Three people tubing on Lake Lulu were seriously injured when the driver took a right turn too close to shore, putting the tube on a collision course with a nearby dock. A 31-year-old man is in critical condition after the tubing accident; the collision resulted in fatal injuries for a 10-year-old boy. The third passenger, a 9-year-old boy, is in stable condition but remains hospitalized.
Boating safety is an important issue for Florida residents and tourists. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sunshine state was home to just under 1 million registered vessels in 2012, more than any other state in the U.S. In 2012, there were 704 reported boating accidents; 55 people died on the water last year and 386 were injured.
Tubers should always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device. Boat operators should:
- Use a spotter. Have another person watch the tubers at all times so that the boat operator can look out for potential water hazards and choose a safe course of travel through the water.
- Check all equipment before tubing. Examine the tow rope, review the safety recommendations on the tube itself, including maximum number of passengers and weight.
- Know the rules of the waterways. Boat operators must be aware of all rules and regulations that apply to the body of water where they are boating, whether on an inland lake, coastal waterway, ocean or other.
According to the Commission, drowning is the number one cause of death among boaters, rather than collisions with other boats or objects as in the recent fatal tubing accident. Just under half of those who were killed in a boating accident last year had fallen overboard.
Source: Naples News, "Florida boy dead after inner tube hits dock," July 31, 2013