Tubing safety tips as you enjoy our Colorado rivers this summer

DENVER – There have been three fatal tubing accidents in Colorado this week alone. In light of those tragedies, we’ve compiled the following information to help you and your family stay safe if you’re going out tubing this summer.

1. Always wear a life vest. It’s hard to judge how swiftly moving water is flowing, which is why authorities always recommend you – and specially your children – always wear a live vest.

2. Avoid high-level streams. Do not go into streams when they are running high or near bankfull. Those streams can be very dangerous.

3. Be weather-alert. Stay up-to-date with current weather conditions as well as stream conditions for the area where you’ll be tubing.

4. Know how to swim. You really should know how to swim in case you flip over. A life vest should not be your only option of stay afloat.

5. Wear a helmet. Our rivers are rocky and head injuries are common while tubing. Even a bike helmet will work.

6. Do not wear flip-flops. Don’t go into the river with loose-fitting shoes. Wear something with traction like aqua shoes or sneakers.

7. Leave valuables at home. If you have a medical condition, however, wear a medical bracelet.

8. Pin/tie your car key to your clothes. You don’t want to end up losing your only way back to the city, so make sure your car key is tightly secured on your person at all times.

9. Be aware of slick rocks. Keep in mind that the rocks in the streams are slick, so if you need to stand up, it is easy to fall.

10. Wear sunscreen. Even on an overcast day, the water reflects UV rays back and you can get seriously sunburned.

11. Stay hydrated. Please do not drink stream water.

12. Do not jump from rock embankments. Never jump off a bridge and never dive head first. Water depth can be deceiving and you can end up with injuries ranging from broken bones to eventual death.

13. Be aware and in control. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you are in control of what you’re doing always.

14. Don’t drink or do drugs before tubing. Alcohol quickens your risk of hypothermia, heat-stroke and slows down your response in case of an emergency. Do the drinking after you’re done tubing.

15. Go into your tube feet first. This helps prevent hitting your head and causing serious injury.

16. Follow all posted laws and rules. This should be a no-brainer. Seriously, follow the rules. They exist for a good reason.

17. Don’t go into frozen bodies of water. It’s never a good idea to go into a body of frozen water. Not only do you risk hypothermia, you may be swept away by a strong current and drown.  

18. Use the buddy system and do not go tubing alone. Don’t ever go tubing alone – and go even further by adding a third person to be outside of the water and know where you are at all times.

Editor’s note: All of these safety tips came from the Denver Boarding Coalition, the National Park Service and internationalwatersafetyday.org

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