What to Know Before You Go Tubing in Florida
As the weather continues to warm in South Florida, more people take to the water for fun sports and recreational activities. In addition to boating, paddleboarding, and jet skiing, outdoor enthusiasts also go tubing down the state’s crystal-clear waters. As with any water sport, river tubing comes with risks.
Here are 5 common dangers of river tubing to avoid:
- Tubing Alone
River tubing is a fun, exciting activity that should be enjoyed with others. As with diving, you should never go tubing alone. It is important that you have a friend with you in case things go wrong. You’ll also want to let others know where you will be and give them an approximate return time.
In an emergency situation, the sooner that rescuers can get to you the higher your chances of survival. If rescuers know where to look then they can narrow their search time. Making a plan and sharing it with another person may help to save your life.
- Not Wearing a Life Jacket
One of the reasons that river tubing is so popular is that it is affordable. Almost anyone can rent or buy a tube. Since there are no qualifications to get started, inexperienced tubers can find themselves in trouble. Too often, individuals assume that tubing is a safe activity that doesn’t require any skill.
An unexpected rapid or quick turn can flip a tuber into the water. If that person is not a proficient swimmer, they could be at risk of drowning in a number of minutes. Even sufficient swimmers should wear a life jacket to reduce the risk of harm if they are dislodged or separated from their tube.
- Going to an Unfamiliar Location
River tubers should always be familiar with their location. They should know where they will enter the water and where they will exit. Many popular tubing rivers have designated entry and exit points that make it easy for tubers to safely come and go. Rental companies will also have maps that will give you a good idea of where you will be.
While an unfamiliar location may seem adventurous it can also get tubers into a lot of trouble. Knowing the river and any potential hazards (such as dams and dropoffs) can help prevent a disaster.
- Underestimating the River
You should always know the classification of the river you will be traveling. Check the river’s water level to determine if it is too high or too low for safe travel. You can also check the river’s flow rate. Do not underestimate the power of the river and never take inexperienced tubers down a river that exceeds their ability level.
- Not Dressing for the Occasion
Most tubers are clad only in a swimsuit, but to stay free from harm it is a good idea to wear additional layers. Water shoes with tread can help keep you from slipping if the water becomes too shallow for you to tube. Additionally, a hat and rash guard can protect your skin from sun damage.