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Safety First
tips from the area's police and DNR

Tube with friends. If you fall off your tube, undercurrents can pull you under the water, even if you are a strong swimmer. Make sure you have a buddy who will keep an eye on you in case something happens.

Know your swimming ability. If you are not a strong swimmer, wear a Coast Guard-certified life jacket, or else seek out one of the many classes in our area.

Bring a life preserver. All tubers should have an extra life preserver of some kind. It is not illegal to be without one, but it is highly recommended. Just tie one to your tube or something.

Be a responsible drinker. Punishments for excessive drunkenness are the same on the river as they are on land. Also, drinking alcohol on the river can often give you a false sense of how intoxicated you are, and it can impair your ability to swim if you fall off your tube. 

Don’t drink underage. It’s still illegal on the river. 

Watch the river levels. If the river is very high and moving quickly, the water will often be cloudy, preventing tubers from seeing dangers like large tree limbs or debris under the surface. If you are nervous about the water depth, don’t go!

Wear quality water-safe shoes. If you have to get off your tube, your shoes will prevent your feet from getting cut on rocks or logs under the surface.

Drink water. Staying hydrated is key, even on cool days.

Hold on to your trash. Tubers can face steep fines and court costs if caught polluting any body of water, including rivers. There are usually garbage cans at common stops like parks and boat landings for people to dispose of trash properly.

Keep an eye on bacteria. Although bacteria problems don’t affect moving waters as much as lakes or ponds, it’s still not a good idea to tube when levels are high. The only way to prevent the spread of bacteria is to stay out of the water. 

Bring a phone. Wrap a cell phone in plastic wrap and put it in a plastic bag, then attach it to your tube or a floating cooler. If you do get into trouble, you can make an emergency call. 

Use common sense. Be smart about where you go and what you do on the river.