Are Float Tubes Safe to Use?


If you are a concerned parent or even just an avid fisher, you have probably wondered about the safety of float tubes. I too have wondered about this and did the research to find out.

Are float tubes safe to use? Modern float tubes have been designed to withstand harsher environments than the older versions. These newer versions are made of sturdier materials and use thicker air chambers (or bladders). However, like many things, it is in the user’s hands whether or not a float tube is truly safe.

There are many different types and designs of float tubes out there. Each is made a little differently to have optimal performance. As float tubes have progressed throughout time, they have been made not only for recreational uses but for fishing and other outdoor activities as well!

Read on to learn about the safety of float tubes and their different uses.

Safety In Float Tubes

Float tubes are designed to keep a passenger (or sometimes a cooler) above water. These tubes can be used on both rivers or lakes and can lead to a fun day out on the water.

However, there is a level of safety precaution that must be taken into account when using a float tube. While designers and manufacturers of these float tubes have done their best to account for all dangerous possibilities, there is always the chance that something unexpected can happen.

Rivers and lakes can be a dangerous place for even the most experienced swimmers. However, when the correct precautions are taken, risks can be significantly diminished.

Make sure your float tubes are sized correctly for the users.

The first step of water safety is wearing a personal flotation device, such as a life jacket. In the event that a float tube deflates, capsizes, or you simply fall out, a life jacket can give you the assistance in staying above water.

Make sure when purchasing a life jacket for you, your children, or even a furry friend, that the size or style will properly assist the user in the case of an emergency.

There are life jackets designed specifically for smaller children that offer a much safer option than using adult life jackets.

The only other safety that is really necessary for using a float tube is remaining hydrated and understanding the dangers of water.

Even the stillest lakes have currents that can be dangerous when they are not properly understood. Make sure to educate yourself and your kids on the dangers that can arise when you are out on the water.

Above all, make sure whoever is using the tube knows how to have lots of fun, and do it safely!

The Differences in Float Tubes

In a fisherman’s case, the design of a float tube allows for a smaller area of water to be reached; meanwhile, for recreational purpose float tubes create a kind of smaller, personal boat.

Since cramming a bunch of people into a boat only works for smaller groups, float tubes often make for a much more pleasant day on the water.

The most notable difference in float tubes is their shape. Some are perfectly round like a tire, while others form a “U” or “V” shape.

Some float tubes are round, and others have a “U” or “V” shape to them.

For most recreational tubes, they are round and have a hollow center. The hollow center allows for the passenger to recline down into the water, while still remaining afloat.

Some of these tubes include a seat or mesh covering at the base of the dip to eliminate any chance of someone falling through.

As for the float tubes designed specifically for fishing, they most commonly come in the “U” or “V” shape and include a raised seat, a backrest, and can pack anywhere upwards of 200 pounds.

These tubes also feature many pockets for the fisherman to store their gear in while floating, minimizing the chances that any gear be lost to the water.

Float Tubes for Recreation

Recreational float tubes have many different styles and options that not only vary in shape but also in size. Recreational companies now design and sell float tubes with the ability to seat multiple people.

There have been models that can seat up to 10+ people (however, these are specifically designed for lake tubing).

Fun-Attic released a list of the top 5 tubes for river floating and after reviewing it, I agree in their choices. Their list includes both round and “U” shaped tubes that seat either one or two people.

If you are looking to have a blast out on the water I highly suggest one of these for you!

  1. Intex River Run I Sports Lounge
  2. Intex River Run II
  3. Sevylor Covered River Tube
  4. Classic Accessories The Teton Float Tube
  5. Caddis Sport Nevada Float Tube

While these are some great choices when it comes down to choosing a recreational float tube, there so many other options that can work just as well as some of these.

Check at your local hardware or outdoors store to see if they offer any float tube options that may suit your needs better!

Float Tubes for Fishing

Now that we know the difference between a recreational float tube and a fishing float tube, we can begin looking into the float tube designs that offer the best performance for a fisherman out on the water.

Some of the more advanced options for fishing float tubes have a great amount of storage space for whatever you may need while out on the water.

Fishing Picks compiled a list of the Top 10 Fishing Float Tubes in 2019 and I have chosen to provide that list below. Each of the float tubes in this list is either “U” or “V” shaped.

Round tubes do not provide the same amount of support and mobility than the curved tubes can. So keep that in mind when choosing what float tube you will purchase.

  1. Classic Accessories Float Tube
  2. Basic Float Tube
  3. The Camo Gunnison Float Tube
  4. Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
  5. Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS
  6. Creep Company Style Float Tube
  7. Outcast Super Cat
  8. Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
  9. Pontoon-style Tube
  10. Caddis Sports Pro 200 Float Tube

Remember that this list in the best for general fishing excursions and if you have a specific task in mind for your float tube, there may be a better model out there for you.

The Original Float Tube

You may have heard float tubes referred to as “inner tubes.” These get their names simply because the inner tubing of a tire would be removed and often used for recreational purposes.

The “inner tube” of a tire is used to minimize the vibrations felt during a ride or drive and helped to provide more traction. These were often plain black in color and were the donut shape we see in many modern designs of recreational tubes.

The tubing would often be removed from either car or tractor tires to ensure that they were the proper size to support the weight of the passengers. One would often see these tubes in use on rivers or lakes. Eventually, inner tubes made their way to sledding hills as well.

These did not offer as much steering capabilities as some of the plastic or wooden sleds did; however, the inner tubes offered just as much fun. While designed for use in vehicles, inner tubes found themselves a practical use in the world of recreation.

Inner tubes are often made of a more flexible, potentially puncturable material than float tubes.

In more recent days, these inner tubes are produced and sold on their own without having to be removed from the inside of a tire. While inner tubes offer a cheaper floating option, than many other float tubes, inner tubes are often made of a more flexible, potentially puncturable material.

For this reason, float tubes have become more popular for their durability and ergonomic designs. However, any float tube may also be susceptible to puncture wounds and should be checked for air leaks regularly.

Related Questions

Can I patch my float tube? If you notice a leak in your float tube, there is a way it can be patched. You will need to purchase a patch kit and follow the instructions written on the packaging. The adhesives for these patch kits do take quite a bit of time to dry so plan ahead!

Which float tube is the safest for kids? The common round tubes are cheapest and may, therefore, be most attainable for kids to use. If you purchase one of these, I suggest one with the mesh at the bottom to keep your kiddo inside at all times. While the “U” or “V” shaped float tubes are more stable, they may also come at a higher price.

What is better for fishing, a float tube or a boat? The efficiency of fishing in float tubes or boats depends on the area in which you are fishing. A fishing float tube may be more useful for slow moving water such as a lake; meanwhile, a boat allows you to fish while in a river and can give you greater mobility when on a lake.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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