Tubing is great summer fun! But it does present some dangers, especially for younger children or anyone not experienced in navigating a river.
The greatest danger on even small creeks like the St. Vrain is a strainer. A strainer is anything with holes big enough to let water through, but still small enough to stop a tube, boat — or a body. There are a lot of them around on even small creeks: culverts, downed trees, undercut ledges, and large rocks, for example. Tubers/paddlers can get caught in a strainer and pinned down by the force of the water. Unless the person can haul themselves up and out of the water, or unless they are rescued by someone else, they stay pinned. If their head happens to be under the surface of the water this can be a life-threatening situation. Thus, it is very important to avoid strainers.
- Children that are going tubing should wear a life jacket. To model good behavior, it is ideal if parents also wear a life jacket.
- Everyone should wear water shoes.
- Teach children to keep their feet downstream at all times, so they can see and use their feet to push away from upcoming hazards and better navigate their tube using the back ferry technique.
- Learn and teach children about using the back ferry technique.
- STAY CLOSE TO YOUR CHILDREN so you can easily make a rescue.
- When you become more advanced and start to run rough areas, helmets are a good idea too!
Gear up: life jackets & tubes.
Where to go: Tubing the St. Vrain River in Lyons.