambitions riders that want to try their hand at jumps, twists and turns the criver can perform gentle "S" turns. Taking on these types of moves requires safety on the part of the rider and the driver
- Enjoy the sport, but respect the fact people do get tired and need to rest. Especially during excess heat, riders and drivers alike can tire. Take breaks, get something cool to drink and then start again. Keep alert
- When slowing down, make sure the tube slows down at the same rate so it does not catch up with the boat
- When stopping the boat, turn off the engine and remove the key when bringing riders onboard
- When the day is done, pull in your riders, stow your tube and rofes safely so they do not obscure the driver's view
- Above all, observe all local boating laws