10 Tips For Tubing Fun Safety

On a blazing hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than kicking up some fun on the water! And for boaters on the Emerald Coast, making a big splash often translates into awesome family water sports activity!

If the idea of tubing appeals, your friends at Emerald Coast Marine Center have assembled some tricks and tips from several marine industry sources to make your R & R time on the water is both safe and enjoyable!


  • Know the Law! Before you set out for a watersports adventure, be sure you are aware of all regulations pertaining to the waterway you plan to enjoy, to ensure tubing is allowed in that area. In addition, pay special attention to posted speed limits.  


  • Flotation First! Anyone involved in water sports activities should always wear a PFD (personal flotation device). Make it a rule and practice. Be sure to have the right size and style of PFD for your rider, and ensure it fits properly.
  • Driver Beware! Make sure the designated boat driver knows all the local rules and regulations for the local waterways. Drivers should also practice all protocols for tubing and know how to safely return to and retrieve a downed tuber. Drivers should also be familiar with the area waterways and be aware of any local water hazards, like docks, buoys or any known submerged objects. It’s a good idea to consult with locals and to cruise the area first before engaging in any water sports activity.
  • Rider Safety!  Safety for the rider must always be paramount. No matter the age or skill level or your rider, take extra precaution to operate using safe boating practices. Be especially mindful of ‘tubing newbies’ and give them sufficient time to test the waters and get comfortable. Communicate in advance to make sure your rider is well prepared, secure and ready before throttling forward. Once underway, avoid high speeds, excessive hard turns and/or big waves. And, if you’re new to boating and don’t have experience with tubing or water sports, get some instruction first before taking friends and family out.
  • Wake Up! Tubers often enjoy crossing over the wakes as part of the experience. However, this action can prove to be a danger zone when riders cross at excessive high speeds or when bouncing. A stomach-down position on the tube makes a rider especially vulnerable to harder impacts and possible injury. Take extra care when crossing wakes and always proceed with caution.      
  • Spot On! Every boat engaged in water sports activity including tubing should have a ‘designated spotter.’ This important member of the crew has one primary job: to keep his or her eyes totally focused on the rider(s)during watersports activity. Should the rider drop the line or have any concerns while underway, the spotter serves as the direct onboard communicator to the driver. Make this assignment before leaving the dock and ensure that the spotter clearly understands the importance of this responsibility and agrees to comply.
  • Be Well Equipped! Be familiar with the specifications and recommendations associated with all watersports gear and equipment in use, to ensure it is designed for your activity. Always follow the manufacturer recommendations regarding weight and size specifications, max towing speeds and all other requirements. If you don’t understand how certain equipment works or needs to be set up, ask and learn BEFORE you get out there!
  • Line Up! When it comes to towing tubers, be sure you are using a tow line designated especially for inflatables. Confirm that the tow line is secured prior to departure, and ensure it is free of damage, or excessive wear and tear.
  • Double Trouble! Some tubes are expressly designed for a solo rider and should only be used by one person at a time. Other tubes may be designed to accommodate doubles, or two. In addition, some boaters tow two separate tubes at once. Never overload the tube based on its towing specifications. And, be extremely cautious when towing doubles, and always travel at slower speeds.
  • Engine Off! If you are operating an I/O or an outboard powered boat, be sure to cut the engine off whenever tubers are preparing to enter or return from the water.  




We hope these tubing tips from your team at Emerald Coast Boating Center adds to your fun and enjoyment on the water!

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