Oklahoma has over 200 lakes, which means that just about everyone in the state has a nearby body of water to enjoy. And when it comes to enjoying the water, it’s hard to beat a day being towed around by a fast boat.
Whether you’re planning on driving the boat, or you’ll be the tuber, water skier, wakeboarder, or kneeboarder, your top priority should be enjoying your pastime as safely as possible.
Follow These Rules for ALL Watersports Involving a Tow Rope
For a safe day on the water, follow these rules no matter who or what you’re towing:
Wear a lifejacket.
No matter which activity you’re participating in, you should always wear a properly fitted life jacket. Drowning is by far the biggest risk that people face when they’re in the water, and a life jacket makes drowning significantly less likely—even in the event that you become incapacitated or unconscious.
Ensure your tow rope is long enough.
For maximum safety, the rope you use to tow your tuber, skier, wakeboarder, or kneeboarder should be at least 100 feet in length. Many tow ropes are shorter than this—around 75 feet in length—but the longer the rope, the less likely the person you’re towing is to collide with the boat.
Use the right rope.
The right rope for skiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding may not be the right rope for tubing. Tubes weigh a lot more than water skis and wakeboards, especially when they’re carrying multiple people. Ensure the tow rope you use is rated for the amount of weight you’ll be towing.
Use a spotter.
When tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, or kneeboarding, there should never be just a single person in the boat. Towing someone safely requires a boat driver who focuses on the waterway ahead and a spotter who keeps an eye on the person being towed and alerts the driver if they fall off or need to stop.
Hold on tightly.
If you’re on the tube, ensure you have a tight grip on the handles. If you’re driving the boat, don’t start moving until your tubers give you a thumbs up to signal that they’re ready to go.
Cross wakes carefully.
Driving over wakes is part of the fun of tubing, but large, choppy wakes can be dangerous—especially when they’re hit at high speeds. Use caution when crossing the wakes produced by other boats.
Be careful when turning.
Long tow ropes make the people you’re towing safer, but they can also increase their speed when you make sharp turns. If you’re traveling at 20 mph in your boat, the person you’re towing may travel at twice that speed when you turn. Keep that in mind and ensure your turns are wide, controlled, and safe.
Inspect the equipment.
It’s especially important to inspect tubes before putting them in the water. Damaged tubes can deflate while being towed, putting tubers at risk. You should also check skis, wakeboards, and kneeboards for signs of damage or excess wear.
Be ready to turn around right away.
Even though the person you’re towing is wearing a lifejacket, you should still be ready to pick them up right away if they fall or let go of the tow rope. Do so quickly but safely, as being in the water for a prolonged time can be dangerous, especially when other boats are around.
Call it a day when bad weather looms.
Always check the weather forecast before you head out on the lake. But because Oklahoma weather can be unpredictable, you may be caught off guard while enjoying a day on the water. When that happens, don’t try to wait out the storm—head back to the dock or boat ramp right away!
Stick to deep water.
When towing people, stick to the deepest parts of the lake. This is typically the main “channel” where most boaters congregate. But you should avoid getting too close to the shoreline or venturing into sloughs, as the water level may abruptly become dangerously shallow.
When Fun in the Sun Turns Dangerous, We Help Injured Victims.
Many people underestimate the danger of a day on the lake. Safe boating requires an abundance of caution, focus, and experience. Unfortunately, many boaters in Oklahoma lack all three, putting themselves, their passengers, and others on the water in serious danger.
If you or someone you love is injured in a boat or water-related accident this summer, the Oklahoma boating accident lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn want to help you get compensation. Water-related injuries are often extremely expensive, and you may be facing big medical bills and no paycheck to afford them.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and it’s our goal to help you get maximum compensation.